Bill Text: NY A06251 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes the "pollution justice act of 2021"; implements a plan to replace peaker plant electric generating facilities with renewable energy systems.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 11-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-03-10 - referred to environmental conservation [A06251 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-A06251-Introduced.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                          6251

                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                     March 10, 2021
                                       ___________

        Introduced  by M. of A. CARROLL -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Environmental Conservation

        AN ACT to amend the  environmental  conservation  law,  in  relation  to
          establishing  the  "pollution  justice act of 2021" and implementing a
          plan to replace peaker plants with renewable energy systems

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "pollution
     2  justice act of 2021".
     3    § 2. Article 19 of the environmental conservation law  is  amended  by
     4  adding a new title 13 to read as follows:
     5                                  TITLE 13
     6                                PEAKER PLANTS
     7  Section 19-1301. Statement of findings.
     8          19-1303. Definitions.
     9          19-1305. Mandatory replacement and compliance plan.
    10          19-1307. Extensions for cause.
    11          19-1309. Prohibitions.
    12          19-1311. Exemptions.
    13  § 19-1301. Statement of findings.
    14    1.  Electric generating units that generally operate during periods of
    15  peak electricity demand are known as peaker plants. Many  peaker  plants
    16  in  the  state  are  older  fossil fuel-fired units that emit greenhouse
    17  gases and a variety of other harmful  air  pollutants  including  sulfur
    18  oxides, nitrogen oxides, particulates and mercury.
    19    2. A substantial number of peaker plants are located in or adjacent to
    20  environmental  justice  communities  in  the  city  of New York and Long
    21  Island that already bear disproportionate pollution  burdens  due  to  a
    22  history  of siting pollution sources in those communities. More than one
    23  million New Yorkers live within one mile of a peaker plant.

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD04461-03-1

        A. 6251                             2

     1    3. Pollutants from peaker  plants  contribute  to  significant  public
     2  health problems. According to the New York city department of health and
     3  mental  hygiene's  air  pollution  and the health of New Yorkers report:
     4  "each year, PM2.5 pollution in (New York City) causes  more  than  3,000
     5  deaths,  2,000  hospital  admissions  for lung and heart conditions, and
     6  approximately 6,000 emergency department visits for asthma  in  children
     7  and  adults."    According  to  the report, each year exposures to ozone
     8  concentrations above background levels cause an estimated "400 premature
     9  deaths, 850 hospitalizations for asthma and 4,500  emergency  department
    10  visits for asthma."
    11    4. Peaker plants often operate during summer months when air pollution
    12  levels are highest and their emissions add to existing pollution burdens
    13  in  environmental  justice  communities and contribute to adverse health
    14  effects in those communities from air pollution.
    15    5. The owners and operators of peaker plants have received billions of
    16  dollars in capacity payments from ratepayers over  the  last  decade  to
    17  subsidize  operation  of  their plants, even though the plants primarily
    18  operate during peak load periods.
    19    6. Fossil fuel-burning peaker plants can be  replaced  with  renewable
    20  energy systems that will eliminate or significantly reduce air pollution
    21  impacts  to  environmental  justice  communities from peaker plant oper-
    22  ations.
    23    7. Replacement of fossil fuel-burning  peaker  plants  with  renewable
    24  energy  systems is in the public interest, will save millions of dollars
    25  in environmental and human health-related damages, will promote environ-
    26  mental justice and will assist in meeting the  greenhouse  gas  emission
    27  reduction  and energy storage goals of the climate leadership and commu-
    28  nity protection act.
    29  § 19-1303. Definitions.
    30    1. "Adjacent to" shall mean within a radius of one mile from the plant
    31  property boundary.
    32    2. "Economically distressed area" shall mean an area characterized  by
    33  a  poverty rate of at least twenty percent or an unemployment rate of at
    34  least one hundred twenty-five  percent  of  the  statewide  unemployment
    35  rate.
    36    3.  "Environmental justice community" means an economically distressed
    37  area or minority community and includes, but is not limited to, environ-
    38  mental justice areas identified by the department.
    39    4. "Ethnic group" shall mean those groups identified in the definition
    40  of minority group member in subdivision eight of section  three  hundred
    41  ten of the executive law.
    42    5.  "Minority  community" shall mean any census tract, census block or
    43  census block group that includes twenty-five  percent  or  more  of  any
    44  ethnic group.
    45    6.  "Operating permit" shall have the meaning set forth in subdivision
    46  eighteen of section 19-0107 of this article.
    47    7. "Renewable energy systems" shall have  the  meaning  set  forth  in
    48  section  sixty-six-p of the public service law and may also include firm
    49  zero emission resources such as long-duration energy storage.
    50    8. "Replace" or "replacement" means the construction and operation  of
    51  a  renewable  energy  system, battery or energy storage, or transmission
    52  and distribution infrastructure that enables the provision of the equiv-
    53  alent maximum annual power output achieved  by  the  replaceable  peaker
    54  plant  during  any  single  year  during  the  ten  years  preceding the
    55  submission of an application to renew an operating permit.

