New York governor takes action on emissions and renewables

Governor George E. Pataki has announced the formation of a New York State Greenhouse Gas Task Force to develop policy recommendations for greenhouse gas emissions and global warming and has ordered the State to increase renewables use.

The New York State Greenhouse Gas Task Force will be comprised of 16 representatives from the business community, environmental organisations, State agencies, and universities. The Task Force will report back to the Governor with policy recommendations in November this year for consideration for incorporation in the New York State Energy Plan, which will be released next Spring.

Pataki has also announced an Executive Order that mandates energy efficiency measures at State facilities and encourages alternative energy purchases. The Order requires State agencies to implement energy efficient practices at State buildings, increase purchases of energy efficient products through the State procurement process and follow ‘green building’ standards during new construction or substantial renovation projects. Construction work has also begun on the world’s first ‘green’ high-rise residential building in New York City (see related story).

Most importantly, the Executive Order forces State departments to purchase no less than 10% of their energy requirements from renewable sources by 2005 and 20% by 2010, considerably reducing emissions in the US’s second most populous state of 18 million people. “With this new Executive Order, New York State is setting an example for the rest of the nation by promoting energy conservation and efficiency, reducing demands on our energy grid, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” Pataki said.

The Governor also called on the federal government to take action on emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and mercury. “New York has the most aggressive programme in the nation to combat acid rain, and we urge the federal government to support our efforts by instituting a nationwide programme that will result in major reductions in these four pollutants,” the Governor said. “I look forward to working with our Congressional delegation and the White House on this vital environmental issue. The steps I have announced will lower greenhouse gas emissions and also reduce energy costs, making us less dependent on energy imported from outside New York and helping to protect our air quality.”

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