NYLCV Announces 2024 New York City Policy Agenda

Calls on the city to reverse budget cuts to the Parks Department and for community composting. The League’s 2024 priorities will help the city attain its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

New York, NY – The New York League of Conservation Voters and NYLCV Education Fund (NYLCV/EF) released their 2024 New York City Policy Agenda today.

With the City Council’s preliminary budget hearings upon us, a top NYLCV/EF priority in 2024 is for the city to promptly reverse their budget cuts for the Parks Department – ultimately investing one percent of the budget in parks and green spaces – and for community composting, while getting the rollout of the citywide curbside composting program back on track. 

“To achieve our ambitious climate goals, New York City needs to get stuff done when it comes to fighting climate change and protecting our environment. Our policy agenda calls for actions that will improve public health and reduce harms, especially in disadvantaged communities,” said NYLCV/EF President Julie Tighe. “When it comes to investing in green jobs, parks and open spaces, resilient infrastructure, decarbonizing the transportation sector, and reducing overall emissions, NYLCV will fight to ensure that environmental justice is integrated into every aspect of climate policy.”

The League will also prioritize the implementation of the city’s electric school bus mandate as well as the NYC Streets Plan that will build out key bike and bus lane infrastructure. It is also imperative that the City Council pass legislation to encourage the development of rooftop solar and battery storage made possible by last year’s passage of the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality. This year, NYLCV is advocating strongly for the DCP’s City of Yes for Housing Opportunity so we can finally do away with outdated and counterproductive parking mandates and usher in a new era of Transit-Oriented Development.

NYLCV/EF stresses that environmental justice and equity must be centered in all of these areas. And the League’s priorities for the city are broad and comprehensive because they have to be. New Yorkers are feeling the impact of climate change every day and there is a tremendous amount of work to do if we are going to prepare for the ever-increasing impacts of a warming planet while avoiding the worst outcomes for future generations. 

The full agenda is available here.

Here are our top priorities:

Parks and green spaces comprise 14% of NYC’s land, yet they receive less than 1% of the city’s budget and are consistently understaffed. Additionally, NYC’s parks, tree canopy, and waterfront access are not equitably distributed. To rectify these issues, the city must allocate 1% of its budget to parks, create an Urban Forest Plan that equitably expands NYC’s tree canopy from its current 22% coverage to 30% by 2035, and must prioritize investments in green infrastructure and waterfront resiliency, especially in the outer boroughs.

Last year, the City Council passed the Zero Waste Act, committing the city to a zero waste by 2030 goal, which introduces mandatory, residential organics programs, community recycling facilities, and more. As we approach 2030, we must support these measures by adequately funding outreach, education, and enforcement. The city must also invest in recycling and waste diversion, prioritizing reduction, reuse, and permanent, citywide waste containerization programs.

NYC’s transportation sector is second only to buildings in emissions production. It’s also a major source of air pollution, particularly affecting the health of low-income communities and communities of color close to the city’s many highways. NYC must electrify its fleets quickly, including its school buses by 2035. The city must also implement its NYC Streets Plan by rolling out more protected bus and bike lanes to improve safety, and by reimagining street design in accordance with Vision Zero and 25×25. Finally, the city must improve public transit and expand micro-mobility programs in transit deserts in order to get New Yorkers out of single-occupancy vehicles.

In the face of a warming climate, environmental legislation must receive robust funding and quick implementation. NYC has passed numerous environmental and climate laws in the past few years, including Local Law 97, the all-electric school bus law, the NYC Streets Plan, and the Zero Waste Act. The Adams Administration has also laid out its PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done agenda. The city must follow through on these initiatives by providing sufficient resources for implementation, outreach, and agency staffing.

As decades of environmental racism and historic disinvestment have positioned low-income communities and communities of color at the frontlines of climate change, the city must accordingly prioritize these communities as it invests in green jobs, parks, resilient infrastructure, transportation, and emissions reductions. NYLCV will continue to integrate environmental justice and equity into our climate policy priorities and environmental advocacy work.