New York League of Conservation Voters Releases 2023 NYC Council Environmental Scorecard

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) today released its 2023 NYC Council Environmental Scorecard, in which Council Members and the body as a whole are evaluated based on their support of environmental bills in the previous year and whether those bills passed. We are excited to report that the Council prioritized several of the policies and proposals that NYLCV highlighted in our annual NYC Policy Agenda, passing 75% of our Scorecard bills, up from 27% in 2022. We commend Speaker Adams and the Council for tackling difficult but pressing issues, enacting bills that touched upon zero waste, transportation, lead poisoning, zero emission vehicles, zoning that incentives green retrofits, and more.

The full 2023 scorecard is available here.

“After a year when New Yorkers faced a torrent of catastrophic weather events, it is clear that we must take our foot off the brakes and accelerate our efforts on climate policy,” said NYLCV President Julie Tighe. “The road may be long, but with several environmental wins in 2023 that we can be proud of—including key measures related to zero waste and zoning for clean energy solutions—the City Council demonstrated that progress is more than possible. We look forward to working with the Mayor and City Council in 2024 to implement all of the environmental bills that have been passed in the last several years and to restore funding to front-line environmental agencies.” 

NYLCV applauds the Council Members who sponsored bills in 2023 that became law, including Councilmember Nurse, who as Chair of the Sanitation Committee demonstrated strong leadership by sponsoring a bill that set a goal of zero waste by 2030, and Council Member Hanif who sponsored the mandatory residential citywide organics bill. 

We are especially excited that the Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality bill, an NYLCV top priority. This bill will play an essential role in building out rooftop solar, energy storage systems, green retrofits, and more. We greatly appreciate the Council’s support.

Included below are details from some of the Council’s environmental wins in 2023:

  • Residential Curbside Organics Collection: This bill will create a citywide curbside organics program for residential buildings and require the Department of Sanitation to develop outreach and education materials concerning the program.
  • Allowing Reusable Beverage Containers in Sports Venues: This bill will require professional and collegiate sports venues to allow attendees to enter the venue with a reusable beverage container and establish penalties for venues that fail to comply.
  • Notice Requirements for Certain Transportation Projects: This bill will consolidate the community board notice requirement for bike lanes with the notice process in place for major transportation projects, and would repeal the existing standalone process for bike lanes. 
  • Purchase of Zero Emissions Vehicles by the City: This bill requires and mandates timelines for the city’s to transition their light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle fleet to zero-emissions.
  • Phasing Out the Use of Fuel Oil Grade no. 4: This bill will establish new deadlines for the phase out of fuel oil grade no. 4, prohibiting its use after July 1, 2025, for boilers located in city-owned buildings, and prohibiting its use after July 1, 2027, for all other boilers.
  • An Urban Forest Plan: This bill will require the city to create an Urban Forest Plan that aims to help the city expand the tree canopy from the current 22% coverage to 30% coverage. The plan will be required to evaluate the distribution, health, and stability of the city’s urban forest.
  • City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality: This will update the city’s Zoning Resolution to remove impediments to, and expand opportunities for, decarbonization projects within all zoning districts. 

Here are some additional highlights from our 2023 Scorecard:

  • The City Council passed 75% of our Scorecard bills, up from 27% in 2022;
  • The citywide Council average was 78%;
  • Bronx Council Members broke a 3+ year streak of score improvement, dropping from 98% in 2022 to 93% in 2023;
  • Manhattan moved farther from its 2020 high of 100%, dropping from 97% in 2022 to 95% in 2023;
  • The scores of Brooklyn and Queens both declined, with Brooklyn dropping from 81% to 80%, and Queens sliding 3 points from 86% to 83%;
  • Staten Island was twice as low as Brooklyn—the next lowest borough—as it declined by two points from 42% in 2022 to 40% in 2023;
  • Of the 51 members of the NYC Council, 21 received a perfect score

We look forward to working with Council Members in each borough to pass strong environmental laws in 2024 and improve their scores in the process. 

About the Scorecard
Our New York City Council Environmental Scorecard is our primary tool for holding Council Members accountable for their work on the environment. In consultation with our partners from environmental, environmental justice, public health, and transportation groups, we identify priority bills that have passed and those we believe have a chance of becoming law for inclusion in our scorecard. We then score each Council Member based on their support of these bills.

02.12.24 // AUTHOR: Devin Callahan //