Group calls for clean energy use

Local representatives, Jennifer Donovon of Senator Jim Tedico’s office, left, councilman-at-large, Craig Talarico, Mayor Vern Jackson, speak with environmentalists Rosemarie Sheperd, Jahnn Gibson, Joe Sheperd and Liz Russo, right at City Hall Monday. (The Leader-Herlald/Briana O’Hara)

JOHNSTOWN — A group of environmental activists gave a demonstration to local representatives on clean energy Monday at theCity Hall.

The group of five showed up with signs stating, “Renewable Now,” “Up with 100 percent clean energy,” and “off fossil fuels onto 100 percent clean energy.”

Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson, Sen. James Tedisco’s representative Jennifer Donovan and Councilman-at-Large Craig Talarico spoke with the small group on ways they are working to try to preserve energy and keep the environment clean.

“We want to know what Johnstown is doing to get us off fossil fuels and onto renewables,” asked Jahnn Gibson, who organized the event.

“There’s not a lot we can do at this point,” Jackson said.

He said they have started the process of replacing 831 street lights with LED lights by beginning the bidding process. He said anything to do with vehicles is difficult because the city has a lot of vehicles that run on gas. He said they would need a lot of money to get vehicles that are electric.

“I would like to remind the powers that be that this is our life support system and if this goes, we all go,” said Rosemarie Sheperd.

Donovan read a letter from Tedisco which states, “The environment is very important to me. I was proud to sponsor and be a driving force behind passage of Proposition 2 in 2014, a constitutional amendment that will save taxpayers millions of dollars a year to help the environment by stopping wasteful printing of paper at the state capitol and going digital by enabling electronic copies of legislation to suffice.”

According to the letter, Tedisco also sponsored legislation that was signed into law in 2017 that designated several bodies of water in Fulton County as inland waterways. This will help local government receive more state and federal grant funding for waterfront revitalization for walking, biking and fishing to help boost tourism and for environmental protection.

“I strongly support alternative forms of energy. That’s why I am sponsoring legislation to create a state alternative fuel incentive fund to invest in clean, green alternative energy and wean off of fossil fuels,” the letter stated. “I am also advocating for bringing 100 electric vehicle fast charging stations to the Capital Region and have written the New York state Public Service Commission to make that plan a reality. This plan would be a game charger to fast charge the use of electric vehicles in upstate New York.”

Tedisco is also a co-sponsor for electric-assisted bicycles which helps the environment. The bikes have integrated electric motors which can be used for propulsion, rather than using gas from fossil fuels.

Joe Sheperd suggested getting charging stations put up in Johnstown.

“If you had city vehicles that were electric and re-charged, in the long-run it could save money,” said Bev Alves.

Jackson said they could look into that as an alternative for police cars.

The group said some ways people can help with the environment is by carpooling, recycling, planting trees, using less electricity, conserving water and fighting pollution.

“We need an army of people who are concerned with global warming,” Gibson said.

By Josh Bovee

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