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September 13, 2007


Comptroller DiNapoli Issues Executive Order
to Make State More Green

Audio Available audio availalble

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today signed an executive order aimed at reducing energy use and implementing green practices in the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). He also directed his auditors to evaluate whether state agencies, public authorities and local governments are complying with environmental and energy requirements.

“Corporate America is beginning to understand that reducing energy consumption and waste makes sense both environmentally and economically,” DiNapoli said. “It’s time that New York State took the next step. We are going to use our audits as an engine to drive clean practices at every state agency and local government in New York. New Yorkers understand saving energy and reducing waste at state agencies, local governments and schools not only helps save the environment, it also saves taxpayer dollars.

“Governor Spitzer has set a goal of reducing energy consumption in New York by 15 percent. If state agencies meet that goal, taxpayers could save tens of millions of dollars each year. We would help New York’s environment and reduce our reliance on foreign fuel sources. It’s time to get started. And since green begins at home, my office is immediately taking steps to reduce wasteful and environmentally harmful practices.”

DiNapoli’s executive order directs his auditors to evaluate whether state agencies, public authorities, local governments and school districts are complying with existing environmental and energy requirements. Currently, state agencies are required to purchase 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, increasing to 20 percent by 2010; purchase products with recycled content and equipment with the Energy Star label; and develop measures to use electricity more efficiently in state buildings.

By 2010, all of the new light duty vehicles purchased by the state must use alternative fuel. School districts are required to purchase environmentally sensitive cleaning products to protect students from exposure to hazardous cleaning products, under legislation sponsored by DiNapoli when he was the chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.

“Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s executive order demonstrates that every level of government can take steps to improve our environment,” said Marcia Bystryn, executive director of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Not only will this executive order make government operations more sustainable, it will save taxpayer money through increased energy efficiency.”

“NYPIRG applauds Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli for committing his agency to pursue a path toward environmental sustainability. This executive order builds on his legacy of environmental stewardship that began in the state legislature where he sponsored many of the environmental and public health laws that New York’s state and local governments are now charged with enforcing. We hope that ‘greening state government’ will be just the beginning of a new era of environmental awareness and protection in New York,” said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate at New York Public Interest Research Group.

“The Comptroller’s Executive Order moves this office into a key role safeguarding New York’s environment. The Office will provide critical oversight in assessing state actions on energy, climate change and sustainability,” said Robert Moore, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York. “This move is emblematic of Tom DiNapoli’s leadership on the environment.”

DiNapoli’s executive order also includes the following actions:

  • Purchasing Renewable Energy. OSC will purchase 25 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable generation at its 110 State Street location. This action would prevent the emission of 1.8 million pounds of cardon dioxide into the environment. OSC currently purchases 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, OSC is exploring installing solar panels and other methods to save energy costs;
  • Evaluating OSC Operations. OSC operations will be audited to determine energy use, consumption of paper and other resources, purchasing practices and generation of solid and hazardous waste to help identify areas for improvement; and
  • Saving Money. Under a new waste management contract, OSC will receive financial credit for every ton of paper and cardboard recycled. Similar agreements will be suggested to state agencies as they enter into new contracts for these types of services.

DiNapoli noted that state agencies spent $286 million on electricity in state fiscal year 2004-05. Based on this figure, if Governor Spitzer’s recently announced goal of reducing energy use by 15 percent is achieved, the state could save as much as $43 million annually. Similarly, the state could save about $15 million annually by reducing natural gas usage by 15 percent. In addition, several million dollars could be saved if double-sided photocopies were used rather than single-sided copies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that double-sided copies dramatically reduce paper use and expenses by up to 40 percent annually.

Click here for a copy of the executive order.

Click here for audio.

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