What Is New York State’s Cap-and-Invest Program?

Superior Plus Propane

As you may have recently heard, New York State has initiated new legislation called the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  One piece of the Climate Act is a “Cap-and-Invest” program that establishes an annual declining cap on emissions by placing a tax on usage of fuels such as propane, heating oil, and natural gas.

What is Cap-and-Invest?

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation along with its Energy Research and Development Authority have designed, “a program that sets an annual cap on the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that is permitted to be emitted in New York. The declining cap ensures annual emissions are reduced, setting the state on a trajectory to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements of 40% by 2030” (New York Cap-and-Invest – New York’s Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (ny.gov)). The Cap-and-Invest Program applies “a price to the amount of pollution” (New York Cap-and-Invest – New York’s Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (ny.gov)).  “The idea of the program was to place caps on how much companies can pollute, which will decrease year-over-year, and it required them to purchase emissions allowances if they expect to exceed the cap that will also gradually decrease” (How will New York’s cap-and-invest program shape up? – City & State New York (cityandstateny.com)).

This broad legislation would have an effect on consumers, as well as businesses in New York. The Cap-and-Invest Program would affect everything from the cost of heating, cooling and transportation to rent, food prices, and more, because all of these are impacted by fuel costs.  If fully implemented, conversion to electricity may be required by all residents, regardless of cost.

How does this affect you?

The cap-and-Invest Program will cause fuel price increases and greater stress on the U.S. electric grid.  Gasoline prices could rise by as much as 63 cents per gallon, the average natural gas bill could increase by $530 per year, heating oil up by $600, and propane prices may land somewhere in the middle. Additionally, pressure on businesses to reduce emissions will likely cause more and more businesses to go electric, which in turn will burden the electric grid.

What Can I Do?

Speak your mind! Let the New York legislature know where you stand on the Cap-and-Invest Program.  To submit feedback on this program to the DEC and NYSERDA, submit comments here.

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