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Carbon Reduction, Gas Bans, Electrification: Updates on the NYS CLCPA
The New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) was passed by the state legislature in 2019 and set forth ambitious carbon reduction goals. Specifically, the CLCPA requires that by 2040, New York State achieves 100% zero- emission electricity and by 2050, reduces emissions at least 85% below 1990 levels. Since the law was passed, the New York State Climate Action Council, tasked with developing a scoping plan on how the state will reach its goals, has been working on the long-awaited details to fill the major gaps left by the CLCPA. On December 20, 2022 the Council voted to release a Draft Scoping Plan (the Plan) which is open for public comment through April 2022. The goal is that the Council will finalize a plan by the end of this year.
The Plumbing Foundation is currently working on comments to the Draft Scoping Plan and meeting with other stakeholders to strategize for getting our policymakers to understand the ramifications of the proposals in the Plan. Among its proposals, the Plan seeks to have 1-2 million homes and 10-20% of commercial buildings electrified with heat pumps by 2030. By 2050, the Plan seeks to have updated State Building Codes banning gas from new construction, and for 85% of homes and buildings to be electrified with heat pumps. The Plan says New York should ban gas hookups by 2024. Currently, Governor Kathy Hochul has a similar proposal in her Executive Budget which requires the ban to begin in 2027. Another bill being pushed by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher moves up that timeline to ban gas beginning after December 2023. It is very likely that some legislation will gain traction this legislative session.
What the Draft Scoping Plan seriously overlooks is who is going to bear the cost of electrifying 1-2 million homes by 2030 in New York State. While the Plan made admirable efforts to ensure low-income and disadvantaged communities will be subsidized and benefited throughout the transition to clean energy, it did not account for the rest of the state in any meaningful way. The middle class seems to be especially forgotten. The cost of electrifying 1-2 million homes by 2030 will no doubt be in the billions.
What is more disturbing in the Plan is that while renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen are mentioned, neither are thoroughly discussed in terms of the benefits and feasibility versus that of full electrification and use of heat pumps. There are over 4,500 miles of natural gas transmission lines, more than 5,500 natural gas gathering lines, nearly 50,000 miles of gas distribution pipelines, and over 37,000 miles of gas service lines in New York State. The Plan proposes to decommission natural gas plants and piping infrastructure rather than use this valuable resource to implement RNG and green hydrogen into the pipeline. Not totally surprising that this is disregarded to any real extent since the Plan’s discussion of displaced jobs fails to mention the plumbing industry in any real capacity.
Common-sense folk agree that the state needs to devise a plan to reach the CLCPA goals by implementing an “all the above” approach, meaning use of various technologies, including RNG and green hydrogen.
The Plumbing Foundation continues to review the Plan, its appendices, and additional research and reports as it responds to the Council’s recommendations. The comments will be submitted to the Council by the end of April.
*As an aside, congestion pricing, which was also passed in 2019 by the NYS Legislature and has somewhat been put on the back burner with hearings only beginning fall of 2021, will play a role in reaching the state’s carbon reduction goals. The Draft Scoping Plan advocates for the MTA to move forward with developing a plan in NYC to reduce vehicle congestion and therefore emissions. Governor Hochul’s budget legislation also has several proposals tied into congestion pricing. The Plumbing Foundation is also closely monitoring movement on this matter.
STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR OUR LICENSE RENEWAL COURSE!
Construction Trades License Training Corp. in partnership with SUNY Empire State College
7-hour NYC Master Plumber & Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Renewal Course
WHEN: Tues., April 5, 2022, 7:30 AM-4:30 PM
WHERE: Marriott New York LaGuardia*
102-05 Ditmars Blvd, East Elmhurst, NY 11369
NYC DEP NOTICE: New Rule Enhances Stormwater Management Requirements
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a statement on February 24, 2022 regarding its new Unified Stormwater Rule (USWR), which requires newly developed or redeveloped properties to more effectively manage stormwater on-site.
The USWR follows Local Law 91 of 2020 which enabled DEP to move forward on much needed Chapter 19.1 amendments. The USWR updates and aligns Chapters 31 (stormwater quantity and flow rate requirements) and 19.1 (construction/ post- construction permitting program water quality requirements) of Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York. Among the changes, the USWR increases the amount of stormwater required to be managed on a property and further restricts the release rates for all new and redevelopment projects requiring a DEP House or Site Connection proposal. It also makes updates to combined sewer areas, specifically expanding applicability to sites that disturb 20,000 square feet or more of soil or create new impervious surfaces of 5,000 square feet or more.
To read the full statement, visit:
REMINDER – Timeline for DOB Gas Qualification Cards
The Plumbing Foundation recently received inquiries into the timeline for getting the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) gas qualification card (Local Law 150/2016). Once an applicant has completed the application process through DOB NOW and can request an appointment at DOB, he/she can anticipate obtaining an appointment within approximately two weeks depending on demand (i.e., may be sooner than 2 weeks). At that appointment, the applicant will receive his/her DOB gas card.
