Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

On July 22, 2019: Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law. This is America’s strongest climate legislation.

Why this is a big deal

It is a win for the state’s economy, which will see innovation and investment. It’s a win for environmental justice, shifting state funding to those most vulnerable. And it’s a win for the climate. We need strong legislation for the fossil fuel industry to get on board.

100 %, economy-wide net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

This includes an interim target of 40 % of reductions from 1990 emissions by 2030.). “Net zero” means that only 85 percent of the reductions must come from New York’s own energy and industrial emissions. 85% carbon-free in an industrialized economy like New York’s a new benchmark.

Power plants (located in poorer communities} often don’t have the technology for full elimination of carbon. For those facilities, there will be a review every four years to ensure that they are using the best available technology (BAT) for reducing emissions.

Economic benefits must stay within local communities. Projects must benefit the local environment and, where possible, reduce co-pollutants. Biofuels and waste-to-energy projects are prohibited.

Climate Action Council

A 22-member Climate Action Council will be composed of the heads of various New York state agencies, along with members appointed by the governor, the Senate, and the Assembly.

The council will convene panels on transportation, land use and local government, industry, etc. It will have working groups on workforce training, job impacts, and related matters. It will consult with the representatives from poorer communities, environmental justice groups, and industry.

Every four years, the council will issue a comprehensive report on state greenhouse gas emissions and progress, and adjust its plan as needed.

100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040

The CLCPA targets 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 administered by the Public Service Commission. The bill targets 9,000 MW of offshore wind energy by 2035, 6,000 MW of solar energy by 2025, and a 23 percent increase in energy efficiency.

A third of the benefits go to disadvantaged communities

Probably 40 % of the investments and no less than 35 % will go to poorer communities. It’s not yet clear how “disadvantaged communities” will be defined for the purposes of the bill.

This is a huge commitment. Potentially many billions of dollars will go to agencies and programs to help more vulnerable communities..

The bill failed on quality jobs

We wanted the state to create high-quality jobs, including measures on prevailing wages, apprenticeship programs, preferences for women- and minority-owned businesses, and more but it was cut. The bill says, “The Act shall be subject to current prevailing wage law.” Agriculture is exempt up to 15% of total state-wide exemptions.”

Next Steps

  • Get good people on the advisory council and working groups.
  • Fight for funding for the act in the 2020 budget.
  • Fight for amendments that benefit everyone.
  • Show up at hearings and speak out.

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