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Constantinides Introduces Bills That Aim to Make New York a Greener and More Resilient City

Queens Council Member Costa Constantinides (NYC Council)

Sept. 24, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Astoria Council Member Costa Constantinides introduced a number of bills Wednesday that he says will make New York a greener, storm-resilient city.

The first bill would require the city to create a set of resilience design guidelines for its capital projects, so that city buildings and infrastructure would be prepared for natural disasters and severe weather events.

It would require the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability to launch a pilot program to create the guidelines. Every capital project would then have to adhere to the uniform requirements, instead of an ad-hoc, multi-agency approach.

The bill aims to ensure that the city is ready for future storms brought on by climate change. The Atlantic Hurricane Season has already seen an unprecedented 23 named storms this year, Constantinides said.

The second bill the Council Member introduced would require the city to study what’s needed to transform New York’s buildings from a reliance on fossil fuels to renewal energy sources. The city would assess current barriers to doing so, such as associated costs, and what renewable energy sources are currently available to landlords.

The city would also study a possible timeframe for shifting existing buildings to renewable sources,  consistent with state and local greenhouse gas reduction goals. Once the study is done, city agencies would have a clear roadmap on how to power buildings with clean, renewable energy.

Lastly, Constantinides and Council Member Helen Rosenthal will introduce a resolution in support of a Congressional bill that would tax CO2 emissions, with the intent of sparking innovations in new clean technologies.

The City Council passes resolutions on state and federal issues that affect New York City. Resolutions express the recommendations and opinions of the city, which can influence state and federal legislation — but do not create new local laws.

  • Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, introduced the bills before the City Council during international climate week amid a difficult year of natural disaster.

  • “The COVID-19 pandemic, the wildfires on the West Coast, and the historic Atlantic hurricane season are a constant reminder we have to address the economic and public health catastrophic climate change has created,” he said Wednesday. “Today’s bills are another step toward cleaning our air, protecting us against extreme weather, and holding corporations accountable for their emissions.

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