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Climate Action Council holds public hearing

The state is getting feedback about proposals to fight climate change.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New York State Climate Action Council is holding a public hearing Wednesday in Buffalo to talk about its proposed policies to reach the state's climate goals.

The Draft Scoping Plan is a 341-page document that the state is getting the public's comment on until June 10, 2022. It was created last year, and there's a lot in there. 

The proposed goal is for the state to achieve 70% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.

Some of the proposed policies include getting people to switch to electric vehicles and off of gas and oil to heat their homes and use electric heat pumps instead.

"A lot of those recommendations are going to have a direct impact on consumers, residents, businesses, and so, we're trying to get the word out about that so that people can decide for themselves if they think that this plan is a good one and then come out and speak their mind if they think that it will have a consequential impact on them," said Michelle Hook, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Affordable Energy.

"I do think that people are unaware of what the cost components will be associated with electrifying their home. You know, people say that having a heat pump, in the long run, will save you money over a natural gas system, but there's an upfront cost of installing a heat pump depending on the size of your home and what your HVAC system looks like, it could be $25,000 or $30,000."

Wednesday, we heard from people with various opinions about those proposals. Many will be speaking at the public hearing.

"So when I say we need a just transition, I'm talking about an economy that does not leave workers in fossil fuel industries behind as had happened so often to folks in the Rust Belt when industries in the past have failed, but instead one where workers in our community are supported through this transition by a worker and community insurance fund with union jobs for all in these new green industries with prevailing wages and benefits," said Bridge Rauch with Clean Air and Buffalo Transit Riders United.

"Unfortunately, the truth is that we know from the hurricanes, and the squalls, and the Derechos, and the tornadoes, and the flooding that climate change isn't just real, it's happening right now. We don't just have an opportunity to right the wrongs of environmental injustices of the past and continue to this day, we have a mandate that we must succeed for ourselves, and our children, and our children's children."

The public hearing started at 3:30 p.m. and goes until 6:30 p.m.

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