NY Gov. Cuomo has proposed converting the Albany NY Solid Waste Energy Recovery System (ANSWERS) to a fracked gas power plant to provide heating-cooling and electricity to the Empire State Plaza. The proposal locks NY into decades of reliance on dirty energy and exacerbates a century of pollution and health ills endured by the community.
Between 1911 and 1994 NY State sited a coal power plant and trash incinerator—ANSWERS—in the predominantly Black community of Sheridan Hollow. The air and soils were polluted by toxic ash, resulting in cancer, asthma, and blight. Sheridan Hollow met the criteria for an EJ community as set forth by the State DEC Office of Environmental Justice since the policy was enacted in 2003.
Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy (SHARE) is a grassroots NGO opposing the Governor’s proposal. Advocating for renewable energy projects that benefit both the residents and Empire State Plaza, it demonstrates how reparations can be realized through a transformed EJ community.
Our Point of View
Studying at a private college that often feels like a bubble, we struggle to apply our concerns to social and environmental justice. Reading case studies and discussing EJ issues is fundamental, but this was our first opportunity to work with a frontline EJ community. We met cancer survivors and those who experience economic and physical distress due to a century of environmental insults in their backyard. Working with Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy has demonstrated the importance of community engagement and staying politically active to advocate for a renewable energy future.
SHARE is a coalition of community members and local and statewide climate groups working to stop a fracked gas power plant in our environmental justice community. The documentation of our struggle—most notably through the videos of community members discussing their health problems caused by the continued pollution in their neighborhood—reminds us of the human costs of environmental racism, and why our fight is so important. We are motivated by Skidmore students’ enthusiasm in actively joining the fight for clean and renewable energy.
—Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy (SHARE)
—New York Climate Advocacy Project