This week, we released our green policy priorities as part of our 2020 State Policy Agenda. To achieve the ambitious goals established by 2019’s historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a major focus of our advocacy and programming efforts will be directed toward reducing emissions from the transportation sector—the State’s largest source of climate pollution—and more rapidly advancing renewable energy projects.
The full Agenda, which is available here as a PDF, will drive our advocacy and programmatic work as we push for budget appropriations and legislation. We create the Agenda each year by working closely with New York’s leading environmental, public health, conservation, energy, environmental justice, and transportation organizations to identify the state’s most pressing priorities on fighting climate change, conserving land and water, and protecting public health.
Our top priorities include:
Transportation: Reducing transportation emissions is one of the most important, and most difficult, parts of achieving the CLCPA’s goals. New York should join the Transportation and Climate Initiative and push for it to be as strong as possible. New York should also establish a low carbon fuel standard that makes the dirtiest fuel providers subsidize low and zero-emission alternatives. We must also implement a congestion pricing program that maximizes emission reductions and improves air quality.
Energy: To achieve 100% clean energy by 2040, the State must increase the speed at which utility-scale renewable energy is approved through the Article 10 process and build out more transmission to bring renewable energy from where it is most plentiful to where it is most needed. Energy efficiency in building codes and appliance standards should also be tightened to reduce how much energy we need in the first place.
Recycling: Waste is an often overlooked part of the climate crisis. The recycling system is facing numerous challenges that must be addressed to make New York’s waste management more sustainable. New York should explore 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 with funding; expanding the Bottle Bill; standardizing a statewide list of recyclable materials; and requiring the sale and purchase of products with recycled content.
Lead in School Drinking Water: In 2016, New York became the first state to require lead in drinking water testing and remediation in all public schools. It is time to revisit the law and update it based on what we have learned since then, including reducing the action level below 15 parts per billion, extending the testing requirement to private schools and daycare centers, and changing the testing guidelines to reflect newer best practices.