Elected Officials to Protect America - New York congratulates Gov. Hochul and legislature for the climate crisis measures that help environmental justice communities in the 2024 budget

May 3, 2023

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and legislature finalized the Fiscal Year 2024 New York State Budget that contains numerous climate crisis measures. The following is our Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) New York statement on the climate provisions in the budget:

A first-in-the-nation ban on gas hookups in new buildings will be implemented under New York’s all-electric building law. Buildings account for 32 percent of the state’s climate-heating greenhouse gas emissions. With the implantation of the budget no propane heating and no gas furnaces or stoves will be legal in most new construction. This will diminish dangerous gasses, create clean energy jobs, promote public safety, and reduce the deadly indoor air pollution that takes nearly 2,000 lives prematurely every year, and is responsible for close to 20 percent of childhood asthma cases in the state. Natural gas raises levels of nitrogen dioxide, which can cause respiratory issues. Environmental justice communities suffer disproportionately from breathing the highest levels of dirty air pollution. Additionally, the budget contains exemptions for commercial kitchens, emergency generators and hospitals in this provision. The policy will take effect in 2026 for buildings under seven stories high and in 2029 for taller ones.

Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) New York applauds implantation of the all-electric building law, but we would like to see the timeline for implementation accelerated to at least match New York City’s ban on fossil fuels in new building that will take effect in 2024 for buildings under seven stories. A delayed start date at the beginning of 2026 for the state threatens to lock in higher energy bills and additional pollution from the 40,000 new buildings that are constructed yearly. Research from Stanford University found that gas stoves alone produce planet-warming pollution equal to about a half-million gas-powered cars each week. Annually, New York adds approximately 250,000 metric tons of climate-heating pollution from the tens of thousands of new homes and buildings dependent on gas boilers and furnaces. Environmental justice communities deserve a faster timeline. Everyone has the right to breathe clean air.

The budget also includes major elements of the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA), which will ramp-up production of renewable energy by the New York Power Authority (NYPA), create a new era of clean energy jobs, slash energy prices, and shut down fracked gas power plants.

The BPRA passed the New York State Senate twice but has stalled in the Assembly. EOPA New York is thankful that the governor and legislature realized that in order to bring a measure of climate justice to New York major components in the BPRA had to become law in the budget. New York needs to unleash the power of public funding with more ease, like those in the Inflation Reduction Act, to build more renewable energy projects directly. The provisions of BPRA in the budget will help improve the siting and construction of large-scale renewable energy projects in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner. It also requires certain NYPA projects and programs pay a prevailing wage and utilize project labor agreements. Importantly, it requires the authority to retire its fracked gas power plants. 

The ability to support New York’s climate goals in Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA, the state’s historic decarbonization and climate justice law, with the NYPA has been improved because of the budget. The CLCPA has kicked off a vast planning effort, and energized successful local wins against fossil fuel power plants. But until now the NYPA has been limited in how it can ensure the success of the CLCPA.

Additionally, in the budget, specificity and labor standards will be formalized for the proceeds of any cap and invest program that The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will adopt pursuant to the CLCPA. Done right, a cap and invest system could be a key tool in securing climate justice in New York with money for frontline communities.

The transportation sector is responsible for more than 40 percent of New York’s greenhouse gas pollution that harms our health and fuels the climate emergency. Pollution from cars and trucks causes asthma, premature deaths, heart and lung disease. EOPA New York is grateful that the budget includes funds to support mass transit and forward movement to make it more equitable for all.

This budget unleashes more of CLCPA’s potential Until now the CLCPA’s requirements that public funds will be spent equitably has remained elusive, and soaring energy costs have left tens of thousands of New Yorkers unable to afford their bills. 

EOPA New York thanks the governor and the legislature for the budget’s climate crisis measures which will help the state achieve its CLCPA mandate to slash emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050, while creating union jobs, bringing a measure of environmental justice, cleaning our air and lowering energy costs.

The total budget for FY 2024 is currently estimated at $229 billion.

Elected Officials to Protect America is a network of current and former elected officials who care deeply about protecting the planet and people. EOPA is committed to solving the climate crisis, ensuring environmental justice, and protecting our lands and waters. EOPA educates through value-based storytelling, training lawmakers, and connecting elected officials to inspire strong environmental leadership. 

EOPA New York is a statewide, non-partisan network of New York elected officials committed to protecting our communities, public health, and climate for all we represent.