We are excited to release our 2021-2022 Westchester Policy Agenda.
We will focus our advocacy and programming on combating climate change and protecting people and natural resources. We will push for and educate the public about initiatives related to clean energy, clean transportation, resiliency, solid waste, clean air, land, and water, sustainable development, parks and open space, and farms and local food.
2020 brought heightened awareness of the need to take action to help avert the worst effects of climate change and reduce pollution, especially in disadvantaged communities. The State laid out aggressive climate standards and local governments are key to achieving these standards.
We also need more local policies that improve water infrastructure and keep our drinking water free of contaminants. This agenda can help guide localities in Westchester about how to implement these important policies and initiatives. We look forward to working with county and town officials to champion these priorities.
Though we will support dozens of specific policies, the issues below were identified as top priorities:
Sustainable Development: Municipalities can combat climate change by creating livable, sustainable communities. We will work to advance modernized zoning to encourage mixed land use, compact development, downtown revitalization, open space protection, historic preservation, and energy efficient building codes.
Renewable energy: Renewable energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution across the region, but it is challenging to site large-scale renewable energy installations and can be needlessly difficult to install small-scale renewable technology. These challenges must be addressed before Indian Point shuts down in 2021, or else we risk replacing its power with fossil fuels. We will work with municipal and county governments to establish guidelines for siting utility-scale renewable energy in order to reduce red tape and create new incentives for small-scale renewable energy.
Clean Air: With the recent passage of legislation to phase out No. 4 and No. 6 home heating oil, we will work to speed up conversions and retrofits to cleaner, more efficient heating systems. We will continue working to reduce emissions from power plants and automobiles, including a push for targeted interventions to protect environmental justice communities.
Electric Vehicles: EVs reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce zero emissions, improving air quality. We will continue our successful advocacy efforts to increase the number of EVs in municipal fleets, transit systems and school bus fleets, expand the EV charging station network throughout Westchester, and ensure that environmental justice communities have access to and benefit from EVs.
The agenda was created with input from the our Westchester Chapter, which works to identify and advocate for solutions to the region’s most pressing environmental issues.