De Blasio Administration Releases PlaNYC Progress Report, Highlighting Major Accomplishments on Sustainability and Resiliency Efforts

April 22, 2014

Newly-created Mayor’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency continues to push forward major climate resiliency initiatives—including city’s first coastal protection initiative, building upgrades, and much more

New York City marks 19 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, cleanest air in 50 years

NEW YORK—Today, the de Blasio administration released a comprehensive progress report on the community development and planning, infrastructure and climate change programs outlined in PlaNYC, continuing and expanding on the work of the Bloomberg administration and including updates on the city’s sustainability and—for the first time—resiliency initiatives.

Last month, Mayor de Blasio announced the new Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Today’s report shows substantial early progress on the city’s resiliency efforts—which are now being led by ORR—detailing 257 initiatives, that including:

  • Major progress on the city’s first comprehensive coastal protection plan for our 520 miles of coastline, including 1.2 million cubic yards of sand as beach replenishment on the Rockaway peninsula, Coney Island, and Staten Island, with another 2.9 million cubic yards on track to be placed this year.
  • Securing reforms to the national flood insurance program to keep insurance available and affordable for New Yorkers.
  • Upgrading city building code and operations to protect buildings in the floodplain against floods, wind, and prolonged power outages through 17 local laws that have passed the City Council.
  • Settling a multi-year rate case for electricity, steam, and natural gas to hold ConEd delivery costs flat for the coming years, while requiring the utility to make resilient investments in its facilities to protect against future extreme weather.
  • Expanding efforts to ensure that post-Sandy rebuilding and hazard mitigation efforts lead to economic opportunities for all New Yorkers.

 The report also includes 132 updates on the city’s sustainability efforts, including:

  • Accelerating energy efficiency improvements by expanding the NYC Carbon Challenge to include multifamily buildings.
  • The cleanest New York City air in 50 years thanks to air quality programs like NYC Clean Heat, which supports building owners converting to cleaner sources of energy.
  • A reduction in citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent since 2005, two-thirds of the way to the goal of a 30 percent reduction by 2030.
  • Moving forward a solar energy system that will increase the city’s renewable energy capacity by 50 percent, on the former Fresh Kills landfill site on Staten Island.
  • 500 brownfield sites cleaned up, 70 percent of which are in underserved communities, which will also enable new affordable housing and create thousands of new jobs in the process. The city launched the Affordable Housing Cleanup Fund to specifically promote affordable and supportive housing projects as part of the brownfield cleanup program.
  • Launched the Food Waste Challenge to divert organic waste from landills, reducing waste by 2,500 tons in the last six months.

The full PlaNYC Progress Report can be read here.

“A more sustainable, more resilient New York is a stronger and safer New York,” said Mayor de Blasio. “From the cleanest New York City air in 50 years and a real reduction in greenhouse gases, to major progress on coastal protection, building code upgrades, and other key resiliency measures, we are setting a global example for an urban future. That’s why we continue this critical work to ensure a city that is equitable, sustainable and resilient for all.”

“The city and its partners have made substantial progress on these 257 resiliency efforts, and we know we have much more hard work to do,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “By continuing to pursue a more sustainable and more resilient New York, we will improve the lives of all New Yorkers in all five boroughs and prepare our city for the challenges of the future.”

“I am happy to support the Mayor’s initiatives in PlaNYC that focuses on community development, infrastructure building, and climate change programs to create a more sustainable urban city that will set an example for future generations. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New York City has emerged more united than ever with a common goal of creating better, more resilient communities, and I look forward to working with the Mayor and local efforts towards that end,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks.

“At our best, we know it’s possible to rebuild from disaster to truly be stronger than ever,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “I commend Mayor de Blasio for focusing on making that potential a reality, for those who are still suffering the consequences of Sandy from Lower Manhattan to the Rockaways.”

“I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio for his commitment towards keeping New York City on the path towards a cleaner, environmentally advanced city. It is fitting that we announce the cleanest New York City air in 50 years and the reduction in greenhouse gasses as well as the other major accomplishments on Earth Day,” said State Senator Jose M. Serrano. “I am confident that PlaNYC will continue to make progress towards a more sustainable environment.”

“It's great to see Mayor de Blasio making it a big priority of his administration to continue New York City’s work on sustainability and resiliency right out of the gate. As a representative of a district hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, I know all too well the urgent need to address coastal protection projects and the climate crisis, to mitigate to effects of extreme weather events that will inevitably strike again, and to do our part to reduce greenhouse gas pollution,” said Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the New York State Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

“I am enthusiastic about continuing PlaNYC’s progress and congratulate Mayor de Blasio on pushing initiatives to benefit all of us. This forward-thinking agenda and investment will improve our lives and create a greener and greater New York for generations,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic.

