New York Governor Hochul and the Legislature finalized the SFY2022-23 budget. The final budget includes some positive new policies and funding for the environment, such as a landmark Environmental Bond Act and the Nation’s strongest policy to mandate electric school buses by 2035, but missed a key opportunity to mandate all-electric new building construction and to electrify public transit buses.
The following statement can be attributed to Liz Moran, New York policy advocate for Earthjustice:
“New York’s final budget does not reflect the urgency of the climate crisis. On the heels of the IPCC’s most recent dire report, New York’s final budget needed to include bold funding and policies to expedite the transition away from fossil fuels – unfortunately, the outcome left some critical opportunities on the table. Earthjustice applauds the inclusion of the environmental bond act and a nation-leading mandate for an all-electric school bus fleet by 2035, which will protect the health of New York’s schoolchildren and environmental justice communities from toxic diesel air emissions. But the Governor and the Legislature failed to address New York’s largest sector of greenhouse gas emissions by scrapping a proposal to ban fossil fuels in new building construction.
“At this stage, half-measures to address the climate crisis are unacceptable — the health and livelihoods of New Yorkers are on the line. The Legislature must ensure the state’s climate mandates are met by passing legislation to mandate all-electric new construction starting in 2024, electrify transit fleets, and improve energy efficiency in buildings and appliances before legislative session ends.”
Earthjustice applauds the inclusion of the following items in the budget:
- A mandate for all-electric school buses by 2035
- Increased protections for wetlands
- $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act, including $500 million towards zero-emissions school buses and $400 million towards green buildings projects
- $400 million Environmental Protection Fund
- $500 million Clean Water Infrastructure Act
- A geothermal tax credit
Earthjustice is profoundly disappointed about the following:
- No ban on fossil fuels in new construction starting in 2024
- No changes to energy code to improve energy efficiency in buildings and appliances
- No changes to the Public Service Law which loosens the 100-foot rule for gas
- No mandate to electrify the state vehicle fleet
- No mandate to electrify transit buses
- Inadequate funding to address the lead poisoning crisis in New York
Additionally, during a year with a windfall in revenue, the budget does not include adequate guaranteed funding to meaningfully fight climate change and protect environmental justice communities.