3.12.20 – Op-Ed: “The Industrial Sector is at the Heart of a Green New Deal”

The below excerpts are from an op-ed published by NextCity. The article was authored by Tom Outerbridge, General Manager of Sims Municipal Recycling, and Tinia Pina, Founder and CEO of Re-Nuble. They are, respectively, Executive Board Chair and Advisory Committee member of the NYC Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Council (MaiiC).

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy demonstrated that climate change is the greatest existential challenge facing New York City and cities like it. 

Ever since, local governments around the country have made sweeping commitments to reduce carbon emissions and build resiliency. Regulation and visionary plans are critical, but realizing these goals will require a robust industrial sector. This is the segment of the economy responsible for making and maintaining everything from food and clothing to infrastructure and electricity.

In New York City, the industrial sectors still employ over 500,000 people — more jobs than digital technology or finance. These are the people and companies that will create and deploy green technologies, integrate them into existing infrastructure and green basic services like transportation and energy supply…

Today, [manufacturing zones] face major challenges. Infrastructure needs repair and updates, from potholes to bulkheads to broadband connectivity. City regulations are often difficult to navigate, as zoning-use codes have not been updated since the 1960s.

Most consequentially, the supply of industrial real estate is shrinking. From 2005 to 2015, more than 16 percent of industrial space in NYC was rezoned to make way for housing, tech workspace, and tourist attractions — building on decades of similar conversion efforts around the country.

This has serious implications for the greening of our cities. For example, Sims Municipal Recycling processes all the metals, plastics, and glass collected by the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) — the largest curbside recycling program in the country. Given the pressures on industrial real estate, it would be nearly impossible to undertake such a development today. Similarly, the current proposal for a major assembly and service hub for off-shore wind power in Brooklyn would not be possible without the protection of industrial maritime zones..

Cities like New York still have thousands of companies that could be important parts of the supply chain for current and future green technology innovations…

To cultivate the full potential of the industrial sector in our climate change goals, we need to keep industrial districts for industrial activity..

Read the full piece here.

— Posted by JVS on 3.18.20, backdated to 3.12.20


2.20.20 – Notes: “Movement for a Green New Deal” forum hosted by Brooklyn elected officials

The below notes were taken by JVS at a forum focused on the “movement for a Green New Deal” hosted by Councilman Brad Lander, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, and Assemblyman Bobby Carroll. The event took place in Kensington, Brooklyn.

Introductory remarks:

Movement for a Green New Deal
– It is a coalition of organizations that are working for state-level climate action around four key demands.
– Organizations include NY Communities for Change, Sunrise Movement NYC, Food and water Watch, NYC DSA, Indivisible Brooklyn, 350 Brooklyn
– We are here because the climate crisis requires a mass-movement to address it at every level of government
– This is a political problem that requires political solutions
– We have a Democratic super-majority in NY State, and we need to be as aggressive as possible, taxing the rich, funding climate justice this year – we’re here to talk about all those things
– We want to thank PS 130, we’re here in this beautiful school in a beautifully diverse neighborhood in the heart of Windsor Terrace and Kensington


Jamie Tyberg, New York Communities for Change
Councilman Brad Lander
Rep. Bobby Carroll
Rep. Jo Anne Simon

– We’re going to hear tonight from folks at the forefront of the movement for a GND on the streets and at policy levels Continue reading “2.20.20 – Notes: “Movement for a Green New Deal” forum hosted by Brooklyn elected officials”

12.8.19 – Questions for UPROSE and the CCCD concerning the GRID

The following questions about the GRID were sent to UPROSE on 12.8.19:

  1. What specifically do advocates mean when they call for a transition to a sustainable, carbon-neutral economy in NYC and New York State?
  2. What specifically is required by the CLCPA and Intro 1253?
  3. Do these bills have the force of law, or are their mandates flexible?
  4. How much spending would be required to meet their mandates, and where would that money come from?
  5. How many jobs could these bills create? What is that based on?
  6. Are there specific industries currently in existence that must grow in order to decarbonize New York’s economy? If so, what are there, and where are they located? Could their work be done in Sunset Park’s manufacturing zones?
  7. Are there specific industries that must be created in order to decarbonize New York’s economy? If so, what are they, could their work be done in Sunset Park, and what kind of financing and other support would be needed to bring them here?
  8. What do we know about the salaries, benefits, and rates of unionization in green industries?
  9. If the GRID were adopted, what would it mean for the work being done at major Sunset Park properties, including Brooklyn Army Terminal, the Bush Terminal site, Liberty View Industrial Plaza, SBMT, Sunset Industrial Yards, and Industry City?
  10. How would the GRID promote local resiliency against climate events?

Background: posts on the GRID

— Posted by JVS on 12.8.19

8.30.19 – How does Intro 1253 connect to local green jobs?

Intro 1253 was passed by the City Council this past April as part of the Climate Mobilization Act. The bill requires most buildings in the city 25,000 square feet or larger to cut their carbon footprint 80 percent by 2050, primarily (to my understanding) by lowering their energy usage.

