New York, N.Y. – The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) today released its 2022 NYC Council Environmental Scorecard, in which Council Members and the body as a whole are evaluated based on their support of environmental bills in the previous year and whether those bills passed. Unfortunately, we must report that the City Council failed to live up to our expectations, passing only four of the 15 environmental bills we prioritized last year.
While Council Members in the Bronx and Manhattan were able to increase their overall scores in 2022 from the previous year, average scores fell in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
The full 2022 scorecard is available here.
NYLCV President Julie Tighe said, “Climate change is an existential crisis that we cannot leave to future generations to solve. Each year we fail to put in place the policies we need to protect our environment is a missed opportunity, and the longer we wait, the greater the costs will be. While we applaud the New York City Council for passing legislation that addresses park equity, open space, transportation, and plastic waste, they unfortunately left several environmental measures on the table that are critical to fighting climate change. It is time for the Council to take their foot off the brake and start treating the climate crisis with the urgency it deserves. We look forward to working with Speaker Adams and the entire Council in 2023 to make sure enacting smart environmental policy is a top priority.
We congratulate the Council Members who sponsored bills in 2022 that became law. Council Members Carlina Rivera and Selvena Brooks-Powers sponsored the greenway master plan bill. Council Member Shekar Krishnan sponsored two park bills. And, lastly, Council Member Marjorie Velázquez sponsored the “Skip the Stuff” bill that will reduce the amount of single-use plastics provided by food service establishments.
- Citywide Greenway Plan: This new law requires the Department of Transportation and the Department of Parks and Recreation to create a master plan for New York City’s greenways and to regularly engage with communities regarding proposed changes, updates, or repair work to greenway sections;
- Reporting on Parks and Playgrounds Inspections: This new law requires the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to identify and report on any of its parks and playgrounds that have routinely failed DPR inspections and develop a plan on how such issues will be corrected;
- Micro Parks and Green Spaces on Vacant City-Owned Land: This new law requires an office or agency designated by the Mayor, in consultation with the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, and Department of Parks and Recreation, to review city-owned sites near dead ends, vacant land, highway entrances, and exit ramps that are suitable for the planting of trees or other vegetation, bioswales, micro parks, or other green spaces; and
- Skip the Stuff: This new law will prohibit food service establishments, couriers who deliver food, and food delivery platforms from providing eating utensils, extra eating containers, condiment packets and napkins to customers for take-out and delivery orders unless the customer requests them. This bill was introduced on June 16, 2022, and passed into law on January 19.
Passage of these laws were positive signs, however 11 Scorecard bills were left in limbo.
Here are some additional highlights from our 2022 Scorecard:
- The City Council passed 27 % of our scorecard bills, down from a 62 % pass rate in 2021;
- The citywide average for the Council was 86%;
- The Bronx Council Members continued to increase its average score, rising from 75% in 2020, to 79% in 2021 to 98% in 2022;
- Although Manhattan did not attain a 100% score like it did in 2020, its average rose from 90% in 2021 to 97% in 2022;
- Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island saw their average scores decrease from 88% to 86%, 85% to 81% and 62% to 42%, respectively, from 2021 to 2022;
- Of the 51 members of the NYC Council, 28 received a perfect score; and
- Eight members received what we consider to be a low score.
Scores for the six key committee chairs were all almost perfect:
- Environmental Protection: Jim Gennaro – 100
- Parks and Recreation: Shekar Krishnan – 100
- Sanitation and Solid Waste: Sandy Nurse – 100
- Transportation and Infrastructure: Selvena Brooks-Powers – 93
- Housing and Buildings: Pierina Ana Sanchez – 100
- Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection: Marjorie Velázquez – 100
NYLCV regularly convenes a “Green Group” coalition of New York City’s leading environmental, public health, transportation, parks and environmental justice organizations to discuss important issues and inform our legislative priorities. Using this input, NYLCV selected the legislation in this Scorecard.
Council Members earn points by casting pro-environment votes or by co-sponsoring pro-environment bills. Negative votes count against the final score. Votes missed due to excused absences are not factored into the score, while abstentions count as an anti-environmental vote. Bills on our 2022 agenda that passed were graded on whether or not each legislator took the pro-environment vote. Bills that did not reach a vote during 2022 were graded on co-sponsorship. Council Members were given a grace period until December 31, 2022, to co-sponsor bills.
As Speaker, Adrienne Adams is not scored. However, the citywide average, which the Speaker has substantial influence over, is a reflection of her commitment to the environment
About the Scorecard
Our New York City Council Environmental Scorecard is our primary tool for holding Council Members accountable for their work on the environment. In consultation with our partners from environmental, environmental justice, public health, and transportation groups, we identify priority bills that have passed and those we believe have a chance of becoming law for inclusion in our scorecard. We then score each Council Member based on their support of these bills.