To the editor,
This week, we learned that the New York State Senate intends to introduce legislation to permanently ban fracking in New York. Many will recall that the New York Laborers Union, along with our members and supporters, were instrumental in the organized effort to explain and promote the many benefits fracking would create in the way of good jobs for deserving New Yorkers and economic benefits for depressed areas of New York. Our efforts were ultimately stalled when the fracking ban was put into place five years ago.
Therefore, with the fracking ban already achieving its intended goal, we respectfully request the New York State Senate carefully reconsider any legislative proposal to codify the existing fracking ban.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s admirably aggressive stance on renewable and clean energy is one we support and align with, and our organization is committed to continuing to do our part to achieve his goals. We recognize the important role the energy sector plays in the health of our state’s economy, and proudly staff renewable energy construction and maintenance jobs with our highly-skilled members. We firmly believe that clean energy production will lead to a stronger New York, and the opportunities afforded our deserving laborers will be plentiful.
However, there is much work to be done in the way of infrastructure and otherwise as our state transitions to renewables. As that transition progresses, it is known that the cleanest, most cost-efficient option is natural gas — and codifying a law that bans the cleanest way of procuring natural gas is an enormous concern.
It is impossible to know what the future may bring – let us not remove solutions from the table before we know if they will be necessary to keep our state powered and moving forward.
Instead, we encourage our legislature to look toward 2020 and the issues still at hand that do not yet have clear resolution – such as prevailing wage, which would guarantee fair, family-sustaining wages for hardworking New Yorkers.
We urge you to focus on legislation and decision-making that will lift up and continue to build New York’s middle class.
Laborers are valuable members of their communities, and our priority will always be ensuring they have work to do and the wages they deserve. They are your neighbors, your friends, your family. We again ask our legislators to remember these individuals, and to realign priorities for the upcoming session.
Fracking has become a nonissue, and New York is making remarkable strides in clean energy creation – why focus on solutions for a nonexistent problem when there is work to be done to create pathways for all New Yorkers?
Respectfully and in solidarity,
Executive Director, New York State Laborers’
Employers Cooperation and Education Trust