While the federal government has been asleep at the wheel for most of the last decade, local and state government officials have been a driving force in many green initiatives. Through the U.S. Conference of Mayors and regional alliances such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initative (RGGI), environmental action has been taken which hopefully will spread to other cities and states, and lead to more stringent federal environmental regulations. Here is what five of the top US state and local government leaders have been doing for their cities and states.
First up, New York City's Subway Mayor:
The Subway Mayor: Michael Bloomberg, New York City
photo via streetsblog
Mayor Bloomberg's second term heralded many of New York City's most ambitious environmental initiatives. With a third term now looking likely, he could push his initiatives further to ensure the Big Apple truly becomes the Green Apple.
Most notable of his accomplishments was PlaNYC 2030, which contains 127 initiatives in this long-term plan. Initiatives included affordable housing, open space, cleaning up brown fields, clean energy and clean waterways.
Greening the yellow cabs has been one of Mayor Bloomberg's signature environmental initiatives. All the cabs purchased after October 2008 would have to achieve minimum 25 mpg; ones purchased after October 2009 wouldhave to meet 30 mpg. The same thing holds with a one-year lag for the black cars and limousines.
Taxis drive so many miles that this initiative alone results in significant air quality improvements and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Greenhouse gas emissions are going to be reduced by three quarters of a percent by these changes. Though this program has recently been dealt a legal setback the program will likely continue to be seen as a boost to the mayor's green credentials.
Mayor Bloomberg also created a stir in the air, with his Request for Expression of Interest for renewable energy projects for New York City and specifically mentioned wind turbines atop bridges and skyscrapers and the hope that the Statue of Liberty would be powered by wind energy.
The most ambitious was congestion pricing, achieving the cleanest air quality of any big city, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030. Although congestion pricing was 86'd by the New York State Assembly (they refused to even vote on it), the Subway Mayor has made strides and demonstrable progress in his many other initiatives.
More on Mayor Bloomberg
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Bloomberg Proposes Congestion Pricing for Manhattan
Mayor Bloomberg Envisioning Green Energy Future for New York City
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Next Up: Two men greening California