NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A522
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
establishing the "pollution justice act of 2023" and implementing a plan
to replace peaker plants with renewable energy systems
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
This bill requires electric generating units that operate during periods
of peak electricity demand (so-called "peaker plants") in New York City
to submit to a mandatory replacement and compliance plan, requiring the
replacement of current systems with clean and renewable energy systems
within a given timeframe.
Many peaker plants in New York City are older fossil fuel fired units
that emit harmful greenhouse gases and a variety of other harmful air
pollutants, including sulfur_oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates and
mercury. Currently, a substantial number of peaker plants are located in
or adjacent to economically distressed or minority communities in the
city of New York, with populations that already bear disproportionate
pollution burdens due to an unjust history of siting pollution sources
in those communities. This legislation seeks to rapidly replace fossil
fuel burning peaker plants with renewable energy systems, consistent
with the public interest, and in order to save millions of dollars in
environmental and human health related damages. This legislation will
further assist in meeting the greenhouse gas emission reduction and
energy storage goals of the climate leadership and community protection
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
A6251B of 2021-22
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR*STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
To be determined.
This act shall take effect one hundred and eighty days after enactment
and apply to all permit applications or renewals after such date.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2023-2024 Regular Sessions
January 9, 2023
Introduced by M. of A. CARROLL, FORREST, MITAYNES, SIMON, MAMDANI,
COLTON, DINOWITZ, KELLES, DAVILA, L. ROSENTHAL, SEPTIMO, THIELE --
read once and referred to the Committee on Environmental Conservation
AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
establishing the "pollution justice act of 2023" and implementing a
plan to replace peaker plants with renewable energy systems
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "pollution
2 justice act of 2023".
3 § 2. Article 19 of the environmental conservation law is amended by
4 adding a new title 13 to read as follows:
5 TITLE 13
6 PEAKER PLANTS
7 Section 19-1301. Statement of findings.
8 19-1303. Definitions.
9 19-1305. Mandatory replacement and compliance plan.
10 19-1307. Extensions for cause.
11 19-1309. Prohibitions.
12 19-1311. Exemptions.
13 § 19-1301. Statement of findings.
14 1. Electric generating units that generally operate during periods of
15 peak electricity demand are known as peaker plants. Many peaker plants
16 in the state are older fossil fuel-fired units that emit greenhouse
17 gases and a variety of other harmful air pollutants including sulfur
18 oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates and mercury.
19 2. A substantial number of peaker plants are located in or adjacent to
20 disadvantaged communities in the city of New York that already bear
21 disproportionate pollution burdens due to a history of siting pollution
22 sources in those communities.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
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1 3. Pollutants from peaker plants contribute to significant public
2 health problems. According to the New York city department of health and
3 mental hygiene's air pollution and the health of New Yorkers report:
4 "each year, PM2.5 pollution in (New York city) causes more than 3,000
5 deaths, 2,000 hospital admissions for lung and heart conditions, and
6 approximately 6,000 emergency department visits for asthma in children
7 and adults." According to the report, each year exposures to ozone
8 concentrations above background levels cause an estimated "400 premature
9 deaths, 850 hospitalizations for asthma and 4,500 emergency department
10 visits for asthma."
11 4. Peaker plants often operate during summer months when air pollution
12 levels are highest and their emissions add to existing pollution burdens
13 in disadvantaged communities and contribute to adverse health effects in
14 those communities from air pollution.
15 § 19-1303. Definitions.
16 1. "Adjacent to" shall mean within a radius of one mile from the plant
17 property boundary.
18 2. "Disadvantaged community" shall have the same meaning as in subdi-
19 vision five of section 75-0101 of this chapter.
20 3. "Operating permit" shall have the meaning set forth in subdivision
21 eighteen of section 19-0107 of this article.
22 4. "Renewable energy systems" shall have the meaning set forth in
23 section sixty-six-p of the public service law and may also include firm
24 zero emission resources such as long-duration energy storage.
25 5. "Replace" or "replacement" means the construction and operation of
26 a renewable energy system or transmission and distribution infrastruc-
27 ture that enables the provision of the equivalent maximum annual power
28 output achieved by the replaceable peaker plant during any single year
29 during the ten years preceding the submission of an application to renew
30 an operating permit.
31 6. "Replaceable peaker plant" means a major electric generating facil-
32 ity as defined in paragraph b of subdivision one of section 19-0312 of
33 this article that burns coal, oil, diesel or natural gas and was opera-
34 tional and generated electricity less than fifteen percent of the year
35 during at least two years between two thousand ten through two thousand
36 nineteen and that is located in or adjacent to a disadvantaged communi-
38 § 19-1305. Mandatory replacement and compliance plan.