        A. 6251                             3

     1    9. "Replaceable peaker plant" means a major electric generating facil-
     2  ity as defined in paragraph b of subdivision one of section  19-0312  of
     3  this  article that burns coal, oil, diesel or natural gas and was opera-
     4  tional and generated electricity less than fifteen percent of  the  year
     5  during  at least two years between two thousand ten through two thousand
     6  nineteen and that is located in or adjacent to an environmental  justice
     7  community.
     8  § 19-1305. Mandatory replacement and compliance plan.
     9    1. The owner or operator of a replaceable peaker plant shall submit to
    10  the  department as part of an application to renew an operating permit a
    11  mandatory replacement and compliance plan that shall include, at a mini-
    12  mum, the following:
    13    a. The number of days and hours such plant operated during each of the
    14  previous ten years;
    15    b. The annual power output of such plant for each of the previous  ten
    16  years;
    17    c. The fuel or fuels utilized by such plant to generate power;
    18    d.  A  proposed  strategy  to  replace the plant with renewable energy
    19  systems or battery storage or a combination thereof. The strategy shall,
    20  at a minimum, set forth the type or types of  renewable  energy  systems
    21  and  battery  storage to be utilized, the proposed location or locations
    22  of such renewable energy systems and battery storage, and  the  electric
    23  generating  capacity  of such renewable energy systems and battery stor-
    24  age;
    25    e. A timetable for implementation of the proposed replacement strategy
    26  that shall not exceed five years from the date of renewal of the operat-
    27  ing permit and that shall ensure that the renewable energy  systems  and
    28  battery  storage are fully operational, and the operations of the peaker
    29  plant can be completely replaced, on or before five years from the  date
    30  of renewal of the operating permit; and
    31    f.  A  demonstration  of how the proposed renewable energy systems and
    32  battery storage strategy and timetable for  implementation  will  comply
    33  with  the renewable energy goals set forth in section sixty-six-p of the
    34  public service law.
    35    2. The  department  shall  provide  public  notice  of  the  mandatory
    36  replacement and compliance plan and an opportunity for public comment on
    37  the plan of not less than sixty days. The department shall hold at least
    38  two  public  hearings  on the plan in the affected environmental justice
    39  community or communities,  with  such  public  hearings  offering  video
    40  participation and accessibility.
    41    3.  After  review and consideration of public comments, the department
    42  shall approve, approve with modifications or disapprove the plan.
    43    4. Upon approval of the mandatory replacement and compliance plan, the
    44  owner or operator of the replaceable peaker plant  shall  implement  the
    45  plan  in  accordance with the schedule set forth in the plan and provide
    46  to the department an annual compliance and progress report beginning one
    47  year after the department approves the plan. The department  shall  make
    48  each annual compliance and progress report available on its website.
    49    5. If the department disapproves a proposed plan, the department shall
    50  inform  the owner or operator of the replaceable peaker plant in writing
    51  of the reasons for such disapproval and shall identify the  portions  of
    52  the  disapproved  plan  that  need to be modified. The owner or operator
    53  shall submit a modified plan within sixty days of receiving the  depart-
    54  ment's written notice of disapproval. The modified plan shall be subject
    55  to  the  notice  and  public comment and hearing procedures set forth in
    56  this section.

        A. 6251                             4

     1  § 19-1307. Extensions for cause.
     2    1.  The  owner  or operator of a replaceable peaker plant may apply to
     3  the department for a single five-year  extension  of  the  deadline  for
     4  replacement set forth in section 19-1305 of this article.
     5    2.  The  department shall provide public notice of the application for
     6  any such extension, and an opportunity for public comment on such appli-
     7  cation, of not less than sixty days. The department shall hold at  least
     8  two  public  hearings  on  the application in the affected environmental
     9  justice community or communities, with  such  public  hearings  offering
    10  video  participation  and  accessibility. Any such public hearings shall
    11  also explore the option of transitioning the  replaceable  peaker  plant
    12  into the ownership or control of the New York power authority, an entity
    13  that  currently owns and operates several peaker plants in the state, to
    14  manage the transition to renewable energy and battery storage systems.
    15    3. After review and consideration of public comments,  the  department
    16  shall approve, approve with modifications, or disapprove the application
    17  for a single five-year extension.
    18    4.  The  department  may  only  grant  an application for an extension
    19  request upon a  showing  by  the  applicant,  by  clear  and  convincing
    20  evidence,  that  (a)  replacement  of  the  plant  with renewable energy
    21  systems and battery storage by the deadline is  not  feasible,  (b)  the
    22  department  of  public  service, in consultation with the New York inde-
    23  pendent system operator, has made a written determination that extending
    24  the deadline for the plant is necessary to maintain reliability  of  the
    25  electric grid, and (c) the continued operation of the peaker plant would
    26  not  result  in  adverse  health  impacts for the impacted environmental
    27  justice communities.
    28  § 19-1309. Prohibitions.
    29    1. Except as provided in section 19-1307  of  this  title,  no  person
    30  shall  operate a replaceable peaker plant that is not in compliance with
    31  the requirements of this title and the department  shall  not  issue  an
    32  operating  permit  or renew an operating permit for a replaceable peaker
    33  plant that does not have an approved mandatory replacement  and  compli-
    34  ance plan.
    35    2.  The  department  shall  not  issue an operating permit or renew an
    36  operating permit for a replaceable peaker plant that has  not  completed
    37  implementation  of  a  mandatory  replacement and compliance plan by the
    38  deadline set forth in the plan.
    39  § 19-1311. Exemptions.
    40    1. A replaceable peaker plant is not subject to  the  requirements  of
    41  this  title  if the owner or operator of the plant has submitted written
    42  notification to the department of public service that the plant will  be
    43  permanently  retired on or before the first day of January, two thousand
    44  twenty-six.
    45    2. The department shall, effective on or before the first day of Janu-
    46  ary, two thousand twenty-six, revoke the operating permit of a replacea-
    47  ble peaker plant for which written notification has been provided to the
    48  department of  public  service  pursuant  to  subdivision  one  of  this
    49  section.
    50    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
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