Our Green Policy Priorities for 2021

Major Focus Includes Reducing Emissions from the Transportation and Energy Sectors

We’re excited to release our green policy priorities – our 2021 New York State Policy Agenda.

Even while responding to the most consequential public health crisis in a generation, New York State made the environment a priority in 2020. But the climate crisis will still be here when the pandemic is behind us and we must keep making meaningful progress to reduce pollution. 

Our 2021 State Policy Agenda will continue to make protecting the environment, fighting climate change and promoting clean energy a priority. We look forward to working with policymakers and stakeholders to implement these programs.

Ensure Adequate Funding for the Environment: Environmental programs are more important than ever, especially because investments in green projects create jobs. Existing funding for environmental agencies, especially for staff, must be preserved in order to protect the environment and public health, and to combat climate change. New York should protect the $300 million Environmental Protection Fund to address significant environmental, land protection, infrastructure, and conservation needs throughout the state without sweeps, raids, staff offloads, or one-shot funds. New York can also redirect spending from tax benefits and expenditures that benefit fossil fuels to programs that will accelerate the transition to carbon neutrality by 2050. Finally, congestion pricing in New York City should move forward with minimal carve-outs as soon as it is approved by the federal government, and the State must ensure that the MTA is fully funded. 

Energy: It is important for New York to continue to implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in a timely manner to achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050 and 100% clean energy by 2040. The CLCPA should be amended to include energy from anaerobic digesters in the definition of renewable energy. New York should also continue the Office of Renewable Energy Siting’s implementation of new regulations for siting large-scale renewable energy pursuant to the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. 

Resiliency and Sustainability: New York must continue to fight for resiliency and sustainability by supporting and promoting projects such as green infrastructure, wetlands protection, and coastal restoration that mitigate the impact of climate change. In doing so, New York should continue to implement the Community Risk and Resiliency Act as amended by the CLCPA. 

Transportation: New York should establish a Clean Fuel Standard to make polluters pay for the transition to low- and zero-emission vehicles. New York should also join the Transportation and Climate Initiative to reduce carbon and other emissions from the transportation sector across participating states, with a clear plan to invest at least 40% of proceeds in environmental justice communities. In order to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, New York should also adopt California’s new vehicle standards under the Clean Air Act  and eliminate the cap on manufacturer-owned zero emission vehicle (ZEV) dealerships. 

Waste Management: To address challenges in the recycling market, New York should: 

  1. Pass more extended producer responsibility laws, especially for packaging, carpet, and mattresses.
  2. Support local recycling efforts, including funding for recycling coordinators.
  3. Cover additional types of glass containers in an expanded Bottle Bill.
  4. Standard a statewide list of recyclable materials.
  5. Fund a coordinated and comprehensive public education campaign.
  6. Stimulate markets for recycled materials by encouraging or requiring the sale and purchase of products with recycled content that is non-toxic.
  7. Establish procurement specifications that specifically address glass and other recyclable materials for use by state agencies and municipalities.

Green Jobs and Education: Green jobs are an essential part of a just transition away from fossil fuels, which is why New York should work with schools and trade unions to develop curricula and training programs to train New Yorkers for the many green jobs that the CLCPA will create.

Public Health: The Safe School Drinking Water Act should be updated with newer standards that ensure that public schools with lead-containing fixtures find them and remediate them in a timely manner. Limiting the public’s exposure to hazardous or toxic waste by enacting legislation to require disclosure of toxic chemicals in consumer products, especially products meant for children will also lead to improvements in public health. 

Natural Resources: New York’s spectacular natural resources provide awe-inspiring views and recreational opportunities, keep us healthy, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and make us more resilient to extreme weather events. Our parks, forests, rivers, lakes, and oceans should be protected so future generations can enjoy them.

Agriculture: New York’s farms are precious resources that must be preserved, grown, and operated sustainably in order to continue to provide the region with nutritious local food while capturing and sequestering atmospheric carbon.