The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) commends Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature for passing a FY24 State Budget that takes action on climate change, including a commitment to zero-emission buildings, renewable energy and, critically, a mechanism to pay for the state’s transition to a clean energy economy.
We are encouraged by the Cap-and-Invest measure included in the budget, including the focus on affordability and labor standards. A dedicated funding stream is a prerequisite to meeting the nation-leading goals set out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Without it, the state won’t be able to afford the projects that will deliver on renewable energy, clean transportation, and more. Cap and Invest will help put our clean energy transition on solid financial footing, and we look forward to engaging with the DEC and NYSERDA as they develop this program.
Other measures in the budget that NYLCV supports include:
- The All-Electric Buildings Act, which is a significant step towards decarbonizing our buildings sector.
- $30 million to replace two fossil-fueled chiller plants at the University at Albany with a thermal energy system and a requirement for NYPA to issue decarbonization action plans for 15 of the highest-emitting State facilities is a great start to decarbonizing our public buildings. We urge state leaders to move forward with these action plans as soon as possible.
- NYPA must publish a plan within two years for shutting down all of its natural gas peaker plants by the end of 2030. We also support the inclusion of utility bill relief and funding for just transition and workforce training programs, which will help protect low- and middle-income ratepayers and workers as we accelerate our transition off of fossil fuels.
- $500 million for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act.
- $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). That the EPF will not be raided to pay for agency staff helps solidify a precedent that is critical for the long-term viability of the fund.
- Increased funding for MTA operating aid, which will go a long way toward addressing their fiscal cliff and enable more frequent service.
- The Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act, which will help the local government address the acute water quality issue in the county.
Despite these wins, there were also missed opportunities, especially when it comes to the Waste Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act, a Clean Fuel Standard, the NY HEAT Act, more action on cleaning up forever chemicals such as PFAS–and a housing compact that codifies transit-oriented development. NYLCV will continue to advocate for these measures in the post-budget legislative session and we look forward to continuing to work with the governor, state legislature, and state agencies to achieve these goals.