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New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and Its Impacts on the Solid Waste Industry

October 29, 2021

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA or Climate Act) was signed into law in 2019, and the implications are now starting to be seen across many industries and municipal activities. The long-term effects of implementing this law are likely to give preference to certain technologies and increase costs for many projects. We are looking at the impacts of the law for all our clients and all B&L practice areas – particularly in the field of solid waste management.

The 2019 law established that New York will achieve a carbon neutral economy by mandating at least an 85% reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 through:

  • 40% reduction in emissions by 2030

  • 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2040

  • 70% renewable electricity by 2030

  • 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035

  • 6,000 MW of distributed solar by 2025

  • 3,000 MW of energy storage by 2030

  • Commitments to “climate justice and just transition”

The law created the Climate Action Council (CAC) and provided for 7 Advisory Panels, one of them being a Waste Advisory Panel. The Waste Advisory Panel made recommendations to the CAC to reduce emissions of methane and carbon dioxide through initiatives including:

  1. Banning the combustion or landfilling of food waste and other organics.

  2. Enacting a new state tax on all waste disposed in landfills and combustion facilities.

  3. Requiring installation of landfill gas collection systems sooner after waste placement.

  4. Expanding the NYS Food Scraps Recycling Law to smaller generators.

  5. Eliminating or increasing the mileage limit for the food waste recovery mandate.

  6. Eliminating the financial hardship exemption for the food waste recovery mandate.

Although specific regulations related to the Waste Advisory Panel recommendations have yet to be developed and enacted, the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has started requiring solid waste facility owners to address consistency with the CLCPA when modifying or applying for permits. CLCPA Section 7(2) requires the NYSDEC to consider three questions when issuing permits or making other administrative decisions:

  1. Is the project under review consistent with achieving the statewide GHG emission limits for 2030 and 2050?

  2. Is the project justified?

  3. If the project is justified but it is not consistent with the CLCPA, what mitigation measures will be required?

B&L continues to help our clients navigate these requests by the Department across a range of permit types while we monitor developing recommendations and mandates from the CAC. We anticipate resulting regulations will further clarify the compliance requirements for our clients, so expect to hear more about this in the coming months. Below are links to additional resources:

Climate Leadership and Protection Act (Full Text)

CLCPA Fact Sheet

Advisory Panels

Please do not hesitate to contact me or our Solid Waste staff below with any questions regarding the rapidly evolving CLCPA landscape.

Jillian M. Blake, P.E., LEED A.P.:

William (Bill) F. Doebler IV, QEP:

Luann Meyer:

Solid Waste

This article is from members of the Solid Waste Practice Area.

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