The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has created an Office of Climate Change which has as its purpose developing “responses needed for significant emissions reductions.” In addition to working on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGHI) a ten state cap and trade program to reduce CO2 emissions, the office is developing regulatory programs including integrating a climate change element into government decision making.
Silverberg Zalantis LLP has recently contributed to this discussion in an article published in the New York Law Journal. The article entitled “Ultimate Challenge to SEQRA” discusses the use of New York’s SEQRA regulations to address climate change issues during the environmental review process for new projects. In addition, it is our understanding that the Office of Climate Change is looking at possible modifications to the SEQRA regulations in order to implement a more standardized review of GHGs and related issues during the review process.
The Office of Climate Change is also reviewing a wide range of related topics including the need for adaptation techniques and new technologies such as biofuels and carbon capture and storage. No doubt this office will be an important resource to the State of New York in addressing climate change issues going forward.