New York Governor Signs Community Risk and Resiliency Act

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Community Risk and Resiliency Act to strengthen New York State’s preparedness for the effects of climate change and help protect communities against severe weather and sea level rise. Photo credit: Newsday

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Community Risk and Resiliency Act to strengthen New York State’s preparedness for the effects of climate change and help protect communities against severe weather and sea level rise. Photo credit: Newsday

New York State has taken an important step toward climate change resilience with the passage of the Community Risk Reduction and Resiliency Act. This important legislation, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 22 and supported by a coalition led by The Nature Conservancy, requires decision makers to use the best available science in order to proactively consider sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding when issuing certain state funding and permits.

Under the new law, sponsored by Senator Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, state agencies will be required to assess potential future climate risks related to storm surges, rising sea levels and any other conditions when making certain permitting, funding and regulatory decisions.
The law also requires agencies such as the Department of Environmental Conservation to create official projections of climate risk every five years on January 1, starting in 2016, and both the DEC and the Department of State to be directly involved in helping local communities implement better pre-emptive defense against extreme weather.

“The bill was passed in part thanks to the vocal support of the public who downloaded letters and mailed them to Gov. Cuomo” stated Jessica Ottney, Director of Government Relations for the New York chapter of The Nature Conservancy. “Public comments really made an impact and we want to thank everyone for helping to make this change happen.”

The new law implements some of the recommendations made by the NYS 2100 Commission, established following Superstorm Sandy to report on ways to improve the State’s resilience. Nature Conservancy staff working in coastal resilience were appointed to that Commission and helped to shape that important report. With this new law, New York State recognizes that climate is changing, and is demonstrating that being prepared is the most prudent way to mitigate risk. Learn more and find other ways to take action at nature.org/nypolicy.

Read more information on Coastal Resilience in New York http://coastalresilience.org/project-areas/new-york-introduction/