It was a busy day for the city council as Intro 455-A, a local law to mandate electric school buses, and Intro 1620-A, a local law to create a citywide climate adaptation plan, were brought to a vote and passed! Both bills were voted for on Thursday, October 7, 2021, and work towards building a more climate-resilient New York City.
Earlier last week, The New York City Clean School Bus Coalition, sent a letter of support urging council members to vote yes on the bill. On Thursday, Intro 455-A passed with 44 votes for and 1 vote against. The original version of the bill required a 100% all-electric school bus fleet by September 1, 2040, but the version that just passed Thursday calls for a faster transition, requiring that all school buses be electric by 2035. The newer version also includes a stipulation that requires the Department of Education (DOE) to report on a variety of implementation targets, some regarding equitable distribution of buses, in accordance with three deadlines: July 1, 2023, 2028, and 2033.
The coalition, which has been advocating for the bill since its formation in 2020, calls the passage a huge victory for improving air quality and public health. The passing of Intro 455-A proves that the necessity of an all-electric school bus fleet is just as urgent now, as it was in 2018 when the bill was first proposed.
Intro 1620-A passed unanimously. This bill requires the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability to develop and post on its website a climate adaptation plan that considers and evaluates various climate hazards impacting the City and its shoreline, no later than September 30, 2022, and every ten years thereafter.
The plan will cover climate hazards such as extreme storms, sea level rise, tidal flooding, extreme heat, extreme precipitation, extreme wind, wildfire, and flooding surge events associated with a storm. These climate hazards will be both evaluated and courses of action will be recommended in order to build resiliency. This includes measures to protect residents, property, and city infrastructure, as well as identify areas that are highly vulnerable to such climate hazards to determine where resiliency and adaptation measures should first be implemented. This bill is especially important in environmental justice areas that are at the frontlines of the climate crisis in New York City.
NYLCV has been champions of this bill as every year storms and heat worsen putting New Yorkers at risk. This bill responds to the need for a comprehensive, constantly evolving, and holistic approach to climate change that will keep residents safe. Needless to say, both Intro-455A and 1620-A reflect steps in the right direction that enact bold responses to the climate crisis.
Submitted by Abby Terrigino