Assemblymember Kelles Introduces Bill to Secure Statewide Emissions Reductions and Billions for Climate Justice and Community Projects

Kelles’ A8469 would introduce guardrails on the State’s proposed cap-and-trade program to lower emissions and protect frontline communities

Albany, NY – Assemblymember Anna Kelles, along with members of the NY Renews coalition, introduced at a press conference Assembly Bill A8469 (Senate Bill S9228), which would establish an economy-wide cap and invest program to support greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions in the state. While NYSERDA has proposed a Cap and Trade pre-proposal with draft regulations that are expected to be released soon, this bill offers a crucial counterpoint, rejecting emissions trading and instead calling for reinvestment of revenues through a community-directed Climate Solutions Grants program for community-based organizations, projects & initiatives not assisted by other assistance programs, with 75% going to disadvantaged communities. 

This bill, carried by Assemblymember Kelles and Senator Parker, implements an effective and equitable cap and invest system with input from impacted communities to avoid the harms we have seen from other pollution pricing mechanisms that have relied on ‘trading’ the right to pollute disadvantaged communities. Implemented correctly, cap and invest will reduce economy-wide emissions, create clean energy jobs, reduce energy bills for households and small businesses, improve public health through the reduction of co-pollutants, and prepare our communities to weather the effects of extreme storms.

The Climate Action Council Scoping Plan identified a Cap and Invest program as one way the State could meet its Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) mandates to reduce GHG emissions by the target dates set in law. Especially in the absence of passage of Climate Superfund legislation, without a cap and invest model in place, our state cannot meet its CLCPA goals. 

Assemblymember Kelles stated, "As the Assembly sponsor of this bill, I'm proud to champion legislation that builds upon the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) to establish a Cap and Invest system. Our charge is clear: create a pathway to net zero greenhouse gas emissions, create clean energy jobs, and safeguard the health and well-being of all New Yorkers. To ensure the success of this transition, we cannot allow major polluters to continue to pollute our air and water in perpetuity for free. This legislation, with clear guardrails, protects disadvantaged communities, protects industry participants from artificially induced consolidation of the market, provides a clear transmission roadmap for NY companies that compete in a tight global market, and provides clear administrative guidance to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.If implemented effectively and equitably, this cap and invest program will not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also foster a more sustainable and resilient future for generations to come."

"Done right, New York’s cap-and-invest system could be a key tool in securing climate justice in our state: money for frontline communities, paid for by polluters,” said Eunice Ko, Deputy Director of New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA). “But if we proceed down the path the Governor has laid out so far for this system, it will mean increased environmental harm for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and working New Yorkers. A8469/S9228 (Kelles/Parker) provides the guardrails we need for a successful cap-and-invest (not the usual flawed cap-and-trade) program."

“In order to ensure New York’s emissions cap program actually reduces emissions, protects frontline communities, and raises money for critical climate justice, infrastructure, and community projects that will benefit New Yorkers from Buffalo to Brooklyn, the program must include the vital projections and structure laid out in A8469/S9228 (Kelles/Parker),” said Conor Bambrick, Director of Policy at Environmental Advocates NY. 

“NY Renews is thrilled to support A8469/S9228 (Kelles/Parker),” said Stephan Edel, Executive Director of NY Renews. “This bill sets limits on the state’s proposed emissions cap program to protect communities, raise money from polluters, and invest in our state’s climate and community resilience by establishing an economy-wide plan to support greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the state. This bill addresses the potential shortcomings of a more traditional cap-and-trade program, which the Governor’s office is currently proposing—one that would be dangerous to frontline communities and ineffective at rapidly curbing greenhouse gas emissions.”