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The NYS Legislative Session has begun… Let’s make concrete climate competitive!

A day after Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address last Wednesday, Jan 8, the NYS Legislature reconvened in Albany to begin the 2020 legislative session. Over the next 5...

A day after Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address last Wednesday, Jan 8, the NYS Legislature reconvened in Albany to begin the 2020 legislative session. Over the next 5 or so months members of the State Assembly and State Senate will be introducing, promoting, and debating hundreds of pieces of legislation concerning nearly every area of public policy. A small subset of these bills will be passed by both houses and ultimately signed into law by the governor.

OpenAir’s big ambition for 2020 is to make sure the Low Embodied Carbon Concrete Leadership Act, or LECCLA, (A08617) is one of them. 

LECCLA would require New York State to base its procurement of concrete for public and state funded projects on climate impact, as well as cost and other factors (watch this short explainer video for more details on how the bill works). Concrete is not only a major source of embodied carbon emissions (mostly because of its main ingredient, cement), but also has the potential to utilize and store CO2 in its mass, locking away the greenhouse gas safely and securely, pretty much forever.

In fact, a future in which concrete – the most commonly used substance in the world, after water – stores more carbon than is emitted in its production is an achievable goal that we’re already making progress towards. Because of this “carbon utilization” property we see concrete as an important market for CO2 sourced from Direct Air Carbon Capture (DACC) in the future. And because New York State is a major purchaser of concrete it has the potential to lead among states and push the concrete and cement industries towards lower CO2 emissions, and, ultimately, carbon negativity.

A challenging road ahead.

Passing A08617 won’t be easy and we certainly have our work cut out for us. For starters, LECCLA is a brand new bill that was introduced only in September by Assembly Member Robert Carroll of Brooklyn. So no one really knows about it yet. And the connection between climate and concrete is a subject that few legislators will have any prior understanding of. So building basic awareness of the bill and subject among legislators is a key first step to building support in the form of co-sponsorships and votes.

The bill also doesn’t have a version introduced in the State Senate yet. So identifying a committed sponsor in the upper chamber to champion our bill is another critical need.

Join us!

With these objectives in sight, at these early stage we’re focusing our collective efforts as constituents on raising awareness about the bill through direct contact with legislators. We’re starting with the Assembly, where the bill is already introduced.

Our first action is to make contact with as many assembly members as possible by phone to let them know about the bill and ask them to co-sponsor it. Check out our Call Guide for some direction on how to do that.

To join our community and help lead our advocacy efforts to pass LECCLA in 2020 come meetup with us on our Discord server. Here you can connect with others, find out about and participate in current actions, and learn about all things carbon removal, and share your ideas for impact.

Hope to see you there soon!

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