On February 7, NYLCV Policy Director Patrick McClellan appeared before the Joint Committee on Environmental Conservation to testify about the League’s funding priorities. McClellan joined other advocats at the day-long hearing, which included testimony from the heads of key environmental agencies including the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, NYSERDA, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Public Service Commission and the Office of Renewable Energy Siting.
McClellan highlighted the League’s support for a $600 million Clean Water Infrastructure Act and a $400 million Environmental Protection Fund. Governor Hochul has proposed cutting the Clean Water Infrastructure Act by half over the next two years and raiding $25 million from the EPF to pay for staffing. McClellan also noted the Leagues support for Gov. Hochul’s Affordable Gas Transition Act and it’s counterpart in the legislature known as the NY HEAT Act. He also voiced our strong support for a Clean Fuel Standard and for substantially increasing the state’s renewable energy transmission capacity.
McClellan also highlighted the League’s support for:
- A sales tax exemption on the sale of battery energy storage systems, which are critical to meeting our climate goals. By allowing for the storage of distributed solar energy, they can be used at times of peak electric demand, uneven power generation, and power outages.
- Funding for centennial projects and also support increasing the capital budget allocation for the Parks Department to $250 million.
- The appropriation of $40 million for a thermal energy network at SUNY Purchase and $50 million for a thermal energy network at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.
- We support including legislation to exempt renewable energy project payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) from the tax cap calculation, appropriate funds to support outreach, education, and assistance in communities hosting renewable energy projects, and create a process for community solar projects to appeal unreasonable local siting laws to the Office of Renewable Energy Siting.
- Part I of the TED Article VII legislation allowing New York City to lower its speed limit to 20 miles per hour, or 10 miles per hour in certain slow zones.
- Increasing the share of project costs that can be paid for with a Climate Smart Communities grant from 50% to 80% for disadvantaged communities and communities that are determined by DEC to have financial hardship.
- A ban on lithium-ion batteries for e-bikes and e-scooters that do not meet battery safety standards and adopting a product stewardship system for the safe recycling or disposal of these batteries at the expense of the battery manufacturers.
- Legislation to streamline the state land acquisition process