$15 billion climate revenue bill introduced in NY State Senate
The Climate and Community Investment Act would invest funds generated by a penalty on pollution in renewable infrastructure and climate justice
Albany, NY — The Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA, S4264A) was introduced by Senator Kevin Parker (D, WF-Brooklyn) in the New York State Senate and is co-sponsored by Senators Alessandra Biaggi (D, WF-Bronx and Westchester), Jabari Brisport (D-Brooklyn), Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), Michelle Hinchey (D-Hudson Valley), Robert Jackson (D, WF-Manhattan), Rachel May (D, WF-Syracuse), Jessica Ramos (D, WF-Queens),
Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D, WF-Rockland County) and James Sanders (D-Queens). The bill is supported by NY Renews, a coalition of more than 250 member organizations in New York State that pushed for the state’s 2019 nation-leading climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
As New York struggles with the health and economic impacts of Covid-19, the CCIA offers mechanisms that can help strengthen our state’s economy by creating hundreds of thousands of good, green jobs, while aggressively combatting the climate crisis, investing in community-based climate solutions led by those on the frontlines. The CCIA will reduce hazardous pollution in our air and water, improve public health, and take steps towards ensuring a more sustainable present and future for New York.
Details of the Bill
The CCIA provides the funding and spending directives to meet New York’s climate and equity goals, while creating good jobs for New Yorkers. The bill would raise $10-$15 billion per year over the next ten years, with additional funds raised through 2050, to fund a just transition off of fossil fuels and to a renewable energy economy for New York.
One-third of the funds will go to community-based organizations located in or serving environmental justice communities: largely Black, brown, and low-income communities disproportionately burdened by climate change and pollution. Grants from this Community Just Transition Fund will be used to create community-led renewable infrastructure, efficiency, and climate adaptability programs, leading to cleaner air, water, and overall public health in communities that have served as sacrifice zones for the fossil fuel industry.
An additional 7% of funds will be allocated to communities and workers in the fossil fuel industry to provide for job training, bridge to retirement, community economic development, and replacement for lost tax revenue.
Thirty percent of the funding will go to the Climate Jobs and Infrastructure Fund for large-scale investments such as major solar arrays, offshore wind, grid stability, electric vehicle infrastructure, and improvements to public transportation and public housing. The final third of the revenue will provide energy rebates to the lowest-earning 60% of New Yorkers, protecting ratepayers and lowering utility costs.
The CCIA is estimated to create and sustain over 150,000 jobs over the first decade. It includes gold-standard labor provisions, such as prevailing wage, apprenticeship requirements, best-value procurement, and community benefits agreements. People in frontline communities, women in non-traditional trades, people coming off of unemployment, and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers would be prioritized for hiring, and facilities in environmental justice communities, such as schools, child care centers, and public transportation, will be prioritized for investment. In addition, the bill bars revenue from the polluter penalty from being spent on police, prisons, or related infrastructure.
The penalty will be collected at the point of fossil fuel extraction or import into New York State. Practically speaking, most of the polluter penalty will be paid by corporations affiliated with major fossil fuel companies, such as BP or Exxon, or by utilities.
“For too long, corporate polluters have extracted obscene wealth from our communities, leaving Black, Brown and low-income families to clean up the mess and suffer the devastating physical, mental and health consequences. Trauma from pollution goes deep and generational,” said Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York. “Corporations have treated our children and families as expendable in their push for bigger and bigger profits.The CCIA would tax corporate polluters who have built enormous wealth on racist profiteering, and invest those funds in communities of color who have suffered the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
“Mainstream climate solutions ignore the leadership and needs of communities of color, who are most impacted by climate change and pollution,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “The people closest to the problems are closest to the solutions. The CCIA would make billions of dollars specifically available to communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis for locally-designed renewable and resiliency programs.”
“Long Island is on the frontline of climate change,” said Lisa Tyson, Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “Our coastal communities are threatened by sea-level rise, families are still recovering from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, and our neighborhoods are overburdened with air pollution from fossil fuels. Our region demands a just transition off of fossil fuels. We began that undertaking when we helped pass the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Now it’s time to fund our climate and equity mandates with the Climate and Community Investment Act. It’s past time to make polluters pay and invest in communities most harmed by the climate crisis.”
“As we move our economy off of fossil fuels, the Climate and Community Investment Act will make sure we advance in a way that finally puts people before polluters while unleashing tremendous new economic opportunities for all New Yorkers,” said Conor Bambrick, Director of Climate Policy at Environmental Advocates NY.
“Millions of New Yorkers living on the frontlines of climate change will benefit from this crucial legislation. The Climate and Community Investment Act will raise significant revenue and create many thousands of green jobs, while enabling frontline communities to tackle the climate crisis more aggressively. The state legislature and Governor Cuomo should move quickly to enact this legislation. It will save lives and help create a more livable, sustainable, and equitable future for New York,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN”
“The coronavirus pandemic has clearly highlighted that our Black, Indigenous and POC groups are at greater risk for health, economic and climate impacts than non- BIPOC Americans. This greater risk also means that more attention needs to be paid to the needs of these communities to create a just and equitable transition. The CCIA rightfully places a fee on polluters and would generate upwards of $15 billion in revenue per year and clearly indicates that a portion of these funds must be reinvested into these vulnerable communities,” said Jenille Scott, Our Climate NY Field Organizer.
“The Climate and Community Investment Act gives New York the resources it needs to make the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s mandates a reality, while moving New York to the just transition to renewable energy that our communities need and deserve,” said Katherine Nadeau, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Deputy Director. “Investing in New York’s communities and ensuring the transition lifts up those who our environmental policies have either marginalized or left behind, while fighting the climate crisis head on, must be one of New York’s top priorities, and we call on the legislature to pass the CCIA this year.”
“The bold and deliberate plan introduced with the CCIA today are what communities throughout New York State need to meet the enormity of our climate crisis. Only through a holistic, equity-based lens can we ensure a just transition. The time is now to enact this urgent change!” said Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo
“The CCIA is an important response to New Yorkers’ call for solutions to the climate crisis. The law will help hold polluters accountable for the damage that they are doing to the health and safety of frontline communities. We urge swift passage of this urgent legislation,” said Marilyn Vasta of Peoples Climate Movement – NY.