Julie Tighe Testifies on Behalf of the Clean Fuels New York Coalition

Testimony of Julie Tighe on Behalf of the Clean Fuels New York Coalition Before the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2020-2021 Executive Budget

January 27, 2020

Chairwoman Krueger, Chairwoman Weinstein, Chairman Kaminsky, and Chairman Englebright, my name is Julie Tighe and I serve as the President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, though today I’m speaking on behalf of the Clean Fuels New York Coalition.

Our coalition represents 33 environmental, health, and clean energy groups and was formed to demonstrate the broad and diverse support for New York State to create a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

An LCFS would set performance standards that require fuel manufacturers and importers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the petroleum-based fuels they make and sell, rightfully shifting the burden to companies who are profiting from these polluting products. High carbon intensity fuel providers would buy credits from those producing and using low carbon intensity fuels, such as electricity and renewable biofuels. Addended to the testimony is a fact sheet which shows the carbon intensity of various fuels in California.

The result is a budget-neutral, technology neutral solution that promotes clean energy options for New York’s transportation industry.

In effect, these credits provide a new revenue stream to transition the transportation sector to electric vehicles and clean fuel alternatives. With a steady investment in non-petroleum fuels and renewable technology, our state would also see increased job opportunities locally, reduced out-of-state payments for unsustainable fuels, and the creation of a market that is more dependable for clean fuels.

To meet the goals outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), New York must accelerate investment in clean transportation options including electric vehicles, charging stations, mass transit and clean fuel alternatives. An LCFS would help drive

investment into these areas, using credits generated by products with low carbon intensity scores.

As a result of creating a more dependable, durable market for clean fuels, an LCFS would significantly improve our air quality, the health of our environment and the lives of every New Yorker, and particularly communities of color who breathe 66% more air pollution from vehicles than white residents. Common pollutants from petroleum-based transportation fuels have been linked to many health problems, including childhood asthma, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease. According to a study from the American Lung Association, the introduction of an LCFS in California combined with the California cap-and-trade system had significant health impacts, including avoiding $1.6 billion in public health costs by 2016 and projected public health savings of $8.2 billion annually by 2025.

The State recently announced the goal to transition the New York’s upstate public transit fleets to 25% electric buses by 2025 and 100% by 2035, with a significant expansion of the charging network. However, the reality is that transit agencies will seek state assistance to fund the transition of more than 1,400 buses to all-electric, at a time when the state is facing budget shortfalls. We’ve heard concerns about how transit agencies will fund this initiative from the New York Public Transit Association. An LCFS could provide a new revenue stream used to fund this important initiative without requiring tax dollars, further allowing New York to accelerate its shift to clean forms of energy across the transportation sector.

California, Oregon, and British Columbia have implemented an LCFS with great success. If New York hopes to set the pace for climate leadership, a low carbon fuel standard must be part of the solution.

On behalf of the Clean Fuels New York Coalition, we urge the inclusion of an LCFS in this year’s final budget to reach our climate goals, spur economic development statewide, and improve public health.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

projected public health savings of $8.2 billion annually by 2025.