De Blasio Getting Tough on Pollution – Is He Running Too?

Photo: Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Mayor Bill De Blasio of New York City, who is allegedly mulling whether to throw his hat into the Presidential race, used Trump Tower as a backdrop for an event on Monday highlighting a tough new law that reduces emissions from buildings, which has been dubbed NYC’s GND.  At the event, the Mayor, according to Reuters, “threatened to fine the Trump Organization $2.1 million a year starting in 2030 unless the president’s business reduces emissions from its buildings,” with Trump Tower alone worth nearly $500,000 in fines. This threat was reiterated in a tweet by the Mayor later in the day.

  • The event, which was intended to highlight the mayor’s environmental record, according to Politico, got out of hand when the Mayor moved it inside Trump Tower because of rain and that allowed protesters to drown out the Mayor’s remarks.
  • Music played at curiously high volumes in the lobby, and protesters shouted “You suck,” and several people  rode up and down the escalators right behind the mayor, with signs saying “Trump 2020” and “Worst Mayor Ever.”
  • The Mayor also had to admit that he drove rather than walking or taking public transit to the event and that he did not know how much pollution is being emitted by other large buildings in the City.

At the event, the Mayor also expressed his opposition to a controversial 24-mile natural gas pipeline that would run from New Jersey to Queens.  The Governor of New York must decide whether to grant a water quality permit, which is necessary for construction.  Environmental advocates have been pressuring the Governor to deny the permit.  NY’s Spectrum News 1 reported in February that the pipeline would transport gas fracked from Pennsylvania through New Jersey to New York. At a public hearing in February, pipeline opponents argued that the construction process would stir up toxins on the seabed and that it would commit the area to decades more fossil fuel use.  Union members argued in favor of the pipeline because it would provide new construction jobs and a reliable supply of natural gas.

Why This Matters:  The Governor’s decision is expected any day now on the pipeline and the Mayor just turned up the heat.  Meanwhile, the Mayor’s attempt to lay the groundwork for a Presidential run was hardly smooth sailing.  There are no easy days in the rough and tumble world of New York politics.  And no easy decisions for Dems when unions and conservation groups are on opposing sides of an energy issue.


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