NYLCV Releases 2023 State Environmental Scorecard

Scorecard used to hold state lawmakers accountable for environmental action.

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) is pleased to present the 2023 New York State Environmental Scorecard, an annual evaluation of State Legislators based on their support – or lack of support – for environmental legislation. Voters have come to rely on the scorecard as an easy-to-understand ledger on state environmental policies and an effective tool for evaluating and holding their elected officials accountable.

“What we are seeing now is that every year provides a new wake-up call to the devastating impacts of climate change,” said NYLCV President Julie Tighe. “In 2023, we had apocalyptic orange skies and toxic air delivered from the Canadian wildfires, coupled with devastating flooding in New York City and the hottest year on record. “We were pleased to see several NYLCV scorecard bills pass both houses of the state legislature in 2023, including action to decarbonize the buildings sector, produce renewable energy faster, and advance public health, among others. However, the urgency of the climate crisis demands that lawmakers go much further next year and we look forward to working with Governor Hochul and the State Senate and Assembly in 2024 to make sure that happens.”

Highlights from this year’s scorecard include the following environmental scores for legislators

  • 22 State Senators, out of a total of 63, and 47 Assemblymembers, out of a total of 150, earned a perfect score of 100%;
  • An additional 22 State Senators and 21 Assemblymembers received an 80% or higher score;
  • The average score for State Senators was highest in Westchester (100%) and New York City (95%) and lowest in the North Country (57%);
  • The average score for Assemblymembers was highest in Westchester (95%) and lowest in the North Country (33%); and
  • The Assemblymember scores in the five boroughs in New York City had a wide range: Manhattan, 88%; Bronx, 87%; Queens, 86%; Brooklyn, 71%; and Staten Island, 37%.

This year’s scorecard examined 14 bills from the 2023 legislative session that were NYLCV priorities and of significant importance to the environment and conservation efforts in New York State. These bills addressed such vital areas as renewable energy, improving public health, protecting natural resources, preserving our delicate ecosystems, and ensuring our EV charging infrastructure will meet the demand.

Some of our top priorities were passed by both houses, including ones that would ease restrictions on geothermal energy development, increase transparency around the construction of pipelines, and lead to safer and cleaner drinking water in the state.  

Although they never made it to a floor vote in the Assembly, we were pleased to see the senate pass a Clean Fuel Standard, the NY HEAT Act, and the Just Transition Act, and we look forward to working to get these measures through both houses in 2024.

In addition to the individual bills watched closely by NYLCV, we also focus considerable attention on the annual state budget. While not scored, some of this year’s most significant environmental wins were achieved by way of the 23-24 budget, with a commitment to zero-emission buildings, renewable energy and, critically, a cap-and-invest measure to pay for the state’s transition to a clean energy economy. This dedicated funding stream, with an emphasis on social justice, is a prerequisite to meeting the state’s nation-leading goals set forth in the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a 40% reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, and an 85% reduction by 2050. 

The scorecard is available here.

Special Recognition:

Rising Stars: Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Brian Cunningham

Senator Zellnor Myrie has worked tirelessly to address New York’s most pressing environmental challenges, as indicated by his 100% score. Whether it’s advocating for clean energy or working to ensure environmental justice in underserved communities, he is proving to be a dynamic force for positive change. This track record combined with his passion and vision make Senator Myrie a rising star to watch.

Assemblymember Brian Cunningham’s passion for policy and his deep understanding of the environmental challenges facing the state have made an impression in Albany. His stance on NYLCV priorities earned him a perfect score this year while his ability to bridge partisan divides has earned him respect across the political spectrum. It is clear that Assemblymember Cunningham’s influence on policy is on the rise.

Environmental Champions: Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Michaelle Solages:

Since first taking office, Senator Hoylman-Sigal has been a strong and consistent advocate for policies that will preserve and protect natural resources and help stem the tide of climate change, and this year was no different. He scored 100% for the 2023 session while paving the way for the passage of critical legislation, including the Birds and Bees Protection Act. Senator Hoylman-Sigal is an undisputed environmental champion.

Assemblymember Solages’ commitment to sustainability and her strong advocacy for legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions, promoting clean energy, and preserving natural resources have made her one of Albany’s standout leaders in the fight against climate change. That’s why she achieved a perfect score this year and it’s why we are proud to call her an environmental champion.

Special Thanks: Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblymember Deborah Glick
As the chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, New York State Senator Pete Harkham earned a perfect 100% score, displaying an unflinching dedication to protecting our environment. Through his leadership, he championed legislation aimed at combating climate change, preserving natural resources, and promoting sustainable practices. Harkham’s devotion to fostering a greener future will make him an indispensable force in the state legislature for years to come.

As chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, Deborah Glick has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the environment. This year she helped advance vital initiatives for clean energy, wildlife preservation, and ecological protection. We salute Assemblymember Glick for her perfect score and for her dedication to a more sustainable future for the state and its residents.

Perfect Scores of 100:

John Liu
Iwen Chu
Zellnor Myrie
Andrew Gounardes
Brian Kavanagh
Liz Krueger
Jose M. Serrano
Cordell Cleare
Luis Sepúlveda
Nathalia Fernandez
Peter Harckham
Michelle Hinchey
James Skoufis
Brad Hoylman-Sigal
Rachel May
Lea Webb
James Sanders, Jr.
Joseph Addabbo
Jamaal Bailey
Timothy M. Kennedy
Jeremy Cooney
Shelley B. Mayer

Fred Thiele
Steve Stern
Charles Lavine
Gina Sillitti
Michaelle Solages
David Weprin
Steven Raga
Khaleel Anderson
Jeffrion Aubry
Juan Ardila
Jenifer Rajkumar
Catalina Cruz
Ron Kim
Brian A. Cunningham
Robert C. Carroll
William Colton
Emily Gallagher
Jo Anne Simon
Maritza Davila
Phara Souffrant Forrest
Grace Lee
Deborah Glick
Linda Rosenthal
Alfred Taylor
Manny De Los Santos
Alex Bores
Harvey Epstein
Tony Simone
Rebecca Seawright
Latoya Joyner
Chantel Jackson
Jeffery Dinowitz
Kenneth Burgos
Karines Reyes
Amy Paulin
Nader Sayegh
Maryjane Shimsky
Dana Levenberg
Christopher Eachus
Jonathan Jacobson
Patricia Fahy
Phil Steck
Al Stirpe
Pamela Hunter
Jennifer Lunsford
Demond Meeks
Harry Bronson

12.20.23 // AUTHOR: Devin Callahan //