Brian Kavanagh has been a leader in promoting environmental sustainability. He was a strong supporter of the Environmental Bond Act, which the legislature sent to the State’s voters who passed it in 2022, to provide $4.2 billion for flood risk reduction, open space and land conservation, climate change mitigation including electric school buses and green buildings, and water quality improvements. He secured enactment of the statewide All-Electric Building Act in 2023, which will ban construction of new buildings that require fossil fuels, with limited exceptions for certain functions where all-electric systems are not feasible. He co-sponsored the Build Public Renewables Act to authorize the New York Power Authority to build and own renewable energy projects, phase out existing fossil fuel-fired power generation, and deliver renewable energy to state, municipal, and residential customers.
Brian was a proud co-sponsor of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, enacted in 2019, which mandated huge cuts in climate pollution, investment in clean, renewable energy sources, and creation of green jobs to promote environmental justice — the most comprehensive and ambitious climate change law in the United States. He was an early champion of the successful campaign to ban high-volume fracking for fossil fuels, and has sponsored legislation to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals and to make producers responsible for recycling or disposing of products at the end of their useful life. In 2022, he authored a bill the Governor signed into law to require producers of carpeting to collect, recycle, and reuse old carpeting rather than sending it to landfills.
Brian has served on the Environmental Committee during each of his years in the legislature and is on the Board of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. His work has earned him the League of Conservation Voters Eco-Star Award, and top ratings each year from LCV and Environmental Advocates of New York.
Local initiatives on resiliency, open space, and green infrastructure have complemented Brian’s work on statewide issues. He helped lead relief efforts after Superstorm Sandy and has advocated for ongoing neighborhood resiliency initiatives. He has secured enactment of several legislative measures to increase Battery Park City’s ability to raise capital for resiliency projects. As an Assemblymember, he passed legislation and negotiated a deal between the City and the State to create new parkland and a mile-long esplanade that will eventually close the gap in the East River Greenway from East 60th to East 38th Street in Manhattan. He also commissioned, with then-Borough President Scott Stringer, the East River Blueway Plan, a comprehensive proposal to improve resiliency and public access to Manhattan’s waterfront.