Overview of New York’s environmental wins of 2022

Co-authored with Isabel Friedman

NRDC has been working hard with our partners in upstate New York. New York has held strong positions on climate for years, and the strides made over the past year will continue that important leadership. These are some of our achievements in 2022:

  • $400 million from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund has been allocated to provide more money for ocean protection, clean water infrastructure and parks in underserved communities.
  • New York State passed the Environmental Bond Act, setting the stage for a historic $4.2 billion investment in clean and safe water, public health, land conservation and environmental justice.
  • Governor Hochul announced a plan to create 2 million climate-friendly, electrified or electrification-ready homes by 2030. She also proposed legislation to guarantee all new construction be zero-emissions by 2027, which would ensure more than 800,000 middle-income households receive clean energy upgrades.
  • Gov. Hochul signed legislation making New York the second state after California in 2010 to require carpet manufacturers to establish an appropriate program to collect and recycle discarded and unused carpets.
  • Gov. Hochul signed the Cumulative Impacts Act, a landmark environmental justice law that ensures cumulative impacts are considered in state environmental permitting processes when potentially polluting facilities apply for permits in disadvantaged communities. It’s a historic move that makes New York second in the nation, after New Jersey in 2020, with such a law.
  • New York passed the Advanced Clean Cars II rule, which ensures that by 2035 all new cars and trucks sold in the state will be zero-emissions. This will lead to a reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions that worsen climate change and a reduction in air pollution that contributes to respiratory diseases.
  • Following California’s lead, Gov. Hochul signed Senate Bill 6291A that will ban toxic PFAS chemicals in clothing “forever.” Many leading apparel companies have already eliminated or committed to eliminating these harmful chemicals from their products, including leading brands such as Levi’s, Patagonia, Gap, Jack Wolfskin, Zara and H&M. New York’s actions will impact the entire supply chain, reducing PFAS exposure from production to disposal.
  • Governor Hochul signed into law a two-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations in the state. The law requires the New York City Department of the Environment to investigate the environmental impact of the crypto industry.
  • The Laws and Standards Act, signed into law by Gov. Hochul, will save New York consumers $15 billion over the next 15 years through more efficient appliances and reform of building codes to measure greenhouse gas emissions in life cycle assessments.
  • The EPA strengthened wetland protections by replacing an executive order issued by the Trump administration that would have eliminated federal clean water law protections for millions of miles of streams and tens of millions of acres of wetlands.
  • NYS Executive Order 22 has radically strengthened NYS agencies’ green purchasing criteria. Its priorities align with the Climate Act by covering a range of procurement commitments and policies for climate and environmental priorities, including embodied carbon reduction in new construction.
  • The NY Public Service Commission passed the regulatory portion of the Gas Transition Act and committed to drafting a formal gas heat transition plan. They issued two orders that will facilitate this planning process: (1) “Gas Planning Order” (2) “CLCPA Implementation Order”
  • Governor Hochul signed legislation in response to increasing flooding due to the effects of climate change. This law requires landlords to disclose a home’s flood risk and flood history to potential renters. New York joins just seven other states in giving renters these rights.
  • At that session, New York became the first state in the nation to pass a comprehensive “right to repair” electronic device law. Under the Fair Repair Act, manufacturers of electronic products such as cell phones and computers are required to provide diagnostic information and repair parts to independent repairers and consumers.
  • Gov. Hochul announced $150 million in funding for the city of Mount Vernon to repair its failing sewer infrastructure in an unprecedented government action to address an environmental justice crisis less than 30 minutes’ drive from New York City.
  • The Delaware River Basin Commission, which is responsible for safeguarding the water quality of the Delaware River Basin, has worked to further protect the 13,579 square mile fracking watershed. The Commission has finalized new rules banning, among other things, the discharge of fracked effluent.
  • In a separate NYS budget allocation, Gov. Hochul has earmarked $500 million for investments in clean water infrastructure, bringing the state’s total clean water investment to $4.5 billion since 2017.

While we are grateful for these victories, we know there is still work to be done in 2023. We need to keep moving forward with the New York climate and clean energy goals.