FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Council of the City of New York
Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22
September 25, 2019
Contact: Terence Cullen
City Council Enacts Bills Promoting Clean Energy and Pollution-Free Safer Streets
Legislation Will Promote Renewable Energy Storage, Overnight Deliveries
New York City Hall — The New York City Council today passed several bills as part of Climate Week that will significantly help advance the Big Apple’s historic sustainability goals. The legislation, proposed by Council Member Costa Constantinides, will make New York’s air cleaner by promoting overnight deliveries and renewable energy storage at City buildings, wherever possible.
Constantinides, the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee chair, also introduced a bill requiring the City of New York budget its carbon emissions every year. Doing so would streamline the Big Apple’s historic commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 80% from their 2005 levels by 2050.
“The destructive rollbacks by the federal entity formerly known as the Environmental Protection Agency have put the onus on big cities such as New York to implement meaningful clean air policies,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. “We, as a City government, must lead by example here. The bills we passed today, in recognition of Climate Week, pave the way to a brighter by requiring overnight deliveries to City buildings wherever possible, as well as making it easier to store renewable energy. We have also introduced a bill that would budget emissions from each agency, making sure we hit the aggressive reduction targets we’ve set for ourselves.”
The Council today voted to enact the following bills:
• Intro. 49-A: New York City must, by April 2021, determine what City buildings can house batteries large enough to store renewable energy and install them in every structure where it’s feasible. This will help power the City’s real estate portfolio with clean energy, helping to meet their 40% carbon emissions reduction mandate by 2025 under the Climate Mobilization Act.
• Intro. 426-A: The City must also see where it’s feasible to install solar thermal technology on any of its buildings by April 2021, and do so wherever it’s deemed possible. While most solar infrastructure provides electricity, this technology harvests solar energy to power heaters and hot water pumps, which in turn could reduce the Big Apple’s reliance on fossil fuels.
• Intro. 1140-A: New York City must also conduct a comprehensive assessment of which of its properties may receive off-hour or “overnight” deliveries. The bill first focuses on Lower Manhattan, home to a high concentration of City owned and operated buildings, followed by south of 60th Street. The City must also see where it’s feasible to do overnight deliveries in two dense neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn where there are a high number of municipal buildings. By taking this approach, New York would take a significant chunk of delivery trucks off the street during busy daytime hours, in an effort to combat unprecedented traffic and the pollution it creates.
Constantinides also introduced a bill that would create a New York City Climate Budget, taking a cue from the historic document established in Oslo three years ago. If passed, this bill would require the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability or another entity to set targets for the amount of greenhouse gases an agency can emit in a given year. Emissions would thus be subject to accountability and oversight in the same way any other agency performance is, ensuring the City meets its aggressive reduction targets in a transparent way.
As part of Climate Week, the City Council also held an oversight hearing on air pollution throughout the five boroughs. The sweeping three-hour hearing featured testimony from mayoral agencies on myriad efforts to better air quality. A slew of advocates also shared their support for bills such as the one to create commercial waste zones, which would reduce pollution and make streets safer.
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on three additional committees: Sanitation, Resiliency, and Technology. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.