Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State address last week laid out several key environmental priorities that would advance the state toward meeting the goals mandated in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
We are thrilled that the governor is once again advocating for the transition to zero-emission buildings for new construction throughout the state. Buildings are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutants, so if the state is to meet its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, it is critical that we get building decarbonization right. We will also push for what we believe is the proverbial low-hanging fruit, decarbonizing state-owned buildings with strong union labor and job training provisions. We welcome the governor’s goal of building 800,000 new housing units, with a focus on dense, walkable, transit-oriented development, which will reduce emissions.
One of the highlights of the speech was Governor Hochul’s support for a cap and invest program, which we believe, if thoughtfully designed, can be an effective and equitable way to reduce GHG emissions.
If we can make our buildings run on clean energy, surely we can make our State Parks do the same, and so we are excited that the governor proposed transitioning our parks off of fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
These are other highlights from Governor Hochul’s address:
- The governor announced her support for a comprehensive waste reduction and management law for packaging, which would support local recycling efforts, reduce the use of toxic chemicals, save taxpayer money, and advance the goal of sending zero waste to landfills–a longtime NYLCV priority;
- The governor announced several proposals to improve the functionality of the MTA, including enhanced bus lane enforcement, 24/7 “City Ticket” access for reduced rates on commuter rail trips within NYC, and the continued progress toward the implementation of congestion pricing, which will provide critical capital funding for the MTA;
- The governor announced several steps to protect the state’s drinking water, our most precious resource. This includes $500 million for investigating and removing “forever chemicals” and continuing the state’s push to ensure our drinking water is lead free;
- The governor’s proposed the EmPower Plus program and the Energy Affordability Guarantee. The former will help low-income New Yorkers retrofit their homes to become more energy efficient, while the latter will keep their utility costs down. Combined, they are a potential game changer that will hasten an equitable transition to clean energy for all New Yorkers;
- The governor announced new proposals to remove barriers to electric vehicle charging infrastructure
The environmental priorities the governor spoke about are a positive step forward. But the devil is in the details. We think our state can accomplish more. We will advocate for a clean fuel standard for transportation, new funding for the MTA, and increased offshore wind commitments to 20 gigawatts by 2050, among the other policies we outline in our 2023 State Agenda.
We will fight throughout the budget process and the upcoming legislative session to ensure these policy proposals–and more–are acted upon in a manner that is both effective and equitable.
We look forward to working with Governor Hochul on all these issues. Throughout her time in office, the Governor has been a champion for the environment. She has put New York on the leading edge in the fight against climate change. Her State of the State address demonstrates that she has no intention of letting up. NYLCV applauds the governor for her bold environmental leadership and we look forward to our continued environmental partnership with her and the state legislature in the coming year.