New York Governor Hochul Announces Sweeping Climate and Electrification Initiatives

Statement from Mary Barber, Director, State Affairs at Environmental Defense Fund

January 10, 2023
Joe Liesman, (415) 293-6088,

In this year’s State of the State Address, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced her support for an economy-wide cap-and-invest program, vehicle electrification directives and an affirmation of support for New York City’s congestion pricing program — measures that are critical for reducing emissions across the state and achieving the state’s emission reduction goals as established by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, CLCPA.

“With this address, Governor Hochul has confirmed that meeting the goals of the CLCPA remains a high priority. Governor Hochul’s strong policy proposals put New York on the right path to achieve the state’s ambitious climate and energy goals all while centering benefits and protections for disadvantaged communities. A cap-and-invest program with strong environmental justice protections can slash climate-warming pollution across the state’s economy while raising beneficial investments for communities, and sustainable transportation initiatives that focus on medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will further reduce emissions and curb harmful air pollution in overburdened communities. Now is the time to go full speed ahead on moving to a sustainable and healthy future.”

The Governor’s cap-and-invest program, which was recommended in the New York Climate Action Council’s final Scoping Plan in December, would drive down climate pollution across the state’s economy, while enabling investments that benefit New York communities. To do so, the cap puts an enforceable and declining limit on major sources of greenhouse gas emissions across the state’s economy, which provides the greatest possible certainty that New York meets its climate goals. At the same time, the program has the potential to raise billions of dollars through requiring polluters to purchase allowances - money that will be put back into communities – with a goal of 40% of those investments benefitting disadvantaged communities. 

Any cap-and-invest program must include strong guardrails that both benefit and protect historically disadvantaged and overburdened communities. Doing so will require listening to environmental justice communities’ ideas and concerns and ensuring they are incorporated into the final program.

Governor Hochul also took steps towards electrifying vehicles throughout the state, directing the Department of Public Service (DPS) to launch a proceeding that will identify and remove the barriers to the efficient and timely deployment of charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles. Transportation is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in New York. And though medium- and heavy-duty vehicles only account for about four percent of total vehicles on the road they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of GHGs emissions and local air pollution that is particularly harmful to human health. This measure will push the state towards its ambitious goals as outlined in the Advanced Clean Trucks rule and multistate memorandum calling for 30% of truck and bus sales to be zero emission vehicles by 2030 and for 100% of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission by 2045.

In support of New York City’s congestion pricing program, Governor Hochul affirmed that the State will continue its progress towards the program’s implementation, which will provide reliable and necessary funds for the MTA to improve and modernize the City’s public transit system. 

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