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‘I’m Terrified’: NYC Residents Say City’s New Climate Law Could Ruin Their Lives

A New York City climate law regulating emissions is set to impose harsh penalties on larger buildings, many of them residential, that don’t comply by 2024, forcing building boards and residents to make difficult financial decisions, according to The New York Times.

Local Law 97 is part of the city’s 2019 Climate Mobilization Act and aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 by targeting buildings, which are believed to be the city’s largest polluters, according to the NYT. But the strict regulations put building managers in a difficult position, forcing them to choose between costly energy upgrades and massive fines.

One building manager, Craig Hart, told the NYT he could install solar panels on a roof that’s going to need a $650,000 replacement in coming year, install a new boiler system that will have to be replaced in a few years as emissions standards become more stringent, or face massive fines for noncompliance.

“I’ve been looking at every option I can think of, and I don’t know what to do,” he told the outlet. “I want to be zero carbon, zero penalties and zero debt … But it’s not going to be an easy road.”

Glen Oaks Village, a collective of more than 2,900 apartments in Queens, plans to spend $24.5 million replacing its gas-and-oil boilers over the next five to 10 years, but will still incur an anticipated $700,000 per year in fines, according to the NYT.

“I’m terrified of it,” Arlene Bett, a 60-year-old longtime resident who paid off her one-bedroom apartment in the complex but worries about her $500 monthly maintenance fee growing. “I will not be able to afford it, and there’s no place cheaper.”

Bob Friedrich, the board president, told the NYT that penalties would force the board to sharply raise maintenance fees. “They are not looking at the real-life cost of this,” he told the outlet.

Buildings produce about 70% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions, and buildings over 25,000 feet, which the city is targeting, produce about half of all building emissions, according to the NYT. About 60% of those buildings are residential and rely largely on fossil fuels for heating and cooling; they could face up to $60 million in total fines annually under Local Law 97.

The City of New York did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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