Climate

We enacted the first Green New Deal legislation to pass in the country. Next, we’ll fight for energy democracy and climate resiliency as we hold utilities and polluters accountable.

Utility Justice

Investor-owned energy utilities like Central Hudson are corporate monopolies that the state depends on to be partners in our energy transition. But given that such utilities are driven by profits rather than well-being, we must hold them accountable and protect ratepayers while we continue to fight for a publicly-owned energy system.

  • When Central Hudson requested record high rate increases during a multi-year billing scandal, our office was the only state legislator to join the rate case, which gave us additional tools to do everything in our power to reject the rate hikes.Introduced the Consumer Utility Protections During Investigations (CUPDI) Act (A7537) to prohibit shutoffs and late fees when utilities like Central Hudson are under PSC investigations.
  • Introduced the Disadvantaged Communities Commitment Act (A9174) to require utilities like Central Hudson to collect and publish data on disadvantaged communities (DACs) in their service territory so that stakeholders across the state can assess how these communities are impacted by our policy decisions, including rate increases.
    • While New York has put considerable effort into defining and designating DACs so as to meet the equity goal of our climate law, utilities like Central Hudson have not yet identified and collected data on such communities in their service area, let alone considered how their plans might be affecting them, especially as it relates to affordability, community benefits, and clean energy investments.
  • Introduced the Utility Materials Disclosure Act (A9299) to require energy utilities to make publicly available the promotional and educational materials they share with ratepayers. As utilities are increasingly tasked with meeting their share of the state’s climate goals, there is public interest in gauging how effective utilities are in communicating to consumers, especially on how they can make clean energy choices.
  • Introduced Utility Penalty Adjustment (A7294) to increase penalties by 272% to bring them in line with inflation. Penalties for utilities haven’t been updated since they were introduced in 1986!
  • Strengthen the provisions for what kind of lobbying utilities cannot spend ratepayer money on (A7880). Utilities can currently use ratepayer money for certain kinds of lobbying, which means they’re spending our money to tilt the regulatory system against us.
  • Pass the NY HEAT Act (A4592) to end ratepayer subsidies for new gas hookups and cap utility bills at 6% for low-to-moderate income households.
  • Make energy a public good by transitioning corporate monopolies like Central Hudson to public ownership, through Public Power, bringing democratic oversight and community agreements to siting of energy projects, and ensure such projects benefit people, not shareholders.

100% Renewable. 0% Fossil Fuels.

We must commit to end our forced reliance on fossil fuels, and build a publicly owned energy system that lowers our bills, increases reliability, and replaces toxic gas and oil with renewable wind, solar, and geothermal power at the speed science truly demands.

  • Implement the Build Public Renewables Act to its full potential: we passed a historic bill to generate publicly-owned renewable energy that will serve and invest in New Yorkers. Next, we’ll see through its implementation to ensure its success.
  • To develop a plan to phase out our most-polluting fossil fuel plants, we need the Just Energy Transition Act (A4866).
  • Make public investments to retrofit existing buildings. The previously passed Green Jobs Green New York Act aimed to do a million retrofits in 5 years, but failed to do so and generated less than 25,000 retrofits.

Protect Hudson Valley

According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the Hudson River could rise 2 to 4 feet by 2080. We must develop and implement proactive flood resilience plans today, not punt them to future generations.

  • Keep clean water infrastructure and the Environmental Protection Fund fully funded to protect drinking water, reduce pollution, conserve land, and create public parks, and issue the $4.3 billion environmental bond in a timely manner to fund the climate transition
  • Fully fund the Catskill visitor safety and wilderness protection fund, the Catskill Center, and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Catskill Research.

Hold Polluters Accountable

  • Reduce packaging by 50% over 10 years by passing Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (A5322). This bill also provides funding to local governments for waste reduction programs, recycling, and waste disposal.
  • Currently, there is almost no review before companies like Amazon build gigantic warehouses in industrial zones with significantly more truck traffic than was envisioned when the rules were put into place. The Clean Deliveries Act (A1718) would regulate air quality from warehouses.
  • Create strong guard rails for the state’s cap and invest program.

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