After Gas Explosion Injures 15, Gov. Hochul Must Lead Transition Off Dangerous System

ALBANY, NY (11/03/2023) (readMedia)-- Yesterday, in Wappingers Falls, NY, a devastating gas explosion caused a multi-family building collapse and injured 15 New Yorkers, some critically. Lisa Marshall, Advocacy and Organizing Director of New Yorkers for Clean Power, a member organization of the Better Buildings NY Coalition, issued the following statement in response:

"Don't believe the gas utilities and wealthy fossil fuel companies who claim that gas is safe – the fracked gas system is dangerous, full stop. As temperatures drop and too many of us are stuck relying on this unsafe system just to stay warm, Governor Hochul can protect New Yorkers' health, safety, and the climate by putting the NY HEAT Act in next year's budget. We have to begin to move off the system that caused this entirely preventable tragedy."

Gas leaks and explosions are not uncommon. In fact, a serious gas leak happens on average every 40 hours in the United States resulting in injuries, deaths and millions of dollars in property damage. In addition to causing emergencies like these, the fracked gas pipeline network accelerates climate change and harms human health – all while utilities across NYS hike rates and stick New Yorkers with skyrocketing bills.

The NY HEAT Act, which now has 74 sponsors in the Assembly and passed in the NYS Senate last session, will begin New York's transition off the dangerous fracked gas system while saving New Yorkers money. It will reduce future rate increases by stopping expensive expansion of the fracked gas system, and it will save low and middle income New Yorkers up to $75/month on their utility bills. NY HEAT gets rid of the unfair 100-foot rule, which forces New York families to subsidize new gas hookups to the tune of $200 million every year while accelerating fossil fuel generated climate change that supercharges storms, turned the sky orange and made the air toxic from the wildfires this spring, and drives extreme heat. It will also allow utilities to redirect up to $150 billion that they are on track to spend to complete planned gas pipe replacements over the next 20 years, and instead invest in neighborhood-scale building electrification that will free New Yorkers from fossil-fuel driven volatile price spikes.

About Better Buildings New York (BBNY)

BBNY is a network of organizations working for the equitable decarbonization of homes and buildings in New York State. We are committed to environmental justice and a just transition to all-electric homes and buildings.

*$75/month savings calculated using 9.3% average energy burden in the NYC metro area for low-income families and 200% of the federal poverty level income of $27,180 for a one person household.