Story at a glance:
- He is leaving partly because he trusts President Biden.
- Under former President Trump, his plan to prevent another Hurricane Sandy got canceled, because he said it was “foolish”.
Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs for the City of New York Daniel Zarrilli is resigning his position.
After serving for eight years, Zarilli decided to leave office, hopeful that the Biden administration can combat the city’s climate concern, according to The Guardian.
“[It is the] right time to move on and hand over the reins,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the man who appointed Zarilli in January 2016. Zarilli has a new position, but it is unknown what he will be doing within the climate crisis space.
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Zarilli was appointed during the Trump administration, and the former president halted a study looking into constructing a sea barrier with retractable gates from New Jersey to Queens. Former President Trump called the project a “foolish” way to prevent climate disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Trump told New Yorkers to get “mops and buckets ready.” The project was going to cost $119 billion and include a series of man-made islands.
“That longer-term study was canceled but we are seeing more partnership with the federal government again,” Zarrilli said. “We’re hopeful the infrastructure bill will be a major climate bill that will be to the benefit of New York and cities around the world. It’s been a remarkable whiplash; we were fighting off the federal government for four years due to its reckless leadership. We will now see more flood defenses in the city – we are already under way with that.”
Before being the senior director of climate policy, he was part of a task force called the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency that developed an award-winning climate adaptation program for New York City after Hurricane Sandy. According to the city’s official website, he was also appointed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2013 as the city’s first Chief Resilience Officer.
In his tenure, Zarrilli helped the city fight the fossil fuel companies responsible for the climate crisis by suing oil and gas companies. When that failed, he helped the city divest its pension funds in fossil fuel stock by billions and encouraged investing in renewable energy stocks.
“We have charted a course to more sustainable and more resilient future and New York City is better off for his service,” de Blasio said.
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