Friday, February 27, 2009

NY State Bar Association issues report on Climate Change

The NYS State Bar Association's Task Force on Global Warming issued it's report "Taking Action on Climate Change" in January, 2009. The Task Force recommends that New York adopt a "statewide comprehensive climate change strategy" with "a target to reduce New York's greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050" (pg. 34). The report contains 22 proposals to meet this strategy that are broken into 4 catagories: Building and Energy; Land Use; Vehicles and Traffic; and Other Initiatives. Some of the proposals related to "green" building and development are:
  • Improve incentives for "green" building, and centralize the information on available incentives.

  • Expedite the approval process for "climate-friendly" projects, and prioritize "green" building projects for affordable housing.

  • Eliminate the "50% rule" in the State Energy Conservation Construction Code to broaden its applicability to building renovations. Renovation projects involving less than 50% of the "building subsystem" are currently exempt.

  • Require "green" building standards for all school construction.

  • Amend the State Environmental Quality Review Act to require environmental impact statements to document GHG emissions and climate change considerations.

  • Require GHG emissions considerations to be included in municipal comprehensive plans.

The report is a wealth of information. Please let me know your thoughts or comments on any of the topics in the report.

I intend to Post on a minimum of Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME AND ENCOURAGED!


Being a land use attorney brings a unique perspective to the many interests at play in the making of land use decisions. In the course of any application, you encounter public policy and private property issues that require both advocacy and compromise in hopefully attaining the goals of your client while serving the common good.

Recently, I have been immersed in issues involving "green building" and sustainable development. I have researched the "legislating" of "green building", familiarized myself with "LEED" and other "green building" certification models, and studied the science of environmental impacts on commercial, industrial and residential development to gain an overview of what might be accomplished by bringing concepts of sustainable development to the forefront in our planning processes.

My goal with this blog is to create a dialogue between towns, villages, cities, their planning boards and ZBA's, counties, developers, engineers, designers, surveyors, attorneys, IDA's, empire zones, building associations, and the like, in order to set a course in which "green building" and sustainable development become primary in the decisionmaking on all land use matters. This is a "from the ground up" endeavor. Let's make things happen!

Jay R. Myrow