On April 22, 2021 – Earth Day – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an unanticipated expansion of green initiatives throughout the City. His first item, the commitment to fully electrify New York City’s school bus fleet by 2035, will expand Executive Order 53. This order was signed in February 2020 and called for the electrification of the City’s non-emergency fleet by 2040, which at the time did not include the privately-owned school buses. Beginning in 2021, non-profit NYCSBUS will collaborate with the City to reduce carbon emission and air pollution by implementing electric school buses, particularly in Environmental Justice Communities which often house dirty bus depots.
This is fantastic news for NYLCV, as founding members of the NYC Clean School Bus Coalition we have been pushing for the electrification of school buses for years. We are heartened to see this commitment and look forward to working with the Speaker and the NYC Council on legislation that will sign this into law.
The Mayor’s second Earth Day announcement promised the restoration of the City’s curbside composting program, which previously served 3.5 million New Yorkers before its pause in the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis. The minor change is that people previously served by the program will have to opt back in during the summer to receive pickup service. The program will restart in October 2021 and will also include major expansions of community composting. The City’s Food Scrap Drop-Off program is expected to grow from approximately 100 sites to over 200 this fall. Mayor de Blasio commented: “No other municipality ran a compost program like ours, and this new citywide program will advance the cause of environmental justice in all five boroughs.” In addition to composting, the Mayor promised the return or expansion of a number of other initiatives, including SAFE Disposal Events, Special Waste Drop-off locations, and Reuse Swap Events.
The Mayor made a multitude of other announcements concerning the environment last week, these included an expansion of Local Law 130 which will mandate electric vehicle chargers in 20% of existing parking garage spaces, geothermal utility services, a climate knowledge report, and a lawsuit against major oil companies.