Council Approves Package of Environmental Protection Bills

Council Approves Package of Environmental Protection Bills

Photo Courtesy of NY City Council/William Alatriste

Council Environmental Committee Chairman Costa Constantinides sponsored two pieces of legislation dedicated to wind energy.

By Michael V. Cusenza
The City Council recently voted in favor of a package of environmental protection bills aimed at implementing wind power and other energy efficiency measures.
Four of the five bills in the bundle were sponsored by borough legislators.
The first measure would require that City-owned buildings be completely powered by green energy sources by 2050. This bill would also require the commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to report on the progress of the implementation every 10 years.
“By doing this, New York City will be the leader for the rest of the country,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who sponsored Introduction 598-A.
The next piece of proposed legislation in the five-bill package calls for each long-term sustainability plan to be required by the City Charter to contain a wind-resource assessment that would identify and map the areas of the city where wind resources are available for the effective utilization of a wind turbine.
A related measure would authorize the installation of small wind turbines designed to generate electricity along with supporting structures. This would cover design standards, wind speed, brakes and locks, visual appearance, signal interference, noise, shadow and setbacks.
Both bills were sponsored by Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), chairman of the Environmental Committee.
“As we work to meet our goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050, we must replace our use of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources including wind energy,” Constantinides said. “With new technologies making wind turbines more practical to use in cities we must work to encourage their use and decrease impediments that New Yorkers may encounter when trying to install them.”
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said he’d like to propose City Hall as the site of the Big Apple’s first small wind turbine.
“[L]ots of hot air in here,” he deadpanned. “We could generate enough power to light the Chrysler Building.”
The next proposed law in the package would allow residential cooperatives to file a single consolidated energy efficiency report where the cooperative covers multiple buildings on different tax block numbers.
“Consolidating energy efficiency reports for residential cooperatives will significantly reduce the administrative burden for those well-intentioned properties looking to comply with Local Law 87,” said Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), the bill’s sponsor.“As residential co-ops are the leading middle class option for home ownership in many parts of the city, especially in northeast Queens, this effort will streamline reporting and simplify paperwork for both the City and property owners.”
The final piece of the package is Resolution 176, which expresses support for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commitment to and facilitation of the development of large-scale offshore wind projects by 2030.
“As a city, state and nation, we must get serious in our efforts to combat climate change today as tomorrow is too late. Tapping into wind energy off our shores will not only provide us with sustainable, clean energy, but it will also generate economic activity and create quality jobs for local communities,” said Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton). “It’s clear that the federal government won’t be answering this call any time soon, so it is imperative that the State makes bold decisions now to facilitate large off-shore wind projects.”


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