Speaker Carl Heastie and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright today announced Assembly passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a comprehensive bill that sets critical environmental standards, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy in order to address and mitigate the effects of climate change (A.8429, Englebright).
Climate change is already having adverse effects on communities here in New York, and if it continues unchecked, it will wreak havoc on our environment, our economy and on the everyday lives of New Yorkers, Speaker Heastie said. As the administration in Washington rolls back environmental protections, the Assembly Majority will continue to lead the way in developing green energy alternatives and sustainable policies and practices.
People across the state, from Buffalo to Long Island, have urged New York to act on climate change. I am proud that the Assembly Majority has led the way on this issue and has now passed the most comprehensive climate legislation in the nation. This bill sets New York on a course for a sustainable future by transitioning our state to clean renewable energy, unleashing the genius of American industry, and ensuring good paying jobs that work for all New Yorkers, said Assemblymember Englebright.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act would require that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) establish:
- Statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits by regulation, to reduce emissions 85 percent by 2050;
- Regulations to achieve statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions; and
- A process ensuring that a minimum of 35 percent of investments from clean energy and energy efficiency funds are invested in disadvantaged communities.
The legislation would also establish a Climate Justice Working Group, consisting of representatives from environmental justice communities, DEC and the Departments of Health and Labor. The working group would identify disadvantaged communities for the purposes of reducing co-pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions and the allocation of certain investments.
This bill would establish the New York State Climate Action Council, consisting of 22 members including state agencies and individuals with expertise in environmental issues, environmental justice, labor and regulated industries. The Climate Action Council will be tasked with establishing a scoping plan together with the Environmental Justice Advisory Group, Climate Justice Working Group and other stakeholders that outlines recommendations for attaining statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits and the goal of net zero emissions in all sectors of the economy.
State agencies would be required to assess and implement strategies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and to consider the impact on attaining the statewide greenhouse gas emission limits when issuing permits, licenses or other administrative approvals. The bill would also establish a community air monitoring program to benefit disadvantaged communities.
The bill will also make investments in renewable energy sources a priority in New York State. It would require 70 percent of the electric generation secured by load serving entities regulated by the Public Service Commission to be produced by renewable energy systems by 2030. Additionally, the bill requires that the statewide electrical demand system will be zero emissions by 2040. The measure would spur the procurement of at least nine gigawatts of offshore wind electric generation by 2035, six gigawatts of distributed photovoltaic solar generation by 2025, three gigawatts of statewide energy storage capacity by 2030 and 185 trillion BTUs of end use energy savings below the 2025 energy use forecast.
This legislation would provide a framework and guidelines for a comprehensive review of New Yorks renewable energy program, including evaluating the process of meeting annual targets. It will also establish reporting on energy savings and clean energy market penetration in disadvantaged and low- and moderate-income communities.
Finally, the bill provides that all projects as a result of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act are subject to the prevailing wage rate that reflects current law.