WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES APRIL 22, 2021 13
With Public Power, Queens will make generating
half the power in New York City a good thing
BY CHARLIE HELLER
Queens generates almost half the
power in the city, and it’s killing
The latest research found that air
pollution causes 3,000 preventable
deaths a year in New York City alone.
The stretch of fossil fuel plants known
as “Asthma Alley” causes children
growing up in nearby Queens and
South Bronx neighborhoods to be
hospitalized for the disease at rates
as high as five times the national
average, and is a huge reason that the
two boroughs have some of the worst
COVID-19 death rates in the city.
We deserve better. But for years,
we were told we couldn’t have it. That
to keep the lights on in the city that
never sleeps, we had to toss a bit of
our health and future into the fi re. But
with 21st-century renewable energy
technology, that’s no longer a choice
we need to make. We can keep the
lights on without poisoning our air,
lungs or futures.
So there’s no excuse not to.
Astorians have spent almost a year
fi ghting against multinational energy
company NRG, who wants to build a
fracked gas plant that will ensure
“Asthma Alley” retains its title for
decades. Residents in Brownsville
and Newburgh face similar struggles
against poisonous fossil fuel infrastructure.
But these are just symptoms
of the deeper disease that, like a
virus hijacking the cells in our bodies,
turns a system that should support us,
Greed. More specifi cally, the control
of our energy system by for-profi t,
corporate monopolies like Con Ed and
National Grid, whose only goal is to
squeeze as much money from New
Yorkers as they can.
Con Ed extorts New Yorkers with
the second highest energy bills in
the country. Do we get the second
best service? No, we get crumbling
infrastructure that makes what used
to be considered “once-in-a-generation”
blackouts an annual event. We get
deadly fossil fuel pollution, especially
in working class, Black and brown
neighborhoods. We get corporate
lobbying against the renewables that
would save our health and planet. And
of course, we get union busting.
It’s time to take our power back. No
more CEOs and Wall Street investors
deciding it’s more profi table to, as one
union said, “run till it breaks” than to
repair crumbling infrastructure. No
more corporate boards deciding that
ending childhood asthma cuts too far
into their bottom line.
We need Public Power, an energy
system owned and run by us. With
two bills, the New York Build Public
Renewables Act, and the New York
Utility Democracy Act, we can replace
corporate control of the energy
system with public ownership, and
democratic accountability. A system
that prioritizes our well-being, because
it’s controlled by our vote.
New York’s economy is the 10th
largest in the world. Imagine what
we could do if the energy system
powering it was designed to benefi t
regular New Yorkers, instead of the
wealthy few. With Public Power, we
can do far more than end Con Ed’s
exorbitant bills and toxic pollution.
We can make the energy system the
engine to rebuild New York.
Transforming our infrastructure
by investing in a 21st-century electrical
grid that keeps the lights on, no
matter the weather, and no matter
your ZIP code. Tearing down the
fossil fuel plants and pipelines that
poison our air and lungs. Building a
100 percent renewable energy system
as fast as science demands. And funding
a surge of permanent union jobs
to do it — not dozens of them, but tens
One in seven Americans already
get their power from a public utility,
which is cheaper and more renewable
than the for-profi ts. With Public Power,
New York can make this already successful
model the foundation of a 21stcentury
energy system and economy.
So tell your rep to make it happen, at
with Public Power, Queens will make
generating half the power in the city
a good thing.
Charlie Heller is a volunteer member
of the Public Power NY Coalition.
FLOWERS ON FOREST PARK DRIVE
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY MARILYN GAINFORT
Send us your photos of Queens
and you could see them online or in our paper!
To submit them to us, tag @qnsgram on Instagram,
visit our Facebook page, tweet @QNS
or email email@example.com (subject: Queens Snaps).