“While our main focus remains on rebuilding our communities, long-term resiliency is our highest priority,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “This report will accelerate our efforts and play a critical role in providing our communities the resources they need to institute precautionary measures and ensure the proper mitigation for future potential storm damage. I want to thank the Mayor for his leadership and partnership to help our families in southern Queens and Rockaway and throughout our city become more resilient for the future.”

“Hurricane Sandy amplified the importance of an aggressive sustainability agenda for our city,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “For Sandy-impacted neighborhoods like Red Hook, the only way we can maintain affordable housing, high-quality jobs and good health in our communities is by ensuring that resilience is the centerpiece of all community development efforts. I commend the administration for the steps they have taken to advance resiliency initiatives, including the creation of the new Office of Recovery and Resiliency, and I look forward to our continued partnership as we tackle the challenges associated with sea level rise.” 

“The reality is we are never going to fully escape the challenges that come with being a coastal city with hundreds of miles of waterfront, especially given the growing impacts of climate change. With that in mind, it is critical that we look to proven, tested resiliency measures that can help minimize the impact on our most vulnerable neighborhoods. I will support efforts to help better prepare us for whatever Mother Nature brings our way, and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for focusing on this important issue. As we continue the long recovery from Hurricane Sandy, we must also move toward using innovative resiliency measures to better protect our communities and residents from future weather events,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

“As climate change continues to present unique challenges to the landscape of our city, we must do all that we can to build a resilient and sustainable New York,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “It is essential that we learn from Hurricane Sandy; we must invest in our infrastructure,  cut greenhouse emissions and improve our city. I applaud the de Blasio administration for laying out their first initiatives to make our city greener.”

“A greener, more resilient city is also a more just city, where residents of all backgrounds and income levels can enjoy high-quality parks, efficient mass transit, healthy air and clean drinking water,” said New York League of Conservation Voters President Marcia Bystryn. “We applaud Mayor de Blasio and his administration for making progress on the critical issues of sustainability and resiliency, and we look forward to further collaboration to ensure our neighborhoods, people and economy are stronger and better prepared for the future.”

“NYC Clean Heat, one of PlaNYC’s most successful initiatives, is putting cleaner energy within reach of all New Yorkers,” said Andy Darrell, NY regional director of Environmental Defense Fund, a national environmental organization headquartered in New York City. “In just a few years, NYC Clean Heat upgraded more than 3,000 buildings and cut citywide sulfur dioxide pollution a whopping 69 percent, while improving building efficiency. NYC Clean Heat is a blueprint for empowering New Yorkers to lead the transition to the cleanest energy available today.”

“Of all the pressing issues the de Blasio administration is facing, protecting our coastal city in the era of sea level rise trumps them all. The Mayor’s report shows a good start, and we must not lose a step in this generational effort to protect New Yorkers from the Sandys of the future,” said Roland Lewis, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.

“We are glad the administration recognizes how much the 17 local laws recommended by the Building Recovery Task Force will help protect New Yorkers during future extreme weather events and is committed to the effort to make our buildings more resilient to climate change,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council and Task Force Chair. “Reducing carbon pollution 30 percent by 2030 and working to prevent the worst effects of climate change is also an essential part of resiliency.”

“The city continues to make progress on improving climate resilience and I’m encouraged to see Mayor de Blasio’s leadership build on that progress. I look forward to working with the Mayor to ensure the commitment of sustainability, human resiliency and social cohesion at the community level,” said Peggy Shepard, executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Action.

“The city had made tremendous gains to improve the sustainability and resiliency of our city’s systems,” said Michael Northrop of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. “With climate change and extreme weather events upon us, the time is now to redouble our efforts, and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for leading on this. Our work has only just begun.”

“The environment is a vital asset to all New Yorkers. Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to improving New York City’s status as a global leader in sustainability will serve as a blueprint for other cities across the country and around the world,” said Steven Spinola, President of the Real Estate Board of New York. “The Real Estate Board of New York is proud to participate in the important work of making our city more resilient and stronger than ever.”

“At New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation, every day is Earth Day, as we help New Yorkers put money back in their pockets by upgrading their building energy systems to clean alternatives,” said Susan Leeds, CEO of NYCEEC. “As a recent non-profit financing solution center created pursuant to PlaNYC, NYCEEC has unlocked over $50 million in funding for clean energy projects that reduce particulate matter, pollution and carbon emissions across the five boroughs.”

“New York’s commitment to robust resiliency planning is critical to the future of Lower Manhattan—with its miles of waterfront—and to neighborhoods across the city. Mayor de Blasio’s team is moving on a wide variety of fronts to strengthen our collective response to this enormously important challenge,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “We look forward to partnering with the Mayor and his agencies to put New York in the vanguard of resiliency and climate change planning.”

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