Governor Hochul, Legislators Advance Important Climate Action in New York Budget
EDF Statement from Alex DeGolia, Director for U.S. Climate
(NEW YORK – May 2, 2023) Today, Governor Hochul and the legislature finalized a budget that makes important progress on a suite of climate policies to help the state meet its climate goals, tackle pollution, protect disadvantaged communities and reduce costs. The budget advances labor and investment provisions for a cap-and-invest program, ensuring that revenues raised would be directed to programs that lower costs and climate pollution, but leaves many of the key details to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). These details include setting an overall limit—or cap—on the state’s emissions that lowers over time, and establishing the guardrails necessary to protect and benefit disadvantaged and low-income communities.
“Gov Hochul and state leaders have moved New York one more step toward adopting an ambitious and equitable climate program,” said Alex DeGolia, Director for U.S. Climate at EDF. “Now, we need regulators to swiftly adopt strong cap-and-invest rules capable of achieving the state’s climate goals, while building in robust guardrails to ensure affordability and protect disadvantaged communities.”
In addition to cap-and-invest, the state budget advances zero-emission homes and buildings, starting in 2026 for small buildings and 2029 for large buildings. It also invests $400 million in utility bill relief, as well as weatherization and electrification programs, to help alleviate the energy burden facing low-income New Yorkers. The budget did not include NY HEAT, an important proposal that would have stopped the extension of costly natural gas infrastructure, reduced emissions, and put money back in the pockets of low- and middle-income households.
“While the Governor and legislature have taken steps to provide New Yorkers with a safer and more affordable future for their families and communities, the threats from pollution and climate impacts continue to put disadvantaged and low-income communities at greater risk. Additional action is necessary to establish stronger guardrails that ensure pollution cuts are prioritized in disadvantaged communities, direct cap-and-invest funding toward driving down costs and pollution, and halt expansion of natural gas infrastructure,” added DeGolia.
“Gov Hochul and state leaders have positioned the state for progress on climate action, but it is just the start of the urgent work that’s needed to achieve the state’s climate goals and secure the strongest possible future for New York communities. It is enormously important that state leaders follow these actions with next steps to make the clean energy transition affordable, equitable and just for working families across New York.”
# # #
One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund