New York, NY – Today, despite widespread public opposition, the Adams Administration finalized controversial rules to govern implementation and enforcement of Local Law 97, New York City’s Green New Deal for buildings. The new rules, which set key regulations into place, include massive loopholes for the real estate lobby, who are Mayor Adams’ largest campaign donors.
Food & Water Watch, New York Communities for Change, NYPIRG and TREEage issued the following statement:
“The Real Estate Board of New York won and New Yorkers lost today as Eric Adams put the demands of his largest donors over working New Yorkers’ needs. Under Mayor Adams’ rules for real estate, owners of New York City’s most polluting buildings will opt to delay or entirely avoid pollution reductions, leaving New Yorkers breathing more pollution, losing good jobs, and paying higher utility bills. We urge the next Mayor and Council to close Adams’ loophole-riddle rules. They have the power to protect our city from the Mayor’s action today, which repays his big donors in the real estate lobby while leaving the rest of us out in the cold.”
Passed in 2019, Local Law 97 requires buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to begin limiting climate-heating pollution, starting in 2024. The law is exceeding expectations: as of the most-recent data, 89% of the city’s buildings now meet the law’s 2024 requirements. Buildings are upgrading to high energy efficiency, saving money in the process. Local Law 97 is on track to create tens of thousands of jobs. Adams’ rules jeopardize these benefits by allowing the city’s most-polluting buildings to delay or even entirely avoid energy efficiency upgrades through two major loopholes:
- Two year or more delay program: Building owners can opt to delay the law’s pollution limits, which go into effect in 2024, by promising to follow the law two or more years later.
- Corporate buy-out loophole: Mayor Adams disregarded expert consensus and failed to set a tight limit on landlords’ purchasing of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) in place of upgrading their buildings. As a result, building owners can “buy out” of the law’s pollution reduction requirements by purchasing RECs. Under the final rule, approximately 50% of the pollution a building owner would have to reduce could be offset by purchase of RECs.