NYSDEC Releases Guidance Documents for CLCPA and CRRA Compliance
This past December, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued two policies that will help mitigate the impacts of climate change. The first, Commissioner’s Policy on Climate Change (CP-49), outlines guidance on how to comply with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 (CLCPA) and the Community Risk and Resiliency Act of 2014 (CRRA). The second, Division of Air Resources Policy (DAR-21), offers guidance for completing air permit applications in accordance with Section 7(2) of CLCPA.
The CLCPA mandates that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in New York State are decreased 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050, with emissions levels in 1990 used as the baseline. As per Section 7(2) of the CLCPA, all state agencies must take into consideration whether administrative decisions related to contracts, grants, loans, licenses, and permits are out of alignment with CLCPA requirements. If agency actions might hinder the achievement of GHG emissions limits, the agency needs to explain its decision in detail and either propose alternative options or provide strategies to attenuate emissions.
CP-49: Commissioner’s Policy on Climate Change and DEC Action
CP-49 sets out strategies that agencies can follow to comply with the CLCPA and CRRA. Recommendations for compliance include providing assistance to climate change planning programs, updating current policies, and assessing everyday operational procedures. Reaching the emissions limits set out in the CLCPA will necessitate major changes statewide, and may include shifting to the use of zero- or low-carbon fuels, a major transition to using electricity to power buildings and vehicles, and determining locations other than landfills that organic materials can be sent to.
The NYSDEC will also take into account the effects its decisions may have on disadvantaged communities. Further, it will evaluate potential future climate threats by making projections of how the climate will change and by identifying and addressing any weaknesses discovered in climate-related policies. Additionally, CP-49 stresses the importance of CRRA compliance, which includes accounting for possible physical damages from climate change. Potential risks that must be considered include flooding, rising sea levels, and storm surge.
DAR-21: Division of Air Resources Policy on the CLCPA and Air Permit Applications
DAR-21 describes the requirements that must be met to ensure that air permit applications are in compliance with the CLCPA. These applications must include analyses to consider all emissions that can be attributed to a project, including those from indirect sources, like importing electricity from out of state and obtaining and transmitting fossil fuels.
A statement of justification is needed if the NYSDEC determines that a project will go against New York State’s GHG emissions reduction goals. Projects may be justified if they must be implemented to ensure the safety and quality of systems that are already in place or to prevent greater harms that would occur if the project was not implemented.
Walden continues to track regulatory changes to keep our clients up to date with compliance. If you have any questions on the impacts these regulatory changes may have at your facility, please contact us at 516-758-1273.