NYLCV’s 2018 NYC Agenda

Each year, NYLCV’s NYC Chapter Board works closely with leading environmental, energy, conservation, public health, environmental justice, and transportation organizations to identify and advocate for solutions to New York City’s most pressing environmental issues. The 2018 NYC Policy Agenda is the result of that effort and will guide NYLCV’s advocacy in New York City throughout the year. It will also inform the bills its ultimately selects for its annual NYC Council Environmental Scorecard.

The 2018 NYC Policy Agenda tackles several key issue areas facing New York City and offers more than 40 specific recommendations. Topics include: energy and infrastructure; resilience; solid waste; clean air; clean water; sustainable food systems; mobility; and parks, waterfronts and natural areas.

In his first term, Mayor de Blasio made action on climate change and environmental protection top priorities for his administration. The Mayor’s OneNYC Plan established ambitious goals to address growth, equity, sustainability and resilience including an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and sending zero waste to landfills by 2030. There have been significant achievements including: the Community Parks Initiative, expansion of residential and commercial organics waste collection, benchmarking of all large buildings, and hardening of critical infrastructure. Under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the New York City Council also played an important role in pushing the administration to do more, passing dozens of bills with signi cant benefits for the environment.

If we are to reach our ambitious goals, however, four more years of progress at the same pace will be insufficient to keep us on track. Our leaders in New York City will need to think bigger and do more. Last summer, we held a four-part policy forum series called Getting NYC to 80 x 50, evaluating the medium- and long-term impediments to reaching our goals and what it will take to overcome them. A number of the ideas that came out of this series made it into our agenda for this year.

While we recognize what we are asking will not be easy to accomplish, we look forward to working with the de Blasio Administration and the Council every step of the way. Although we included forty-two specific directives in this year’s agenda, there are three key areas we will focus on: making our climate goals real, planning for the future of mobility, and removing toxics from the environment.

With a challenging political environment in Washington undermining years of environmental progress, cities and states are showing they cannot only fill the void but also chart the path forward. As our nation’s largest city and a major global metropolis, our successes and failures in building a strong, healthy, and sustainable city carry unique weight. When we demonstrate how innovative policies can be implemented on a large scale, our sister cities watch closely and often follow our lead. We do not take this lightly and we know our elected leaders do not either. We look forward to making sure New York City remains on the cutting-edge of environmental policy in 2018 and beyond.

NYLCV has identified the following priorities for 2018:

  • Making our Climate Goals Real: Mayor de Blasio’s “Roadmap to 80 x 50” plan detailed how we can achieve our ambitious climate goals through advances in four key sectors: buildings, energy, transportation, and waste. While we are pleased with the Mayor’s commitment to seeing our climate goals through, the City will face significant challenges in achieving the goals set out for each of the four sectors. After years of studying solutions, planning, and addressing so-called low-hanging fruit, the next round of policies will be more complex and disruptive, requiring an increased investment in political willpower. If we are to show we are serious about meeting our goals, however, it is necessary and it must begin this year.
  • Planning for Future Mobility Systems: New technologies are coming and they will change the way we get around the city. Some bring hugely positive benefits for the environment, while others could derail progress without thoughtful planning and regulation. We cannot solely focus on the transit debates of past decades, particularly in the outer borough transit deserts where expanding the subway network as quickly as demographics are shifting is not practical. New York City must adapt and quickly plan for transformative technological changes such as, autonomous vehicles, zero-emissions vehicles, advances in signal and sensor technology, and ride and bike share programs.
  • Removing Toxics from the Environment: From legacy lead-based paint in NYCHA properties, corroding waterlines in our buildings and schools, and everyday products on store shelves, exposure to toxic chemicals is a risk to New Yorkers, especially young children. New York City must adequately enforce current testing and mitigation laws, including Local Law 1, create a plan to address concerns about lead in water infrastructure and indoor air pollutants, and pursue a policy requiring disclosure of toxic chemicals in children’s products.