Senators host town hall hearing on climate change

By Wayne A. Hall
Posted 3/6/19

Testifying on the need for new state senate legislation to protect people and property from global warming’s increasing numbers of violent storms, state senators James Scoufis and Jen Metzger, …

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Senators host town hall hearing on climate change


Testifying on the need for new state senate legislation to protect people and property from global warming’s increasing numbers of violent storms, state senators James Scoufis and Jen Metzger, held a town hall meeting March 1 for 70 people at New Paltz town hall to get public reaction to the proposed Climate and Community Protection Act.

The act is all about climate change and how it impacts pretty much every one.

Make no mistake, Skoufis and Metzger said, “climate change is real.”

That means worse storms and more of them, according to the federal Fourth National Climate Assessment released recently, said Skoufis.

“The world will not give us the luxury of procrastination on this,” said Scoufis and Metzger.

“We have to pass this legislation now,” said the two legislators whose previous efforts at passage have been blocked by GOP members of the state Senate.

At the hearing, Samrat Pathania of New Paltz, a school teacher of mathematics and physics worries, he said, “to think of the kind of world that my daughter Annabella, 13 will inherit when she is 25 if we fail to rise up to the challenge of mitigating the climate crisis. I shudder to contemplate what kind of world she will inherit.”

He said, “Given that climate change is a threat to our way of life and to that of our children please, please educate yourselves on this most critical matter,” urged Pathania.

Testimony by many of the attendees at the March 1 hearing on the bill, said Skoufis, will bolster chances of senate passage of the newly proposed Climate and Community Protection Act proposed by Skoufis and Metzger.

The bill aims at controlling global warming, a source for violent weather.

Scoufis has made climate change a priority along with State Senator Metzger.

“Climate change is a top priority as we have heard today from these people and we have to get this climate change legislation done by the end of June, so let’s leave here and get it done and use all the information we’ve heard today,” said the legislators.

Scoufis added, “Let’s be clear. Human nature is short-sighted, and as we heard today, so we have to take action now or it might be too late.”

Our planet could pass a no return warming threshold, say some scientists.

The state Assembly has passed the Skoufis-Metzger Climate and Community Protection Act for a third consecutive session, by a margin of 99 to 31.

But the senate rejected the bill. Skoufis and Metzger are hopeful that they can still get the legislation passed, given the national and local public outcry over global warming.

The more than 50 attendees at the New Paltz hearing came with many worries about global warming.

They’ve got testimony from more than a few dozen attendees of the March 2 New Paltz hearing.

“Climate action is a top priority as you heard today but let’s be clear,” said Skoufis.

“There is now a climate crisis,” said Skoufis.

The recent Fourth National Climate Assessment contains warnings about more frequent and intense weather.

“We have developed a pretty strong consortium of citizen partners,” said Scoufis at the hearing. The audience at the climate meeting at New Paltz village town hall peppered the legislators with questions and solutions to warming atmosphere, such as no-till agriculture that keeps carbon sequestered in the soil.

The proposed legislation by Metzger and Skoufis warns, “the world will not permit us the luxury of procrastination.”

Said one man at the hearing, “We cannot have faith that the narcotics of delay will dull the pain of no progress. The world will not allow us to.”

And even if the federal government refuses to help the state effort to control climate change “we can do it at the state level,” said Skoufis.

“Simply reducing fossil fuels is not enough,” said Skoufis. “We also need to focus on removing carbon dioxide from the air.”

A major benefit from tackling pollution, said Skoufis, “is the public awareness of all the people who showed up at New Paltz village hall to learn about climate change,” some getting to know the problem for the first time.


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