Climate advocates in New York are cheering Gov. Kathy Hochul's plan to create a "cap and invest" program in which polluters' payments go toward expanding renewable energy projects in the state.
But at the same time, they are urging that the plan to expand housing by 800,000 units in the coming years and are urging the new housing have a low impact on the state's environment.
Hochul's $227 billion budget unveiled on Wednesday in Albany includes a variety of measures meant to enact a plan to transition the state from fossil fuels to more renewable forms of energy in the coming years. The change will affect how New Yorkers heat their homes and businesses as well as how they get to work.
Hochul also wants to spend $500 million in the coming year from borrowed money raised by an environmental infrastructure bonding act approved by voters last year, with money meant to shore up the state's water and sewer systems as well as build electric vehicle chargers.
The New York League of Conservation Voters in a statement Wednesday applauded the plans to create a "cap and invest" program in which credits are purchased by polluters, with the proceeds used to build renewable energy projects.
"Such programs use market forces to cap greenhouse gas emissions, generate funds from climate polluters which would be invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and create green jobs," the group said.
But separately from Hochul's push on climate change, she also plans to expand housing in New York amid as the cost of buying a home and rent have risen in the last several years.
"How and where we grow our housing stock not only impacts the economy, but it has a huge and lasting impact on the environment and equity, and we applaud Gov. Hochul for seeking to address these concerns by proposing 800,000 new homes and prioritizing this development in walkable, transit-rich areas," the group said. "The governor and Legislature must ensure that these new homes are zero emissions."
Meanwhile, Hochul also wants to move forward with a plan to ban new gas hookups in new construction by the next decade as well -- a measure New York City previously approved.
“Burning fossil fuels in our buildings is killing us and our climate while soaking New Yorkers to pad gas company profits. Hochul’s landmark budget proposal paves the way to stop digging a deeper hole,” said Food & Water Watch Northeast Region Director Alex Beauchamp. “Banning fossil fuels in new buildings is the right move — it’s also the politically popular one. New Yorkers and those who represent us are championing this issue in every corner of the state. Stewart-Cousins and Heastie: listen to New Yorkers, pick up the torch and pass the All-Electric Building Act in your budget."