The legislation’s lead sponsor was Costa Constantinides from Queens. I recently sent questions to his office asking how the bill connects to local green jobs. A spokesperson sent back the following responses (in italics):

What are some of the key kinds of manufacturing and/or work that needs to be done to conform to Intro 1253? 

In general, buildings 25,000 square feet have to be retrofitted to reduce their carbon emissions to a certain number, which is determined by the building class. The Office of Building Energy and Emission Performance is in the process of being established within the Department of Buildings to determine what exact kind of work a certain building must to in order to hit its emissions target. Most landlords – with the exception of buildings with rent-stabilized units – don’t have a prescriptive list of upgrades, but those can include: double pane windows; energy efficient lighting; replacing bathroom aerators; sub meters in apartments; and thermostatic valves on every radiator…

The upgrades must be done to any building that’s 25,000 square feet or larger, of where there are a little more than 50,000 in New York City. Those are spread throughout the city; a map showing how compliant an affected building is can be found here: https://energy.cusp.nyu.edu/#/

Why is the legislation necessary?

…70% of New York’s annual greenhouse gas emissions come from the 1 million buildings in New York City. Buildings 25,000 square feet or larger, the ones impacted by this bill, account for 30% of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions every year. We needed to get reductions out of these buildings because they are one of the largest drivers of carbon emissions.

Jobs and cost:

The Urban Green Council estimates that, over the lifecyle of Intro. 1253, the law will generate 141,000 jobs as well as $20 billion in economic activity. In short, this is the downpayment on a greener economy.

A separate bill was passes alongside this one to establish a PACE financing system, which will provide owners with low- or no-interest loans to make the upgrades. There are also a series of currently underused grants to cover the cost of doing the upgrades.

Are there specific industries or companies that locals can reach out to, or encourage our elected officials to reach out to, to encourage local green job creation?

Recently, we’ve been working with the Queens Chamber of Commerce to set up seminars and discussion panels where we connect entrepreneurs and energy consultants with property managers. I think that, in these events, we’re seeing the seeds of a new industry grow in New York City that will be a key driver of job creation over the next decade.

— Posted by JVS on 8.31.19, backdated to 8.30.19


8.15.19 – Andrew Kimball says Industry City “would love nothing more” than to lease to “large green manufacturing companies”

In an article published by Next City on 8.15.19, Andrew Kimball, the CEO of Industry City, said the development “would love nothing more” than to lease space to “large green manufacturing companies.” Here is the relevant portion of the article:

Bringing in more retail tenants for the lower floors of the complex is Kimball’s answer for how to pay for the billion dollars of deferred maintenance and modernization Industry City plans to undertake…

“We’re asking for certain things that we think will create the economic conditions that will allow us to get to the rest of the buildings,” Kimball says. “The rationale for the rezoning is it creates the economic conditions that allow us to do that, and to take jobs from 7,500 to 20,000.”

[UPROSE leader Elizabeth] Yeampierre has a different view on what the retail component of the project means for the neighborhood. “What [Jamestown] did in Chelsea, people in public housing in Chelsea became like second-class citizens as a result of Chelsea Market,” she says. “They can’t afford that food, and then there’s the level of security and policing that comes with bringing in wealthier, whiter people into communities of color.”…

From 150 businesses employing 1,900 people in 2013, there are now 500 businesses employing 7,500 people at Industry City. Kimball admits they’re not all net new jobs — some have fled higher rents in other neighborhoods like Manhattan’s SoHo, once an industrial hub. The onsite hiring center has placed 340 people so far in jobs with Industry City tenants.

Yeampierre believes that the level of job creation and local hiring would be the same or better under UPROSE’s plan, which stresses green manufacturing jobs…

Instead of paying to renovate the property through private financing and retail, the UPROSE plan would rely more on intentional investments by the public sector to support newer industries like wind turbine manufacturing, as part of a broader strategy to prepare the city — if not the rest of the country — for the future in a changing climate. The Green New Deal could be born in Sunset Park…

The two visions do not seem to be entirely incompatible. Last year, the city selected a partnership including Industry City to operate the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal itself, which will include negotiating the lease and working with the state’s selected wind turbine manufacturer to build out and manage the facility. The UPROSE plan calls for the wind turbine assembly and staging ground, while also calling on the city to work with the wind turbine industry to figure out how to move more of the supply chain — not just assembly — into Industry City. Kimball isn’t opposed to that.

“If there are other large green manufacturing companies out there looking for space we would love nothing more than to lease to them at Industry City,” Kimball says.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 8.15.19

8.15.10 – “UPROSE Floats ‘New Green Deal’ Alternative To Industry City Plan”

As reported by Kings County Politics on 8.15.19:

UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization, is floating a plan that would turn the Sunset Park waterfront into a ground zero experiment on how the vaunted “Green New Deal” can battle the forces of climate change while creating the economic engine, KCP has learned.

