Gov. Hochul Can Protect Our Waterways and Prepare NY For the EV Revolution

By Peter Aronson

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) is urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign two bills; one will further protect New York’s waterways and help keep the state’s drinking water safe, and the other will help our state end its dependence on fossil fuels.

These two bills have been passed by the New York State Legislature and await the governor’s signature.

The first bill, A. 6652/S. 4162, known as the Class C Streams bill, is designed to protect New York’s streams by putting them under the supervision of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. This is crucial to shoring up the state’s natural resilience against the impacts of climate change as well as protecting our water supply. 

The second bill, A. 5052/S. 4830, would amend the public authorities and public service laws to require the development of a highway and depot charging action plan for electric vehicles to meet the state’s clean transportation goals.

Protecting Our Waterways

Waters in New York State are assigned a class based on their use. Class C streams are designated to allow fishing and other, non-contact activities, such as picnicking, camping, and marine life study. In addition, more than five million New Yorkers get drinking water from small streams as these bodies of water replenish groundwater aquifers around the state.

NYLCV has made it clear in previous writing that signing this bill into law is crucial. Gov. Hochul vetoed it once before. We are urging her to sign it now to protect this natural resource.  

“The polluting degradation of these natural resources will impact more than recreation and research,” said NYLCV Policy Director Pat McClellan. “These resources also provide natural resilience against the impacts of climate change and allow natural species to flourish and provide critical natural habitats for fish like trout. It’s essential that we keep these vital waterways clean.”

By putting Class C streams under the DEC’s Waters Regulatory Program, the state can protect this valuable resource against activities that pollute these waterways.

Establishing a Highway and Depot Charging Action Plan 

If you own or are considering buying an electric car, you can relate to the importance of Highway and Depot Charging Action Plan. As we all know, having a convenient location to charge an EV is essential to the growth in this field as we try to retire our gas guzzling vehicles. This goes for cars, school buses and trucks. 

The transportation sector in New York accounts for 29 percent of the state’s carbon emissions, a close second to the building sector, the leader at 32 percent. For the state to attain its goals of a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and an 85 percent reduction by 2050, EV use needs to be increased dramatically. Adding significant charging stations across the state, including along key transportation corridors, is a prerequisite to this.  

“The lack of a robust charging network creates a significant barrier to the transition towards a clean energy economy as drivers will feel less confident driving long distances and, therefore, may be reluctant to purchase EVs,” NYLCV President Julie Tighe wrote in a letter to Gov. Hochul in September, urging her to support this bill. “With the proper charging infrastructure, it will be easier for people and businesses to transition to electric vehicles, decreasing vehicle-related emissions and helping mitigate the effects of climate change.”

In addition, establishing a strong charging infrastructure would create good-paying jobs with the manufacturing and installation of charging stations.

The bill, if signed, would require the establishment of a highway and depot charging action plan to assist the state in achieving targets set forth by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, as well as zero-emissions vehicle sales targets and regulations, including the advanced clean truck, advanced clean cars II rules, and the zero-emissions school bus law, which mandates that all school busses be electric by 2035.  

11.17.23 // AUTHOR: Devin Callahan //