Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright today announced the Assembly's 2016-17 SFY Budget would provide more than $32 million to fund the state's efforts to address the impact of climate change on our environment through land and flood management measures, lower vehicle emissions and a greater use of renewable energy.
"The potentially devastating consequences of climate change require our immediate attention, and we need to move forward with initiatives that will keep our communities safe from extreme weather events and protect the environment," said Heastie. "With this investment of $32.5 million, we will be taking positive steps to implement measures that will decrease greenhouse gas emissions and help our state and municipalities become less vulnerable to the destructive impact of climate change."
"I think this wide-ranging approach to funding climate change projects recognizes the importance of efforts to both prevent and mitigate climate change," Englebright said. "We have seen all too clearly the costs of failing to act on climate change with the devastating economic impact of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricanes Irene and Lee. The Assembly's investment in climate change will provide cleaner air, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and create new markets and growth potential."
One of the important components of the Assembly budget is $25.5 million to fund the Climate Change Action Plan, which will establish a variety of initiatives based in part on the information learned at roundtables held by the Assembly Climate Change Work Group, convened by Speaker Heastie early last year. Among these initiatives is a statewide flood mitigation and coastal resiliency program that will include nature-based solutions such as land acquisition and wetland protections. The Assembly plan also supports increased usage of renewable energy from wind, solar and geothermal sources for municipal wastewater treatment facilities.
To reduce the causes of climate change and extreme weather events, the Assembly also calls for the establishment of a Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Municipal Purchase Incentive Program. This measure would promote the purchase of ZEVs by municipalities and create the necessary infrastructure to help move New York closer toward the statewide goal of 100 percent renewable energy use by 2030.
An additional $4.5 million also would be available for municipal planning projects to mitigate climate change and to conduct vulnerability assessments of municipal drinking water, wastewater and transportation infrastructure.