Calls for Measures to Address Electronic Waste and to Move Forward in the Clean Energy Economy
In honor and celebration of Earth Day, Governor David A. Paterson today addressed New Yorkers who came together for the 20th Anniversary of Earth Day Lobby Day in Albany. Since taking office, Governor Paterson has solidified New York State’s standing as a National leader in environmental protection and clean energy initiatives. His accomplishments include his leadership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, expanding the State’s clean energy goals through his “45 by 15” initiative, enhancing the State’s bottle bill and brokering a deal on reforming New York’s brownfields program, among many others.
In addition to highlighting environmental progress in the State, Governor Paterson also called on New Yorkers and the legislature to address the growing problem of electronic waste in New York. This year, Governor Paterson advanced legislation that regulates the disposal of the toxic chemicals and metals that are part of many electronic devices.
“From the day I took office, I have worked to make New York State one of the most environmentally friendly states in the Nation. Not only is this work critical to sustaining a healthy environment, but it is critical to creating jobs and rebuilding our State for the New Economy,” Governor Paterson said. “Forty years ago, we celebrated the first ever Earth Day, and this year I challenge all New Yorkers to do their part in making our State and our Nation healthier and cleaner for a more prosperous future.”
In 2009, Governor Paterson issued an Executive Order that boldly called for action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution 80 percent by the year 2050. Coupled with the State’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), New York is on track to take advantage of the economic power of the new clean energy economy. RGGI is the first-in-the Nation mandatory plan to cap and reduce power plant carbon dioxide pollution. New York and the other RGGI states sold all of their 2009 allowances and collectively raised nearly $500 million to support advancement of clean energy technologies. New York’s share of the auction revenue was more than $180 million, which is being used to further reduce emissions, create clean energy jobs, and help businesses and individuals lower energy costs.
Last year, Governor Paterson also led the effort to expand the State’s bottle bill. The legislation broke a nine year struggle to update the 1982 law governing bottle deposits by expanding it to include bottled water. The updated law allows the State to retain 80 percent of unclaimed bottle deposits, providing an estimated $115 million in annual revenue to help address New York’s fiscal crisis.
In 2008, Governor Paterson brokered a previously unachievable reform of the State’s brownfields program. The new law capped the State’s mounting costs while providing incentives for better cleanups. In addition, the State now has a new brownfields showcase communities’ initiative which marries brownfield cleanups to the State’s smart growth goals.
One of Governor Paterson’s first Executive Orders established the Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program, directing State agencies to green their procurement and implement sustainability programs. This initiative created a standard for green computing that is saving the State over $100 million each year. The Governor created the Environmental Justice Interagency Task Force to develop strategies to reduce and prevent environmental burdens in low income and minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution. In 2008, Governor Paterson launched an effort to increase federal funding for clean water infrastructure, helping to provide New York State with over $800 million in federal funding for clean water and drinking water infrastructure improvements throughout the State.
The Governor has advanced legislation to update the State energy code; improve appliance efficiency standards; and enhance existing tax credits that will speed up restoration and preservation of historic buildings. The Governor’s sustainable communities initiative is providing a framework for revitalization of our urban centers; focusing resources on neglected neighborhoods plagued by abandoned properties.
Governor Paterson announced in his 2009 State of the State Address one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country: the “45 by 15” initiative. By 2015, New York State will meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean renewable energy. Not only will this initiative help New York meet its energy needs and help to protect the environment, it also means good jobs and the stabilization of energy costs.
In 2009 and 2010, the Governor advanced and signed into law four program bills implementing portions of his clean energy agenda. The first authorized the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to design, finance, construct, and implement energy efficiency and clean energy projects and services on behalf of State and local government entities and on behalf of NYPA’s low-cost power program customers. The second authorized the Office of General Services to purchase renewable energy and renewable energy credits on behalf of State agencies and to make such purchases, along with the purchase of electricity, from suppliers in addition to NYPA. The third authorized municipalities to create sustainable energy loan programs to provide loans to property owners for the installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures. The fourth expanded net metering, encouraging increased deployment of on-site solar electric and wind generation technologies by allowing non-residential customers to receive a bill credit for the value of the excess electricity sold back to their local utility.