Governor Hochul Issues New Executive Order During Climate Week Announcing Nation-Leading Sustainability Operations
Sustainable Goals Will Fight Climate Change, Accelerate New York's Transition to a Green Economy, and Prioritize Disadvantaged Communities
September 20, 2022
Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a nation-leading Executive Order to accelerate efforts to make State operations more sustainable. As New York commemorates Climate Week, Executive Order 22 builds upon progress made by the GreenNY Council to continue streamlining the administration of the State's lead-by-example sustainability and climate directives and sets new goals for the environmental performance of State agencies. Governor Hochul also announced that State agencies and authorities, representing an estimated $50 billion in investments, have committed to achieve net zero in their investment portfolios by 2040. This bold action ensures New York State's financial resources are aligned with its clean energy and decarbonization obligations as enacted in the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
"New York is already leading the nation on climate action, and with this Order, we are creating the roadmap to help other states follow suit," Governor Hochul said. "With these new commitments, we are stepping up our approach to environmental stewardship with new and ambitious goals to shift toward renewable energy, invest in electric vehicles, and drastically reduce waste and toxic substance use - all while protecting our state's most disadvantaged communities. As a global financial capital, New York is in a unique position to combat climate change, and my administration remains committed to leading the fight by aligning our investments and operations with New York State values."
Through the Executive Order, the GreenNY Council will ensure that State agencies follow best practices in green purchasing and in their operations by issuing new green purchasing specifications and operational directives. The Order will be administered by the GreenNY Council, a multi-agency working group co-chaired by the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Division of the Budget, the Office of General Services, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the New York Power Authority. Required annual reporting from agencies and authorities will help ensure that the goals of the Order are achieved.
The Order covers the following targets and goals:
- 100 percent of the electricity used in State operations will come from renewable energy (as defined by the Clean Energy Standard) by 2030.
- 100 percent of light-duty non-emergency vehicle fleets will be Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035 and 100 percent of medium and heavy-duty vehicle fleets will be ZEVs by 2040.
- 11 trillion BTUs of energy savings will be achieved by 2025 through the BuildSmart 2025 program.
- Restricting new State facilities that enter design and permitting starting in 2024 from using infrastructure that can be used for the combustion of fossil fuels.
- Waste disposal will be reduced 10 percent every five years until reaching a goal of 75 percent lower than a 2018-19 Fiscal Year baseline, which will include a combination of strategies to divert materials from landfills, increase recycling, and enhance composting and other reuse of organic materials.
- The use of single use plastics will be eliminated in State operations.
- The use of toxic substances will be reduced in State operations.
- Habitats maintained by State agencies and authorities will be enhanced, including support for native pollinators.
- Climate resiliency at State facilities will be increased.
The Executive Order takes action to ensure that State operations do not have a disproportionate burden on disadvantaged communities by directing the GreenNY Council to determine what State facilities are located within disadvantaged communities and directing agencies and authorities to then prioritize facilities that are located within these communities for sustainability upgrades to reduce the potential impacts on the communities in which they are located.
The Executive Order will also ensure that State operations do not have a disproportionate burden on disadvantaged communities by prioritizing sustainability upgrades for State facilities in these communities.
In addition to the Executive Order, agencies and authorities submitted action plans this month outlining their path to a net zero investment portfolio. The action plans include frameworks and strategies for evolving portfolio construction, including plans to increase investment in sustainable solutions. This fulfills the Governor's directive in her 2022 State of the State address. Further detail on agency and authority net-zero investment portfolio action plans can be found on their websites.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "This Executive Order underscores that under Governor Hochul, New York State is all-in on the fight against climate change and improving our environment. We have many of the strongest environmental protections in the nation and our agency and authority operations should be held to a similarly high standard."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, "Actions to ensure a green future must occur at every level, and Governor Hochul's Executive Order provides the direction needed to further advance the State's sustainability efforts, while also emphasizing this administration's continued commitment to residents of historically underserved communities. As a GreenNY Council member, NYSERDA welcomes the collaboration with State agency colleagues in advancing strategies and best practices to reach New York State's collective clean energy goals."
New York State Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, "Governor Hochul's new Executive Order is an essential next step in the ongoing effort to increase sustainability and resiliency in State government operations. The OGS team will continue working with our agency and authority partners to achieve these important environmental goals on behalf of all New Yorkers."
New York Power Authority Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, "New York State needs to set an example in every aspect of its operations and purchasing by acting in a sustainable manner and protecting our natural resources. By promoting a set of best practices and making them public, state agencies and authorities can have a significant influence on how business is conducted throughout New York. A long-term sustainable strategy is the best way to show our unified commitment to fighting climate change and serving our stakeholders and the state."
New York State Public Service Chair Rory M. Christian said, "Governor Hochul continues to move New York forward in terms of developing and setting sustainability and climate goals and directives. The path Governor Hochul is blazing will help New York in its battle against climate change."
Metropolitan Transit Authority Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "New Yorkers have the lowest carbon footprint per capita among the 50 states because everyday millions of people here travel by mass transit and because so many New Yorkers live in walkable high-density neighborhoods that minimize car travel. The MTA is the antidote to climate change and is making the system even more resilient."
New York State Insurance Fund Executive Director and CEO Gaurav Vasisht said, "Under Governor Hochul's visionary leadership, New York is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050. As an insurer and asset owner, NYSIF looks forward to doing its part by decarbonizing its investments, financing green solutions, and collaborating with others to drive positive change and build a more equitable and prosperous future."
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.