“Built on Bribes” NY groups rally against corruption at Cuomo’s former top staffer Joseph Percoco trial
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New York, NY – As Governor Cuomo’s former top staffer, Joseph Percoco, goes to trial on corruption charges, several environmental, social justice, housing rights, and community, groups rallied on January 22, 2018; outside the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse against the entrenched pay-to-play corruption that dictates public policy in Albany.
Percoco is charged with receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from Competitive Power Ventures through co-defendant and former company executive, Peter Galbraith Kelly in order to facilitate approvals for the massive CPV gas power plant, which fired-up for the first time just days ago. He is also charged with accepting bribes from real estate developer, Cor Development.
The CPV Valley power plant, located in Orange County, would burn fracked gas, pollute the air and significantly accelerate climate change. Scientists say it would increase the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by “in excess of ten percent”. The Cuomo Administration granted the massive gas plant the permits it needs for construction, now underway, despite the bribery indictments, widespread community opposition, and its glaring inconsistency with his climate change goals. Protesters called on Cuomo to immediately shut down the plant and to stop catering to real estate industry.
Pramilla Malick, Chair of Protect Orange County, a community group which has been fighting the power plant project for several years, exclaimed, “this is the real reason we have a climate crisis. While methane and CO2 may be the bullets the gun is corruption.” Malick, and her group had publicly stated that backdoor influence was driving the projects approvals several years before the indictments were announced.
Kim Fraczek, the director of Sane Energy Project, a statewide environmental group, has been sounding the bell on fracked gas infrastructure since 2011. “Governor Cuomo has continues to express that he is a climate leader, and creates programs for all New Yorkers to access renewable energy, yet, we continue to see a failure in genuine climate action and working programs to a transition of justice to renewable energy. We continue to see our state be a conduit and service center to the fracking industry and some of the dirtiest investors on Wall St. The corruption case of Joseph Percoco and Peter Kelly is exactly the kind of action we continue to see from this administration. New Yorkers across this state demand accountable governance and stewardship of our planet, and to immediately halt the CPV Power Plant.”
Food and Water Watch, a national environmental group, also spoke out against the corruption. FWW Organizer Laura Shindell said, “It’s no surprise that the CPV fracked gas power plant was built on bribes. Its construction flies in the face of Governor Cuomo’s own climate goals, and would poison the surrounding community. As former Cuomo aid Joe Percoco stands trial for taking bribes from CPV, Cuomo must recognize the imperative to revoke the power plant’s permits that were issued under dubious circumstances. Cuomo needs to send a clear message: the fossil fuel industry cannot buy political favors in New York State and get away with it. Cuomo is complicit with this corruption if he does not pull the plug on the CPV power plant which was built on bribes.”
Residents of Orange County reported that the plant fired up for the first time just days ago which they saw as a statement from the company on the eve of this trial. Plumes engulfed the City of Middletown and were seen as far away as Newburgh 15-20 miles from the plant site. “It’s important to remember that this is not a victimless crime” said Malick, “the residents of Orange County along with anyone impacted by climate change is a victim.”
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