ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The budget is now five days late and lawmakers are still in negotiations. The Department of Environmental Conservation says the Cap and Invest program continues to be a discussion. The program would make polluters pay for the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they’re putting in the atmosphere.
Conor Bambrick, Policy Director at Environmental Advocates New York, said the Climate Action Council came up with this plan. “So they would cap the amount of pollution at a certain level, so we’re talking about the power producing sector, we’re talking about transportation, we’re talking about industry and buildings, cap that and force the polluters to pay for every ton of greenhouse gas emissions that they are producing below that cap, below and up to that cap,” said Bambrick.
But if a company goes over that cap, they pay more. The goal is to incentivize industries to reduce pollution and produce revenue to ensure New Yorkers have resources to get off of fossil fuels. The program would also provide climate action rebates. “They want the authority to be able to provide some sort of a rebate or payment system to households and small businesses in the state,” said Bambrick.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said the main concern for the Cap and Invest program is costs, “We need to develop a program that will work for New York. We want to remain at the Vanguard of climate action nationally, right? But it must be affordable.”
In the state’s current climate law the potential global warming impact is measured every 20 years however lawmakers are looking to change that to every 100 years. Environmental advocates find this problematic. “That’s significant, because methane in particular, it’s potentially the most potent greenhouse gas that there is. However, it’s only active over a 20 to 30-year timeframe,” explained Bambrick. Commissioner Seggos is not including this as part of the budget.