Lawmakers and environmental advocates urged Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday to include a statewide fossil fuel ban on all new construction in her upcoming executive budget, nearly a year after the governor announced the electrification of new buildings as a priority for her administration.
Elected officials and activists stood in front of a soon-to-be-constructed, all-electric tower in Brooklyn to press Hochul to mandate the electrification of all new buildings throughout the state via her state budget proposal, typically unveiled in January.
They are pushing for the same framework outlined in a bill from Assemblymember Emily Gallagher (D-Brooklyn) and state Sen. Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan and Brooklyn) that failed to pass before the end of the legislative session last June.
“Every new building that is built with gas hookups is making us poorer, sicker and closer to climate catastrophe,” Gallagher said at the rally along Flatbush Avenue, near the Barclays Center.
The bill would prohibit the combustion of fossil fuels within new construction, with the timeline varying based on how large the building is. The ban would go into effect by the end of 2023 for buildings shorter than seven stories — others would have until July 1, 2027.
“It really is an opportunity for us to put our money where our mouth is, to get serious about climate going forward and to lead the way – and show everyone else that it can be done,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, also a Brooklyn Democrat.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a similar bill into law for New York City in the waning days of his administration last year. It was touted as a major victory for environmentalists seeking the city’s compliance with its own climate goals, including the drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from most buildings larger than 25,000 square feet by 2050.
Hochul, as part of her inaugural State of the State address in January, pledged to work toward “zero on-site greenhouse gas emissions for new construction no later than 2027.”
Katy Zielinski, a spokesperson for the governor, said in a statement: “Gov. Hochul is committed to reducing building emissions and fighting climate change, and will review all budget requests.”