Senator Parker Joins Lawmakers to Form Multistate Alliance to Pass Fee on Climate Pollution

Kevin S. Parker

January 31, 2018

Washington, D.C. (January 31, 2018) – Senator Kevin Parker participated today in the launch of the Carbon Costs Coalition, a new national alliance of state legislators dedicated to accurately accounting for the cost of carbon pollution. The coalition—which includes legislators from Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington—aims to strengthen momentum for state-level carbon fee policies that reduce climate pollution, improve public health, ensure equity, and create resilient local and regional economies.

“As the Ranking Democratic Member on the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee in the New York State Senate, I am proud to join the Carbon Costs Coalition and NY Renews as we work to create viable pollution abatement strategies, while increasing our reliance on sustainable clean and renewable energy options,” said Senator Parker. “It is imperative that we continue to exchange information both nationally and locally, to realize our shared goal to control, reduce, and ultimately, eliminate pollution and its negative externalities from our environment. To this end, I stand eager to get to work with NY Renews and the Coalition to do just that,” concluded the Brooklyn lawmaker.

In New York, the movement to implement a state-based carbon fee has found a voice in NY Renews, an advocacy coalition made up of 140 labor unions, environmental organizations, and community groups around the state. NY Renews has called for the implementation of a statewide corporate polluter fee as a mechanism to help fund renewable energy development and a just transition for fossil fuel workers.

“The formation of the Carbon Costs Coalition demonstrates the growing momentum among state legislators for holding big polluters financially accountable for the emissions they dump into our atmosphere,” said Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Deputy Director at PUSH Buffalo and a leader of the NY Renews coalition. “We look forward to working with Senator Parker and other New York State legislators to make this a major conversation in 2018. This is a climate policy solution Governor Cuomo and the legislature can’t afford to ignore.”

The Carbon Costs Coalition was formed after two years of conversations facilitated by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), a nationwide network of lawmakers focused on environmental protection, and the Meridian Institute.

“State legislators across the country know that they can’t wait for Washington to act on climate change,” said Jeff Mauk, Executive Director of NCEL. “Levying a fee on climate pollution is a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is being praised by economists and leaders from across the political spectrum.”

NY Renews will unveil a proposal later this year to invest billions in renewable energy build-out, green job creation, and protection for the most climate-vulnerable communities, by placing a fee on corporations that produce or import fossil fuels into the state.

"Anything we can do to internalize our negative impacts on the environment and make everyone accountable for their for carbon emissions is a step in the right direction,” said Anne Sherman, Director of Sustainability at Staach, a Rochester-based furniture company. Establishing a market-based system to do this creates certainty for business and incentivizes sustainable business practices in New York.”