Assembly passes ambitious climate bill, calls on Senate to do the same

Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy

The Assembly passed a climate bill this week that supporters are touting as “the most ambitious in the nation” and supporters are now calling for the state Senate to do the same before the end of the session.

The Climate Community And Protection Act (S.6617-a/A.8270-a) would require the state to actually enforce its climate commitments, set new labor standards and worker protections for those in the renewable energy industries, and completely end economic dependence on fossil fuels by 2050.

The bill would also allocate 40 percent of the state’s clean energy fund to projects in disadvantaged communities; authorize funds for new renewable energy projects; establish a New York State Climate Action Council; and require the DEC to set new regulations.

The New York State Climate Action Council would consist of 25 members including state agencies and individuals with expertise in labor and environmental issues.

The bill would require that the state get 50 percent of its electricity from clean renewable energy by 2030.

The bill passed the Assembly 103-41 and was sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright, D-Setauket, who serves as the chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee.

“New Yorkers depend on us to act in order to help prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Englebright. “As the federal government threatens to jeopardize the progress we have made, New York must do everything within our power to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help slow the rate of climate change to ensure the best possible outcome for our state’s public health, environment and economic well-being.”

The bill is backed by NY Renews, a broad coalition of more than 110 labor, community, and environmental agencies, who consider this legislation one of their main priorities.

“New Yorkers can be proud of the work their Assemblymembers did yesterday in passing the nation’s most ambitious climate and equity legislation by an overwhelming 103 – 41 vote,” said NY Renews in an official statement, “Special thanks to Environmental Conservation Chair Steven Englebright, Speaker Carl Heastie, and members of the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators.”

Supporters of the bill have now turned their attention to the Senate in hopes they send it to a floor vote before the end of the session Wednesday.

“With an issue like climate change, New Yorkers cannot afford another year of Senate inaction- further delay would be unconscionable. The IDC should not leave Albany without delivering,” read the statement from NY Renews.

The bill was introduced into the senate by Sen. Tony Avella, D-Queens, and jointly sponsored by all eight members of the IDC.

“We call on sponsors, led by Senator Avella and Senator Klein, to do anything and everything in their power to convince their partner, Senator Flanagan, to allow this bill to the floor for a fair and honest vote this week,” said Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York. “That’s the kind of climate leadership that New Yorkers, and indeed the nation, needs.”

The bill is currently being reviewed by the Senate Rules Committee.