ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - As increasingly high temperatures continue to impact the region, the New York State Governor's Office has announced actions which State agencies and authorities will take to help address the impacts of extreme heat on disadvantaged communities and other vulnerable New Yorkers.
This action comes from Governor Kathy Hochul's State of the State initiative from 2022 which plans to make extreme heat actions to coordinate interagency grants and efforts to help dull climate impacts on the community. Also, this effort will try to compute assistance to disadvantaged neighborhoods that may be more vulnerable to extreme heat.
"Extreme heat threatens the lives and livelihood of many New Yorkers each year, particularly those in disadvantaged communities and communities of color," said Gov. Hochul. "Severe storms and extreme heat will only increase with climate change, and it is critical that New York develops coordinated and effective plans to address heat exposure. The recommendations announced today help build on actions already underway to protect our most vulnerable and disproportionately affected residents this summer, and for years to come."
This year, in reaction to increasing temperatures due to climate change, Gov. Hochul led the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create an Extreme Heat Action Plan. More than 20 State agencies are working together in the Extreme Heat Action Plan Work Group (EHAPWG).
"One of the most dangerous outcomes of climate change is that rising temperatures threaten the health and well-being of our communities," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "DEC will continue to respond to the Governor's call to deploy innovative strategies in disadvantaged communities most at risk for heat-related illnesses. These actions, when combined with our leading efforts to mitigate climate change's many impacts, will help save lives and advance equity and climate justice across the state."
The EHAP is currently being developed, and the following efforts are being planned:
- Growing the number of cooling centers and shelters;
- Developing provisions for hot weather to help with disconnection during events;
- Bettering access to energy efficiency and weatherization programs and bolstering the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP);
- Examining New York's long-term ability to mitigate energy costs with air conditioning and electricity;
- Focusing on disadvantaged communities and increasing the volume of environmental justice programs;
- Bolstering alert systems for extreme heat;
- Assembling a heat emergency team and making an extreme heat-specific hazard adjoin to New York's emergency management plan by June 1, 2023; and
- Ensuring effective implementation of short and long-term actions.
This week, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is tracking the heat conditions. If the heat index reaches the 100s, The New York State Department of Public Service is standing by with utilities. For more information, check the air quality forecast or refer to further facts on extreme heat.