The New York League of Conservation Voters applauds Governor Kathy Hochul on her 2023 Executive Budget proposal, which, if enacted, represents a significant step forward in our state’s fight against climate change. She made clear that addressing climate change is a priority, both in her words and in her budget actions.
Several states have successfully adopted Cap and Invest programs, such as the Governor has proposed. Such programs use market forces to cap greenhouse gas emissions, generate funds from climate polluters which would be invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and create green jobs. NYLCV supports adopting an equitable cap and invest program, if implemented in the right way, to comprehensively reduce our state’s carbon footprint, invest in disadvantaged communities, reduce pollution, and help ensure a cleaner and healthier future for all New Yorkers and we commend the Governor for advancing this concept and look forward to more details.
The governor is also making big investments in public transit including the MTA, which will help reduce the number of cars on the road, lessening carbon pollution and improving air quality and public health in the process.
The Waste Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act–an NYLCV priority this year–will go a long way toward addressing the shortcomings in the state’s recycling programs and support local governments.
The proposal of a zero emissions buildings measure is a must-do in 2023. By requiring new construction to be zero emissions–specifically for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, installation and design techniques– we can ensure that our buildings sector is one built on clean energy going forward.
How and where we grow our housing stock not only impacts the economy, but it has a huge and lasting impact on the environment and equity, and we applaud Governor Hochul for seeking to address these concerns by proposing 800,000 new homes and prioritizing this development in walkable, transit-rich areas. The Governor and Legislature must ensure that these new homes are zero emissions.
We also applaud the governor’s commitment to making the clean energy transition affordable for homeowners, by providing $200 million for energy affordability and another $200 million for home retrofits and electrification. These initiatives will help reduce energy costs for families and small businesses, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The $500 million the governor proposed for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act plus an additional $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund demonstrate a commitment to protecting New York’s natural resources, including our lakes, rivers, and streams.
As important as it is to enact smart environmental policies, it is equally important to ensure there is the staff at key agencies to execute those policies on the ground. We strongly support the governor’s call for increasing staff to implement the Environmental Bond Act and the CLCPA. However, we are very disappointed to see the inclusion of a raid on the Environmental Protection Fund to cover staff costs. This is an ill-considered idea that has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Legislature on many previous occasions.
Additionally, the $60 million to clean up “forever chemicals” will allow us to tackle the issue of PFAS contamination in our state and provide safe drinking water for all New Yorkers.
The Governor’s 2023 budget proposal is a forward-thinking approach to addressing the pressing environmental challenges we face. We look forward to working with the governor and state legislature in the coming year to see these priorities to fruition.