New York unions rally in Brooklyn against proposal to phase out gas infrastructure – New York Daily News

Now you’re cooking on gas – and organized labor groups rallied on Tuesday to make sure it stays that way.

Unions representing National Grid workers protested at the downtown Brooklyn headquarters of the New York State Climate Council, which advocates that tackling climate change means New Yorkers’ gas stoves should be replaced by an electric model.

“We all recognize that climate change is one of the biggest threats we face today,” said Constance Bradley, president of Transport Workers Union Local 101, which represents National Grid workers. At New York.

“However, a commitment to reduce emissions should be sustained across all sectors. … We want to be part of the solution.

National Grid workers fear a Climate Council plan that would ban new natural gas hook-ups in most new residential buildings by 2027. This would require homeowners to install only electric heating, hot water and cooking appliances.

The Climate Council is a state government committee that advises on energy issues.

The plan on Tuesday drew the ire of a swath of organized labor groups who rallied outside a public hearing of the Climate Action Council. The groups argued that the plan would eliminate the jobs of union workers who install and maintain the city’s natural gas infrastructure.

The tension between labor groups challenging the Climate Action Council plan and environmental groups supporting it was clear. A cohort of climate activists held a rally at the same corner as the Local 101 event.

National Grid and TWU Local 101 officials said they had worked together on an alternative plan that would include more geothermal power, hydrogen and natural gas to keep more workers employed.

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State Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Haley Viccaro disputed the notion that the council’s climate plan would cost jobs.

She cited a recent state study that found New York would gain 10 new clean energy jobs for every one lost in the transition to renewable energy.

John Samuelsen, the international president of TWU, told the union rally that the fight against climate change threatened to fracture the base of the Democratic Party.

“If the Democrats want to stick with us, then let them keep asking why the workers walked away from them,” Samuelsen said. “We need blue-collar jobs to support New York’s working communities.”

“The draft scoping plan does not contain provisions that require a costly changeover for customers, or to turn off a working stove or oven,” Viccaro said.

“When an appliance reaches the end of its life and needs to be replaced, the recommendations in the draft framework plan would allow New Yorkers to replace their obsolete fossil-fuel appliances with modern, non-polluting, energy-efficient and economical appliances. “

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