Climate Bill Sails Through

By a vote of 103 to 41, the New York State Assembly passed the Climate and Community Protection Act on Monday. If passed by the State Senate, it would set New York on a path to 100-percent renewable energy by 2050, invest in frontline communities that will bear the burden of climate change, and build a green economy.

The bill is with the State Senate’s rules committee. An official in Senator Kenneth P. LaValle’s district office said yesterday that it was unclear as to when, or if, it would be approved for a vote of the full Senate.

The act would establish the New York State Climate Action Council, consisting of 23 state agencies or individuals with expertise in environmental issues, environmental justice, labor, and regulated industries. It also requires the State Department of Environmental Conservation to establish greenhouse gas-reporting requirements, statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits, and regulations to achieve emissions reductions.

The act would require that 50 percent of the electrical capacity served by electricity distribution companies regulated by the Long Island Power Authority, the Public Service Commission, and the Power Authority of the State of New York be produced by renewable energy systems by 2030. It would establish incremental capacity levels of 27 percent by this year, 30 percent by 2020, 40 percent by 2025, and 50 percent by 2030.

It would also authorize money from the state’s environmental protection fund to be used to establish and implement easily replicated renewable energy projects, including solar arrays, heat pumps, and wind turbines, in public low-income housing in suburban, urban, and rural areas.