New Mayoral Administration, New City Council, New Hope for the Plumbing Industry?
We are well into the first quarter of 2022 and there are still lingering questions about how NYC Mayor Eric Adams, his new administration, and the 35 new NYC Council Members will advocate for the NYC plumbing industry.
First, here is a review of some of the relevant appointments made in the Adams’ administration:
- Lorraine Grillo, First Deputy Mayor
- Frane Carone, Chief of Staff
- Tiffany Raspberry, Senior Adviser for External Affairs
- Dawn Pinnock, Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner
- Dan Garodnick, City Planning Director/Chair of City Planning Commission
- Rohit Aggarwala, Environmental Protection Commissioner/Chief Climate Officer
- Preston Niblack, Finance Commissioner
- Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Health Commissioner
- Adolfo Carrión, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner
- Zach Iscol, Emergency Management Commissioner
- Jocelyn Strauber, Investigations Commissioner
- Nina Kubota, School Construction Authority President/CEO
- Kevin Kim, Small Businesses Commissioner
- Ydanis Rodriguez, Transportation Commissioner
- Thomas Foley, Design and Construction Commissioner
- Melanie La Rocca, Chief Efficiency Officer (former Buildings Commissioner*)
- Kizzy Charles-Guzman, Executive Director of Office of Climate and Environmental Justice
- Lisa Flores, Director of Office of Contract Services
Second, here are key NYC Council Members to watch:
- Adrienne Adams, Speaker
- Keith Powers, Majority Leader
- Lynn Schulman, Chair of Health
- Justin Brannan, Chair of Finance
- Rafael Salamanca Jr., Chair of Land Use
- Diana Ayala, Deputy Speaker
- Pierina Sanchez, Chair of Housing & Buildings
- Jim Gennaro, Chair of Environmental Protections
- CM Selvena Brooks-Powers, Majority Whip
What the Plumbing Industry needs to drive home for our new and incumbent lawmakers and leaders is that the phrase “the plumber protects the health of the nation” is a literal and pertinent aspect of the trade, but who is going to protect the plumber? Here in NYC, master plumbers are local business owners working hard to maintain the health and safety of water and gas infrastructure while constantly battling unnecessary red tape, including at the filing level at the Department of Buildings, and from rules coming down from the state and city making it harder and harder to run a business in New York State. COVID pay, for one, will bankrupt businesses. Insurance costs continue to skyrocket. What’s next?
When it comes to informed policymaking, what our elected officials need to know is that licensed master plumbers and their respective trade associations are extremely valuable resources in understanding the practical implications of the laws and policies they pass or are contemplating passing. These professional business owners are seasoned plumbers working with educated and experienced association professionals, consultants, and lobbyists who are available to assist in meaningful ways to ensure our laws, codes and rules are safe, effective, and make practical sense.
The Plumbing Industry has its year cut out in terms of educating these new public officials of what it means to be a plumber and what plumbers do for society. But it has a huge opportunity to make great improvements to policies, many of which are outdated or inherently flawed.
*Melanie La Rocca has been appointed the Chief Efficiency Officer of the city but as of printing of this newsletter remains wearing “two hats” until a new Buildings Commissioner is appointed.
Every Drop Counts!
WaterSense® is a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). WaterSense make is easy to save water. It is both a label for water-efficient products and a resource for water-saving tips.
WHAT DOES WATERSENSE DO?
The WaterSense label is a simple way for consumers to identify water-efficient products, new homes, and programs that meet EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance. WaterSense labeled products use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.
EPA also supports landscape irrigation professionals certified by WaterSense labeled programs focusing on water efficiency. A full listing of WaterSense labeled products is available on the WaterSense website at www.epa.gov/watersense/products.
WHY PROMOTE WATER EFFICIENCY?
Managing water is a growing concern in the United States. Water managers in at least 36 states expect local, statewide, or regional water shortages to occur over the next few years. Wasting less water in our homes and yards also saves energy and money on utility bills and improves the quality of our water resources nationwide.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Saving water is easy—WaterSense labeled products are available in a variety of styles, colors, and price points—and it doesn’t require changing the way most of us live or do business. By choosing products with the WaterSense label, you know you’ll be saving water for future generations.
- Consumers can reduce their water bills by as much as 30 percent by using WaterSense labeled products and other water-efficient appliances.
- Manufacturers can differentiate themselves in the marketplace by offering WaterSense labeled products that perform as well as or better than standard models.
- Businesses can help increase the marketability of the water-efficient products they sell and reduce their operating costs by adopting water-efficient best management practices.
- Builders can partner with WaterSense to construct homes that use less water inside and out.
BE FOR WATER AND START SAVING!
Anyone can join We’re for Water—a campaign sponsored by EPA to educate consumers about the importance of water efficiency—by taking the I’m for Water pledge on the WaterSense website (www.epa.gov/watersense). “Like” WaterSense on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EPAwatersense) or follow on Twitter (@EPAwatersense).
THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: Anthony D. Altimari, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano
THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT
Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.