New York’s Local Law 97 requires buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to reduce carbon pollution by 40% by 2030 and become emissions-free by 2050.

Co-op and condo owners say New York City’s landmark climate law is saddling them with bills worth tens of thousands of dollars to fund environmentally friendly upgrades, which has fueled a push to soften restrictions on building emissions. A new bill in the City Council would ease penalties for some owners whose buildings don’t meet emission goals set out in Local Law 97.

Key points include:

  • Local Law 97 requires buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to reduce carbon pollution by 40% by 2030 and become emissions-free by 2050. Non-compliant property owners face potential fines amounting to millions of dollars per year.
  • Co-op and condo owners, particularly those in low—and middle-income households, face significant financial burdens due to the costs of complying with Local Law 97. For example, Queensview co-ops in Astoria estimate an average cost of $51,000 per resident to transition to electric heating and cooking, with a total project cost of $60 million. The cost is so high that residents, who are mostly retirees, say it’s more feasible to pay the $1,000 yearly fine set out in the buildings law.
  • Environmental advocates argue that easing penalties and requirements would undermine Local Law 97’s goal of significantly reducing carbon emissions from buildings, which are responsible for nearly 70% of the city’s carbon pollution.

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