Vote Solar Urges More Robust Climate Investments in New York Budget
Albany, NY – The inclusion of the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) in New York’s state budget is a historic milestone on the path to a just clean energy economy. BPRA will slash rising energy bills for New Yorkers, create life-sustaining jobs, and enable the Empire State to reach the ambitious decarbonization targets mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). This victory was made possible by a broad coalition of passionate and determined activists leading with their belief in a just, people-first clean energy transition.
In addition to the BPRA, I’m encouraged by the inclusion of the All Electric Buildings Act, which will ban fossil gas hookups in new buildings and bring us one big step closer to leaving polluting fossil fuels behind us.
Despite these meaningful wins, the budget’s climate investments still fall short in two significant ways. First, we are frustrated by the exclusion of key guardrails for the proposed cap-and-invest system. Without strong prevention measures, cap-and-invest can exacerbate existing power structures, in which polluters are given free reign and environmental justice communities bear the heaviest burdens. Second, while the budget draws some key provisions from the Climate and Communities Protection Fund (CCPF), New York needs the specificity of the CCPF’s full spending framework to fund a just and equitable climate justice program.
Along with our partners in the NY Renews coalition, I continue to urge the legislature to fully fund the state’s Climate Act by advancing bills in the Climate, Jobs, and Justice Package. We need the full CJJP to address the gaps in our new climate budget, to keep energy bills affordable for New Yorkers, and accelerate our transition to a fully renewable economy. If passed, the Climate, Jobs, and Justice Package would save New York nearly $40 billion currently spent on fossil fuels and eliminate more than $300 million in wasteful fossil fuel subsidies.
While we must rapidly decarbonize New York, we must also ensure that we’re working toward a just, accessible renewable economy that benefits everyone. We can achieve both simultaneously, but only with the necessary investments from our elected representatives. Vote Solar is eager to continue working alongside our partners to hold our legislators accountable for the climate action New Yorkers so clearly want and need.