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December 21, 2022

New York State Finalizes CLCPA Scoping Plan

The New York State Climate Action Council Scoping Plan, which the legislature intended to serve as a framework for how the state will achieve the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), has been finalized. As previously reported, New York State’s CLCPA has already generated a wide array of action throughout the state and will continue to touch almost every sector of the economy as the final scoping plan is implemented. The CLCPA created a 22-member Climate Action Council (CAC) to develop the scoping plan. On December 19, 2022, the CAC approved the final scoping plan by a vote of 19–3. The CLCPA requires that the final scoping plan be submitted to the governor and state legislature by January 1, 2023.

The scoping plan is the culmination of a three-year process that included several CAC advisory panels and working groups that focused on particular sectors of the economy and a draft scoping plan that was issued for public notice and comment in December 2021. The final scoping plan contains a recommended roadmap of the policies, legislation, regulation, and funding measures the state should implement to meet the GHG emission reduction requirements of the CLCPA, which include a 40 percent reduction in statewide GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, 100 percent zero emission electricity by 2040, and an 85 percent reduction in statewide GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. 

The final scoping plan recommendations and findings are wide ranging and include specific recommendations for reducing GHGs in seven sectors of the economy. The sector-specific recommendations of the final scoping plan include the following:

1)    Transportation  

  • Replace existing vehicles that use gasoline or diesel through regulations requiring manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles, purchasing incentives, and the expansion of charging infrastructure.
  • Enhance the availability of public transportation. 
  • Develop land-use patterns to reduce travel.

2)    Buildings

  • Update state codes that require commercial and residential buildings to be built without fossil fuel combustion equipment starting in 2025 for new residential construction and 2028 for new commercial construction. 
  • Increase public funding for heat pumps and energy efficiency measures.
  • Phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons in HVAC equipment.

3)    Electricity

  • Upgrade transmission and distribution systems to deliver energy from where generation is located (upstate and offshore) to where demand exists.
  • Increase deployment of clean energy resources like wind, solar, hydro, and energy storage. 
  • Identify and develop zero-emission dispatchable resources like nuclear and energy storage that will be needed to meet projected electricity demand. 

4)    Industry

  • Provide state financial and technical assistance to solve unique industrial sector barriers to GHG emission reductions.
  • Incentivize the use of low-carbon products. 
  • Establish an expanded GHG emission reporting system. 

5)    Agriculture 

  • Promote advanced livestock management strategies and precision feed and herd management to mitigate methane emissions. 
  • Continue research and development on strategies to improve soil health and nutrient management. 

6)    Forestry

  • Promote site-specific sustainable forest management strategies, including through state guidance, to increase carbon sequestration and climate resilience. 
  • Expand markets for sustainably harvested wood products.

7)    Waste

  • Increase waste reduction, reuse, and recycling strategies.
  • Reduce fugitive emissions from solid waste management and water resource recovery facilities. 
  • Establish state markets for recovered resources and biogas. 

The scoping plan also includes cross-sector recommendations in the areas of land use, local government, adaptation, and resilience; an economy-wide “cap-and-invest” program; and recommendations for downsizing the existing natural gas system. These recommendations include, by way of example, the conversion of the majority of natural gas customers to all-electric by 2050 and a focus on managing the repair of natural gas pipelines to reduce methane emissions and ensure the safety of the gas system during the transition. The scoping plan also prioritizes work led by the Climate Justice Working Group through proposed comprehensive actions to address climate justice and ensure that the state’s efforts address health, environmental, and energy burdens that disproportionately impact disadvantaged communities.

The nearly 500-page final scoping plan is available to the public. 

All eyes now turn to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which has until January 1, 2024, to draft enforceable regulations based on the recommendations in the scoping plan to ensure the state meets the CLCPA emission reduction requirements. The upcoming 2023 legislative session is also likely to be important given the number of legislative recommendations in the scoping plan.

Barclay Damon will continue to monitor the implementation of the scoping plan and other developments regarding the CLCPA and the potential impacts on various sectors of the economy.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Yvonne Hennessey, Environmental Practice Area chair, at yhennessey@barclaydamon.com; Danielle Mettler-LaFeir, partner, dmettler@barclaydamon.com; Ari Goldberg, associate, at agoldberg@barclaydamon.com; Dan Krzykowski, associate, at dkrzyowski@barclaydamon.com; or another member of the firm’s Energy Team or Regulatory Practice Area.

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