Seven years ago a coal plant was operating in Rochester. Five years ago, Rochester adopted carbon emissions goals of 30% reduction by 2025 and 80% by 2050. In September, the city accepted the Energy Commission’s recommendation to set new citywide emissions reduction targets at 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
This notable progress is thanks in part to years of organizing by the Sierra Club, including a history of Sierra Club appointees to the Energy Commission. As this advisory board works toward a plan on how to achieve the new goals, the Sierra Club is encouraging them to center racial equity and economic justice by committing to 100% fossil free electricity, doubling down on a vastly expanded 100% electric public transit system, and decarbonizing heating for homes and businesses.
Rick Morris was the Sierra Club organizer in Rochester for seven years and led much of the work described above. Morris departed for Vermont in October.
As the Rochester Post Bulletin reported in an article about his time in Rochester, “Morris said helping water protectors (at Standing Rock) was one of his proudest moments with the Sierra Club but also one of the saddest now that the pipeline is completed and has leaked multiple times, including contaminating the Standing Rock Tribe's source of freshwater.”
Rick Morris left the Sierra Club after eight years of organizing in Rochester, and is joining the ski patrol in Vermont this winter.