You’ve heard us talk often about the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); it’s an innovative program of nine Northeast states which cuts carbon pollution while making polluters pay for new sources of clean energy. RGGI is responsible for thousands of solar installations,
green job trainings, and much more statewide. A new report by the Analysis Group found that between 2012 and 2014, RGGI raised nearly $400 million for clean energy in New York, also creating nearly 5,000 new jobs – all while cutting air pollution.
Unfortunately, you’ll recall that earlier this year, Governor Cuomo and state legislators raided the program. With this new report, and all of the data showing that RGGI works, it is critical that the state build on the program’s success, develop a climate action plan across all sectors of the economy (not just power plants), and pledge no more raids. Check out this great new report here.
Clean Water Funding Available
Environmental Advocates and our partners scored a major victory earlier this year with a $200 million drinking water and sewer system investment – and now the first phase of that money is moving out the door! Communities seeking funding for projects that will help protect public health and our waterways must submit an application to the state Environmental Facilities Corporation by September 4, 2015. More information can be found here.
This funding was made possible thanks to everyone who contacted Governor Cuomo and state legislators, and told them to #FixOurPipes. While this year’s investment is an enormous first step, we will be back at this campaign heading into the next budget cycle because communities are still grappling with more than $36 billion in unmet clean water needs. Stay tuned!
Your Right to Know About Sewage Pollution
Speaking of clean water, the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act of 2012 was passed to ensure the public is notified when sewage overflows or spills into local waterways, thereby compromising public health. Common sense, right? The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has just released proposed regulations on how the law will work, and unfortunately, despite thousands of comments from Environmental Advocates and our partners, they have created a loophole that could keep a significant number of sewage spills from being publicly reported. It is critical that if untreated waste ends up in the waters we use for drinking, fishing, swimming and more, that impacted New Yorkers be notified. We are
reviewing other aspects of the DEC’s plan, and will share more details and ways you can get involved soon!
Will Cuomo Keep Climate Promise?
As of last month, New York has an Energy Plan. And the goals are aggressive, forward-thinking, and would mark a clean break from dirty fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy such as solar and wind. The plan sets clear benchmarks, including 2030 goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, receive 50 percent of our energy from clean renewable sources, and increase energy efficiency by 23 percent. But like anything, the devil is in the details and major decisions being considered right now will either move us forward or stall progress.
There will be no way to achieve these goals if the state continues to make decisions that exacerbate our climate problems, such as re-firing outdated fossil fuel plants and raiding carbon abatement programs like RGGI.
Nearly 100,000 New Yorkers submitted comments on the draft energy plan. Those comments focused largely on issues like climate change, wind and solar power, and the need for the state to reduce climate pollution across all economic sectors. It’s an enormous level of engagement, and reflects that New Yorkers are paying attention. We applaud people for taking time out of their lives to make their voices heard! Moving forward, it will be critical for Governor Cuomo and his team to keep these promises, and for the Legislature to do what California did nearly a decade ago, and codify these goals in state law.