Letter to the Editor: All Ages Need to Support NY HEAT Act

To the editor:

“Sleepy Hollow Fifth Grader Fights for Climate Change” (River Journal, Jan. 29, 2024) is an inspiring story. It resonates especially for those of us who participated in the first Earth Day in 1970. We were young then and demanded action.

Today’s young people are demanding action, too, as they will be most affected by what is done now to mitigate global warming. But older adults like me and my fellow retirees at Kendal-on-Hudson are also affected. We are especially vulnerable to weather extremes, like the heat and wildfire smoke that plagued New Yorkers this past summer. Many of us are joining young people to fight for change.

Here in New York, we should work across all age groups to persuade leaders in Albany—Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Governor Kathy Hochul—to come together to pass The New York Home Energy Affordable Transition Act (NYHEAT). This legislation would create new rules to put the brakes on gas infrastructure and instead, advance the clean energy transition. We also need the law to put a cap on gas and electric costs to help low- and moderate-income New Yorkers afford their utility bills, so we can ensure energy affordability for all.

Even as a child, fifth grader Colin Ricker understands the threat of climate change — and he demands action. Reducing carbon and methane emissions, mitigating environmental damage, and improving public health are directly tied to passage of forward-looking legislation like the NY HEAT Act. We must not disappoint Colin and his generation.

Laura Burkhardt
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

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