This week Tesla Motors joined four leading New York environmental groups urging legislators to support a bill which would increase access to zero-emission vehicles across New York state.
Representatives from the National Resources Defense Council, Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, Alliance For Clean Energy New York, and New York League of Conservation Voters announced their support for the proposed legislation.
The bills (S.6600/A.8248) would authorize 20 certificates of registration to companies that manufacture or assemble zero emissions vehicles in New York and reserve five of them for specific upstate regions.
Assemblyman David Buchwald, D-Mount Kisco, was instrumental in a 2014 legislative battle to allow Tesla to keep operating in New York, now he is standing with the tech giant in an effort to expand the operations of zero-emissions vehicle manufacturers.
“We are here today to say that New York should be completely open for business,” said Buchwald. “We give consumers choice to chose the cars that they think are best for them and also that could be best for our planet and our environment.”
Currently, New York state motor vehicle law allows for 5 certificates of registration but the facilities they license, all currently Tesla showrooms, are concentrated downstate.
“We all know that we need to do something to address greenhouse gas emissions,” said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, chair of the Assembly Energy Committee. “It’s absurd for us not to expand this universe when there is such an important larger goal at stake.”
The bills were introduced by Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, and Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, at the beginning of June.
Increasing the amount of zero-emissions cars in the state would reduce New York’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.
“The best thing we can do to modernize our transportation system is to use more electric cars,” said Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance For Clean Energy New York. “Allowing more EVs to be sold in New York to displace fossil fuel-based vehicles, and adding more clean energy to the electric system that powers these cars, is a critical step to battling climate change.”
Supporters say that this bill sets New York up to once again lead the nation in environmental policy and is an important step to reaching state environmental goals.
“If we are to meet our ambitious goals for getting 700,000 zero emissions vehicles on the road in New York by 2025 and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, the state must lift the cap on direct sales of electric vehicles,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “This bill would allow New Yorkers upstate to have more options when shopping for an electric vehicle and we strongly urge the legislature to act before session ends next week.”
The bill has picked up bipartisan support at a time when both parties are desperately trying to pass their agendas by the end of next week.
Supporters of the bill are also saying that the increased options will be good for consumers.
“From Buffalo to Long Island, New Yorkers in every region of the state should have the option of buying a zero emission electric vehicle,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Reducing emissions in the transportation sector is essential in our fight against climate change, and this legislation will allow more New Yorkers to be part of the climate solution. This legislation can literally drive down climate change omissions and help clean our air.”
The bill has been referred to the senate rules committee and assembly transportation committee.
Additional reporting by Thomas Giery Pudney