The preliminary plan creates a Green Resilient Industrial District (GRID) that will encompass Sunset Parks waterfront including the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, and calls for the rejection of Industry City’s rezoning request to build a hotel, large square retail and academic facilities…

While [UPROSE Executive Director Elizabeth] Yeampierre said a final plan is not yet ready for public review, everything done thus far in the plan is very practical and looks for solutions. Green industrial jobs, including offshore wind turbines will bring thousands of jobs, she said, adding once the plan is finalized it will be up to city government to work out the final details such as fining suitable businesses to buy into it.

“It is the EDC (Economic Development Corporation) job not to follow the market but to create it in identifying companies that do wind turbines and bring them in,” she said…

City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) said he saw the public presentation on the GRID proposal a couple of weeks ago, but only received a preliminary draft of the more substantive proposal this week. As such his team is excited about the concept and actively reviewing the research and recommendations.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 8.16.19, backdated to 8.15.19

8.8.19: Equinor provides further information on potential local impact of Empire Wind project

In July, Gov. Cuomo announced that New York State had awarded contracts for two new wind farm projects to be installed off the cost of Long Island. The projects are known as the Empire Wind Project and the Sunrise Wind Project. The projects will produce a combined total of 1,696 MW of electricity.

Empire Wind will be built and operated by a company known as Equinor. Here is information on this project from a press release issued by Gov. Cuomo’s office on 7.18.19:

Empire Wind 816-Megawatt Project

The 816-megawatt Empire Wind project by Equinor channels the many unique capabilities of the Empire State. Supplying renewable power from the New York Bight to New York City, where demand is highest, this project proposal is expected to yield more than 800 local jobs and a foothold gravity-based foundation fabrication facility at the Port of Coeymans in the Capital Region that will supply this and future regional offshore wind projects. The project is expected to bring significant and long-term New York State jobs and economic benefits, including using South Brooklyn as its operations and maintenance base, providing consistent high-quality jobs to the community located near the project’s proposed interconnection point at Con Edison’s Gowanus substation. Port upgrades and sourcing of key components are expected to commence as early as spring 2021. The construction of the Empire Wind project is anticipated to begin in 2022 and the project is scheduled to enter commercial operation in December of 2024.

This week, I received additional information via email from Julia Bovey, the Director of External Affairs for Equinor Wind US. I have summarized what Ms. Bovey sent in my own language below:

Project time frame: Equinor aims to start constructing the wind farm in 2022 and to start producing power by 2024. But port upgrades must be completed first. For that reason, the company hopes that the state will soon choose where it intends to invest in an assembly port (see below).

Community input: Equinor will evaluate options for where to locate its work for the Empire Wind project. Community feedback will factor into those decisions, and Equinor intends to conduct outreach to the public and to public officials. The company wants its plans to support waterfront communities, to promote local workforce development, and to contribute to local supply chains.

Work locations and types of work to be done: The company plans to build the wind turbine foundations from concrete at the Port of Coeymans south of Albany. However, other aspects of the project could potentially come to Sunset Park or Red Hook, and would fall into the below general categories:  Continue reading “8.8.19: Equinor provides further information on potential local impact of Empire Wind project”

8.7.19 – Review: the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the Climate Mobilization Act, and Intro 1253

Below are some key points from two recently enacted bills, and one enacted legislative package, requiring greenhouse gas emission reductions in New York City and New York State:

  • The Climate Mobilization Act
  • Intro 1253
  • The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA)


  • Jobs and Intro 1253 – A study on the job creation potential of Intro 1253 was put together by ALIGN, a coalition in support of the legislation. The study’s key finding: “Intro 1253 will create or sustain more than 23,627 jobs per year as NYC’s large buildings reduce their emissions.” 
  • Jobs and the CLCPA – A study on the job creation potential of the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA) – legislation that the CLCPA was based on – was put together by the Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Similar to ALIGN, I would characterize PERI as being strongly supportive of the CCPA. I’m under the impression that its findings regarding the CCPA would largely hold true for the CLCPA. The study’s key finding: “Making the large-scale investments in clean energy projects capable of achieving the 50 percent emissions reduction target by 2030 will generate between 145,000 and 160,000 jobs per year in the state.” Additionally, here are notes from a conversation about the CCPA with another supporter and activist, Stephen Edel.

Continue reading “8.7.19 – Review: the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the Climate Mobilization Act, and Intro 1253”

7.29.19 – Audio: UPROSE, CCCE presentation to CB7 on Sunset Park green jobs

On 7.29.19, UPROSE and the Collective for Community, Culture and the Environment (CCCE) presented a green jobs-centric proposal for Sunset Park to CB7. UPROSE said it paid CCCE to develop the proposal.

  • Audio from the presentation is available here for download. (Note: The recording skips at 1:06:42 because my recorder ran out of power and I had to switch batteries.)
  • Notes from the first presentation of the proposal, given at a community meeting on 7.15.19, are available here.

— Posted by JVS on 8.2.19, backdated to 7.29.19