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NYC Landlords Get Ready for Strict Building Emission Rules

Mayor Eric Adams called the rules the strictest in the nation and has pledged to help building owners receive technical assistance and use government and utility-based financing and funding for building upgrades.

New York City's updated buildings emissions standards will go into effect next year, and earlier this week Mayor Eric Adams announced a new plan to get those buildings' owners ready.

Adams billed the "Get 97 Done" plan — named for Local Law 97, the set of new rules that go into effect next year and Adams' favorite catch phrase of "get stuff done" — as a comprehensive plan to help prepare the city for the strictest building emissions rules in the nation.

The plan focuses on four key elements — utilizing government and utility-based financing and funding for building upgrades, providing owners with needed technical advice, implementing enforcement mechanisms via a city Department of Buildings rules package, and decarbonizing central systems in partnership with the state.

"I pledged to New Yorkers that our administration would work to reduce harmful carbon greenhouse gas emissions, and this administration is a 'promises made, promises kept' administration," Adams said. "Every part of the 'Getting 97 Done' plan builds towards one core goal: reversing the effects of climate changes. The data shows that our administration's efforts are already working, and we're going to continue moving forward. Building owners are learning every day that complying with Local Law 97 and going green will save green, and we are addressing climate change from all angles in New York City."

During a Staten Island visit last year, Adams stopped by Pratt Industries paper recycling plant, after which the location's general manager, Muneer Ahmad, said the law would "seriously" impact the plant.

Councilman David Carr (R-Mid-Island) introduced legislation last year that would exempt the plant, which employs about 300 people, from Local Law 97′s requirements, but that has stalled in the Council.

The law already offers a number of carve-outs for a variety of building-types, including industrial buildings that produce electric power or steam, city buildings and houses of worship.

"I believe Pratt Paper, a paper recycling and remanufacturing plant, needs to be exempted from Local Law 97," he said Tuesday. "I know the [Adams] Administration has been working with Pratt to shield them from the worst of effects of this jobs-killing legislation from the de Blasio era, but that is merely proof positive that a statutory exemption should be provided to an entity that is an original component of the green economy."

Adams said during that October 2022 tour that Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit Aggarawala had been working with the company to make sure it's in compliance with the law set to take effect, and that he did not want the new law to negatively impact businesses.

A DEP spokesperson said Tuesday that the department has been working with Pratt on ways to reduce the plant's carbon footprint, including pretreating its wastewater to create renewable energy, using renewable natural gas, and finding ways to electrify the plant. A Tuesday call to the plant was transferred to a full voicemail box.

While the emission requirements go into effect next year, buildings will need to meet increasingly stricter limits all the way through 2050.

So far, the city has helped 5,000 building owners ensure their properties meet the requirements of Local Law 97, and Adams announced Tuesday that the city would up those efforts with invitation-based workshops, in partnership with members of the City Council, where building owners can learn about the work done to meet compliance.

Additionally, the Department of Buildings, headed by former Borough President James Oddo, published a set of rules Tuesday under which building owners may be able to mitigate compliance fines in 2024, but only if they can demonstrate steps towards decarbonization that will result in them achieving their 2024 targets by 2027 and their 2030 targets on-time by 2030.

"Enforcement of Local Law 97 is one of the most significant and complex mandates we have at our department," Oddo said. "The agency's sustainability bureau has been working tirelessly so that the implementation of the country's most significant policy addressing buildings' carbon emissions results in meaningful emissions reductions. The comprehensive Getting 97 Done plan and the latest tranche of proposed agency rules were designed to maximize climate mobilization, by assisting property owners who are working to comply with the law while also giving real teeth to our enforcement procedures."

(c)2023 Staten Island Advance, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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