A coalition of eight local groups announced Thursday an effort to bring renewable energy and good-paying energy jobs to the Buffalo Niagara region.
Crossroads Collective will pursue its goals with $500,000 a year over the next eight years, thanks to a $4 million grant from the Boston-based Chorus Foundation. Buffalo joins communities in Kentucky, California and Alaska among the four chosen nationwide.
“When we say 100 percent clean energy, 100 percent clean jobs, we’re not saying 90 percent, we’re not saying 70 percent,” said Aaron Bartley, executive director of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo). “We’re saying our communities demand and need 100 percent good jobs now in sectors that will heal the earth, bring climate justice to our communities and confront the climate crisis that is confronting our world, and that are rooted in the needs of our people.”
Franchelle Hart, executive director of Open Buffalo, said the newly announced coalition wants to propel Buffalo into a cleaner energy future. Legislation will be pushed on a state level to codify renewable energy objectives. Low-cost home insulation will be expanded. Cultural initiatives will promote the green economy message. And there will be money for researching who benefits and how from the energy status quo.
A new report by the Partnership for the Public Good, one of the eight groups, indicates state energy policies that switch to green energy initiatives could provide significant health and economic benefits. The partnership’s Sam Magavern praised PUSH’s Green Development Zone, a 25-block area he said has become a national and even international model.
“Almost nowhere in the country have they figured out how to rebuild a blighted neighborhood with green affordable housing, with urban farming, with community gardening, with storm-water management, and to do it with the people in that community leading the charge, making the plans and getting some of those high-quality jobs in the process,” Magavern said of PUSH’s efforts.
“There is a better and cleaner way to deal with our energy needs,” said Niagara Council Member David A. Rivera. “We’re asking our state legislators and everyone to join in with us and codify this and make it a part of the law,” he said.