New York League of Conservation Voters Announces 2024 State Policy Priorities

Major Focus Includes Shaping an Effective Cap-and-Invest Program, Passing a Clean Fuel Standard and Other Clean Transportation Policies, Building Decarbonization, Increasing Offshore Wind Energy, Achieving Zero Waste

Albany, NY – The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) and NYLCV Education Fund (NYLCVEF) released their 2024 State Policy Agenda today. Among the League’s top priorities are: 

  • Implement an effective cap-and-invest program with a focus on equity, affordability and labor standards
  • Decarbonize public buildings
  • Pass the NY HEAT Act
  • Pass a Clean Fuel Standard for transportation 
  • Electrify public transit fleets
  • Lift the cap on manufacturer-owned zero-emission car sales
  • Implement the New York metropolitan region congestion pricing plan
  • Fund the state’s portion of the 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan
  • Increase offshore wind commitments to 20 gigawatts by 2050
  • Set a goal of achieving zero waste by 2040
  • Enact a packaging waste reduction and recycling law

After the hottest year on record and a summer of apocalyptic orange hazy skies, the urgency of the climate crisis has never been more clear,” said NYLCV President Julie Tighe. “From cap-and-invest to a clean fuel standard and from decarbonizing buildings to bolstering large-scale renewable energy projects, it is time to move from planning to delivering tangible results and NYLCV’s State Policy Agenda is a roadmap to help lawmakers accomplish exactly that.” 

The 2024 State Policy Agenda is at once a summary of NYLCV’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session and a guide to help elected officials achieve bold environmental action. In addition to the priorities listed above, NYLCV will also advocate for the Environmental Protection Fund and clean water infrastructure to be fully funded and to accelerate the deployment of funding from the Environmental Bond Act and maximizing matching federal dollars  federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.  

This agenda arrives following a year that saw both perils and progress in the climate fight. Record heat, devastating wildfires, and crippling floods dominated the news. At the same time, several of NYLCV’s priorities were advanced in Albany, including action to decarbonize buildings, produce renewable energy faster, improve public health, and protect the state’s food security and agricultural economy.  

The 2024 State Agenda, which was created with input from the NYLCV/EF Policy Committee, will drive the organizations’ advocacy and programmatic work throughout the year as NYLCV pushes for budget appropriations and legislation.

Throughout the process, NYLCV/EF worked closely with New York’s leading environmental, public health, conservation, energy, environmental justice, and transportation organizations to identify the state’s most pressing priorities.

The full agenda is available here, and further details on some of the League’s top priorities are below:

Buildings are the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutants in New York State, meaning building decarbonization must play a critical role as we set out to meet the State’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. We can significantly reduce emissions and develop a 21st century workforce that sustains and grows middle-class union jobs by adopting legislation to plan for the phase-out of fossil fuel infrastructure for energy and heating needs through the NY HEAT Act, tighten building energy codes, decarbonize state-owned buildings, and a host of additional policies. 

Transportation is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, damaging our public health and concentrating pollution in low-income communities and communities of color. Aggressive action is required to protect public health, promote environmental justice, and achieve the State’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050, including electrifying public transit fleets, lifting the cap on manufacturer-owned zero-emission car sales, and establishing a clean fuel standard that makes the dirtiest fuel providers subsidize low- and zero-emission alternatives.

To help accomplish the goals established by the CLCPA, the state is developing a cap and invest program that uses market forces to cap greenhouse gas emissions and generate funds from polluters. A successful program must include guidelines about which programs can be funded with cap and invest along with labor standards for said projects, with at least 40% of all generated funds invested in disadvantaged communities.

Our ability to mitigate climate change is largely dependent on ambitious action to decarbonize New York’s energy grid within the next decade. New York’s continued progress toward achieving 70% renewable electricity by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2040 is dependent upon the timely procurement, responsible siting, permitting and transmission of 9 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, while increasing our offshore wind goal to 20 gigawatts by 2050. 

Waste is an often overlooked part of the climate crisis, accounting for about 6% of New York State’s greenhouse gas emissions. The recycling system is facing numerous challenges that must be addressed to make New York’s waste management more sustainable. New York should develop a range of short-, medium-, and long-term options to fix the recycling market, including: passing more extended producer responsibility laws; supporting local recycling efforts, including through additional funding; expanding the Bottle Bill; standardizing a statewide list of recyclable materials; and establishing minimum recycling content requirements. 

01.05.24 // AUTHOR: Devin Callahan //