Assembly Passes the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee Steve Englebright today announced the Assembly has passed the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change in New York (A.8270-A, Englebright).

"Climate change is already having adverse impacts on communities across New York, many of which are already vulnerable," said Heastie. "This legislation will help make New York a leader in environmental policies and ensure that we focus on developing greener energy alternatives and sustainable practices."

"New Yorkers depend on us to act in order to help prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change," said Englebright. "As the federal government threatens to jeopardize the progress we have made, New York must do everything within our power to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help slow the rate of climate change to ensure the best possible outcome for our state's public health, environment and economic well-being."

The bill would establish the New York State Climate Action Council consisting of 25 members including state agencies and individuals with expertise in environmental issues, environmental justice, labor, and regulated industries.

Under the legislation, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would be required to establish:

  • greenhouse gas reporting requirements;
  • statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits;
  • a scoping plan, developed in consultation with the NYS Climate Action Council, the Environmental Justice Advisory Group, the Climate Justice Working Group and other stakeholders, outlining DEC's recommendations for attaining the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits;
  • regulations to achieve statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions;
  • a report, not less than every four years, including recommendations regarding the implementation of greenhouse gas reduction measures; and
  • a report on barriers to and opportunities for community ownership of services and commodities in disadvantaged communities, including distributed renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, weathering investments, and zero emission and low-emission transportation options.

The act would also establish a Climate Justice Working Group consisting of representatives from environmental justice communities, DEC, and the Departments of Health and Labor to identify disadvantaged communities for the purposes of co-pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions reductions and the allocation of certain investments.

State agencies would also be required to assess and implement strategies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and when issuing permits, licenses or other administrative approvals and decisions to consider their impact on attaining the statewide greenhouse gas emission limits.

Under the bill, 50 percent of the electric generation secured by load serving entities regulated by the Public Service Commission, the Power Authority of the State of New York, and the Long Island Power Authority would be required to be produced by renewable energy systems by 2030. The bill also defines renewable energy systems.