Howie Hawkins Answers Sierra Club Questionnaire

See Howie's full answers to the 2013 Sierra Club questionnaire for local candidates here:

My top three environmental priorities if elected are big changes we need to address the climate crisis and unsustainable sprawl development:

1. Public Power: A Public Power Utility is necessary to give Syracuse the power to build, own, and operate its own clean renewable energy generation and to invest in and structure incentives for maximizing energy efficiency and conservation. Under the current structure of regulation separates investor-owned distribution utilities from investor-owned power generators, National Grid buys power in an oligopolistic market of providers reliant on fossil and nuclear fuels, with the incentives structured to maximize profits by maximizing energy consumption and buying nuclear and fossil power from the incumbent energy providers.

2. Plan for Carbon Free by 2030: The city should develop a executable plan to power, heat, cool, and transport Syracuse solely with carbon-free clean energy by 2030, as the recent study by Mark Jacobson et al. for powering New York State only by clean wind, water, and sunlight sources shows is technically feasible and cost effective. With the state and federal governments stalled on climate action, cities like Syracuse must take the lead to avert climate catastrophe.

3. Green the Interstate 81 Corridor: I advocate a plan for the I-81 Corridor in the 4th Council District that is designed around people and sustainability, not cars and the status quo of sprawl development. That plan would take down the viaduct, reroute through traffic onto I-481, and build a green neighborhood in the I-81 corridor: a car-free neighborhood supported by mass transit, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure, with a central park surrounded by mixed-use, mixed-income, mixed-age development. It would move commuters, shoppers, and tourists in, around, and out of the city and this core central neighborhood by building a first-class metro mass transit system instead of continuing car-dependent transit by rebuilding the viaduct or replacing it with a stop-and-go boulevard.

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commented 2013-08-06 12:06:00 -0400
Dear Howie,

Great video! Congrats that it’s your first! (Makes me think of the song lyric “Video killed the radio star”)

I think these three environmental priorities are great and very important. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) has a strong focus on community-owned renewable energy. Their expert on this is John Farrell (for instance,

ILSR is a great resource for learning more about the topic, so I encourage anyone interested to check them out, as well as this pdf:

Just a little science nit-pick on point 2: “Carbon Free” isn’t very accurate, since trees have carbon in them, etc. but I get what you’re saying. It would be amazing if we could kick our habit of reliance on fossil fuels!
Howie Hawkins is the 2017 Green candidate for Syracuse Mayor
Hawkins for Mayor