Assemblymember Wallace: Climate Protection Law a Big Win for Western New York Families and Businesses

Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which she co-sponsored, has been signed into law (Ch. 106 of 2019). The new law combats the dangers of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting environmental justice and investing in green energy projects.

“As climate change continues to pose a serious threat to our planet’s future, I’m committed to leaving a healthy Earth for our children and our grandchildren,” Wallace said. “This law sets vital goals that will help preserve our natural resources, while also boosting our economy by creating new, green job opportunities. It’s a major win for Western New York and shows that our state is leading the charge against climate change.”

The law establishes several goals to create a more sustainable future for New York State, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050, requiring that 70% of electricity be produced by renewable energy systems by 2030 and requiring 100% of the state’s electricity to be produced without emissions by 2040. The legislation tasks the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) with establishing and implementing statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits, as well as with publishing regulations to achieve this goal.

In addition, the law creates easily replicated renewable energy projects, such as solar arrays, heat pumps and wind turbines, in public low-income housing statewide. And to keep the state on track with its goals, it establishes the New York State Climate Action Council, which consists of 22 experts, including leaders from relevant state agencies, environmental justice advocates and labor and industry representatives. The legislation also ensures the employees who work on these projects are treated fairly by requiring they be paid a prevailing wage. By investing in Western New York’s green industry, this law will promote technological development and expand our workforce, helping both our environment and our economy, Wallace noted.

Wallace continues to use her voice in the Assembly to protect our environment and keep Western New York families safe. Earlier this year, she helped pass sweeping legislation to safeguard environmental and public health, including measures to ensure all New Yorkers have access to clean air and water, strengthen environmental justice laws and protect our families from harmful chemicals (A.1779, A.2477-B, A.2501-A, A.6296-A). The package also helps maintain New York’s water supply and protects vulnerable species (A.2286, A.6600). Additionally, she helped pass a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags to keep our neighborhoods and waterways clean, and helped secure millions in state funding to help clean up pollution from the Scajaquada creek.