Queens councilwoman pushes proposal to delay enactment of Local Law 97 at town hall meeting

Councilwoman Vickie Paladino
Councilwoman Vickie Paladino discussed the impact that Local Law 97 has in her District 19 during a town hall meeting on Tuesday, May 2, at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center.
Photo by Stacey Pankavich

Councilwoman Vickie Paladino discussed the impact that Local Law 97 has in her District 19 during a town hall meeting on Tuesday, May 2, at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center. The meeting, which was co-hosted by Bob Friedrich and Warren Schreiber of the Presidents’ Co-op and Condo Council, drew a standing-room audience of over 400 concerned neighbors.

The goal of Local Law 97, which was passed in 2019, is to lower the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by New York City’s largest buildings. It applies to NYC buildings that exceed 25,000 square feet, or two or more buildings on the same tax lot and/or are overseen by the same board that combines to 50,000 square feet. This totals between 40,000 and 50,000 buildings across New York City.

As currently written, the law aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by the year 2030 and by 80% by 2050. Most importantly, compliance is required to begin in 2024 and fines to some noncompliant buildings would therefore begin to be levied next year.

Intro 913

Paladino is seeking grassroots support for her proposal, Intro 913, which seeks to delay the enactment of Local Law 97 for seven years. She first introduced the proposal to the New York City Council this past February which, she said, “will give our city and stakeholders time to properly plan and implement upgrades, without the looming fear of crippling penalties.”

Paladino was quick to assure the audience that environmental concerns are real.

“The technology is advancing rapidly, but giving ourselves a longer time frame for implementation would help ensure lower costs, better results and a cleaner planet,” she said. “However, the seven-year delay would allow for technology advancements “to catch up with the requirements of Local Law 97, bring costs down and, most importantly, allow for implementation in an economically feasible manner that helps our environment.”

City Council member Linda Lee, of District 23 also attended the meeting. She is among the nine council members who, as of this writing, have voted in favor of Intro 913.

However, a majority of NYC’s 51 council members need to vote in favor for the proposal to move forward.

“This is a bi-partisan bill and a bi-partisan issue,” Paladino said, “and we need your support.”

A call to action

Paladino issued a call to action, asking residents to write, call, and/or email members of the City Council repeatedly, district by district.

“I am writing in regards to Local Law 97. In its current form Local Law 97 will cripple the middle class with penalties and fines way beyond their means,” Paladino’s call to action states. “I urge you to sign onto Intro 913 by Councilwoman Vickie Paladino. Intro 913 will institute a seven-year delay of the implementation of Local Law 97. This delay will give co-op and condos time to gather the necessary resources to be in compliance. It will also give the city time to preform feasibility studies to determine if a mandate such as this is even feasible. We all recognize the threat that climate change imposes, however it is not fair to impose an unfunded mandate on the city’s working class. There are other ways to fight climate change that don’t involve bankrupting the middle class. Please consider signing onto and supporting Intro 913, without it we are facing a crisis with dire implications for New Yorkers. ”

Palaidno said residents can call or email each council member directly, or send a letter to their district offices.

“We thank you for your time and dedication to this cause,” Paladino said. “Your help is invaluable and we could not do it without your support.”

Those interested in following up with Paladino can contact her office via phone at 718-619-8611 or by sending an email to District19@council.nyc.gov.