39 1. The owner or operator of a replaceable peaker plant in a city with
40 a population of one million or more, within or adjacent to a disadvan-
41 taged community, shall submit to the department as part of an applica-
42 tion to issue an operating permit or renew an operating permit, a manda-
43 tory replacement and compliance plan that shall include, at a minimum,
44 the following:
45 a. The number of days and hours such plant operated during each of the
46 previous ten years;
47 b. The annual power output of such plant for each of the previous ten
49 c. The fuel or fuels utilized by such plant to generate power;
50 d. A proposed strategy to replace the plant with renewable energy
51 systems. The strategy shall, at a minimum, set forth the type or types
52 of renewable energy systems to be utilized, the proposed location or
53 locations of such renewable energy systems, and the electric generating
54 capacity of such renewable energy systems;
55 e. A timetable for implementation of the proposed replacement strategy
56 that shall not exceed five years from the date of renewal of the operat-
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1 ing permit and that shall ensure that the renewable energy systems are
2 fully operational, and the operations of the peaker plant can be
3 completely replaced, on or before five years from the date of renewal of
4 the operating permit; and
5 f. A demonstration of how the proposed renewable energy systems and
6 timetable for implementation will comply with the renewable energy goals
7 set forth in section sixty-six-p of the public service law.
8 2. The department shall provide public notice of the mandatory
9 replacement and compliance plan and an opportunity for public comment on
10 the plan of not less than sixty days. The department shall hold at least
11 two public hearings on the plan in the affected disadvantaged community
12 or communities that provide meaningful opportunities for public partic-
13 ipation and maximize participation and accessibility.
14 3. After review and consideration of public comments, the department
15 shall approve, approve with modifications or disapprove the plan.
16 4. Upon approval of the mandatory replacement and compliance plan, the
17 owner or operator of the replaceable peaker plant shall implement the
18 plan in accordance with the schedule set forth in the plan and provide
19 to the department an annual compliance and progress report beginning one
20 year after the department approves the plan. The department shall make
21 each annual compliance and progress report available on its website.
22 5. If the department disapproves a proposed plan, the department shall
23 inform the owner or operator of the replaceable peaker plant in writing
24 of the reasons for such disapproval and shall identify the portions of
25 the disapproved plan that need to be modified. The owner or operator
26 shall submit a modified plan within sixty days of receiving the depart-
27 ment's written notice of disapproval. The modified plan shall be subject
28 to the notice and public comment and hearing procedures set forth in
29 this section.
30 § 19-1307. Extensions for cause.
31 1. The owner or operator of a replaceable peaker plant may apply to
32 the department for a single five-year extension of the deadline for
33 replacement set forth in section 19-1305 of this title.
34 2. The department shall provide public notice of the application for
35 any such extension, and an opportunity for public comment on such appli-
36 cation, of not less than sixty days. The department shall hold at least
37 two public hearings on the application in the affected disadvantaged
38 community or communities that provide meaningful opportunities for
39 public participation and maximize participation and accessibility.
40 3. After review and consideration of public comments, the department
41 shall approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove the application
42 for a single five-year extension.
43 4. The department may only grant an application for an extension
44 request upon a showing by the applicant, by clear and convincing
45 evidence, that (a) replacement of the plant with renewable energy
46 systems by the deadline is not feasible, (b) the department of public
47 service, in consultation with the New York independent system operator,
48 has made a written determination that extending the deadline for the
49 plant is necessary to maintain reliability of the electric grid, and (c)
50 the continued operation of the peaker plant would not result in adverse
51 health impacts for the impacted disadvantaged communities.
52 § 19-1309. Prohibitions.
53 1. No person shall operate a replaceable peaker plant that is not in
54 compliance with the requirements of this title and the department shall
55 not issue an operating permit or renew an operating permit for a
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1 replaceable peaker plant that does not have an approved mandatory
2 replacement and compliance plan.
3 2. The department shall not issue an operating permit or renew an
4 operating permit for a replaceable peaker plant that has not completed
5 implementation of a mandatory replacement and compliance plan by the
6 deadline set forth in the plan.
7 § 19-1311. Exemptions.
8 1. A replaceable peaker plant is not subject to the requirements of
9 this title if the owner or operator of the plant has submitted written
10 notification to the department of public service that the plant will be
11 permanently retired on or before the first day of January, two thousand
13 2. The department shall, effective on or before the first day of Janu-
14 ary, two thousand twenty-eight, revoke the operating permit of a
15 replaceable peaker plant for which written notification has been
16 provided to the department of public service pursuant to subdivision one
17 of this section.
18 § 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
19 it shall have become a law and shall apply to all permit applications or
20 renewals on or after such date.