The New York Legislature wrapped up its 2022 legislative session on the weekend of June 3rd, leaving Albany for the year after passing several important bills that were part of the NYLCV’s 2022 State Policy Agenda.
Legislation to establish a 30×30 goal, which aims to protect 30% of New York’s land and inland waterways by 2030, is a massive step in the right direction for land and wildlife conservation, as well as ever-important equitable access to nature, state and nationwide.
The Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act, S. 9422/A. 10493, will create green jobs building geothermal systems to decarbonize heating for building clusters in every utility service area in the state. This means using renewable energy for heating buildings to reduce our carbon emissions. The legislature also passed stricter building and appliance energy efficiency codes and standards to reduce emissions and save New Yorkers money on energy bills. These bills are a hopeful step forward on building decarbonization, with the next step to pass the All-Electric Buildings Act which would phase out fossil fuels in new construction by 2027. Although the All-Electric Buildings Act did not pass this year, NYLCV will continue to advocate for bills like this to achieve the goals set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and create more green jobs.
The legislature also passed a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining, giving the Department of Environmental Conservation time to study the issue and make recommendations for how cryptocurrency mining can take place in New York without undermining our progress in achieving the CLCPA.
To further the protection of New York City’s streets and its pedestrians, the legislature signed off on a 3-year extension and expansion of the City’s speed camera program. This will now allow speed cameras to operate 24/7 to reduce speeding and traffic accidents.
Unfortunately, while the progress made is encouraging, there were other pressing environmental bills that failed to advance. Some include the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) and the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act. The CFS would reduce the carbon intensity of the transportation sector by 20% by 2030 and create a market for clean fuels to decrease carbon emissions. The EPR Act aims to make paper and packaging products more recyclable and shifts responsibility from taxpayers to producers for the disposal process of their products.
While we’re disappointed that some environmental bills failed to pass, we’re proud of the progress made and look forward to continuing to work with others to generate additional support for these bills to be passed in the next legislative session in January.
By Athena Murray and Maya Granderson