Legislators, Advocates Respond to Gov. Hochul’s Veto of The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act
NEW YORK — Today, Governor Hochul vetoed the New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, which would have made New York the nation’s leader in protecting our world’s critical tropical forests and largest carbon sinks by barring the state from purchasing any goods linked to illegal deforestation. This bill, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski, passed earlier this year with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities in both houses of the Legislature.
Senator Liz Krueger, lead sponsor of the bill, issued the following statement:
“I am incredibly disappointed that the Governor has chosen to veto the Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act. Just a week after the nations of the world produced the most aggressive joint statement yet from COP 28, this decision from the Governor sends a dangerous message that New York is not going to do its part. Vetoing this bill is a missed opportunity and a failure to take leadership on a critical issue that affects every New Yorker.
“Let’s be clear, this is not some esoteric issue for tree-huggers – the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis threaten the very survival of human civilization. The days when New York’s leaders can pretend that what goes on in another part of the world has no impact on us are long past. It is crunch time to make sure New York is solidly on the path to fight climate change with everything we’ve got. That means we can’t ignore the emissions we outsource to other countries through our consumer choices. State government must take the lead in ensuring our procurement dollars are not driving deforestation in our planet’s critical tropical forests, exacerbating the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and threatening the rights and lands of Indigenous peoples.”
“At the same time, this bill would have given New York businesses a leg up on the competition by helping them clean up their supply chains. It was a win-win-win for people, planet, and New York’s economy. Unfortunately, now it’s a lose-lose-lose because of the Governor’s veto.”
Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski, lead sponsor of the bill issued the following statement:
“As New York continues to take action to limit the state’s impact on climate change, I am disappointed in the vetoing of the Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act. This legislation received bipartisan support in both houses, and created a feasible way to ensure that New York does not contribute to deforestation and the effects of these practices. Though this is not the outcome that I hoped for, I will continue to work towards passing legislation that accomplishes this goal.”
Advocates supporting the bill issued the following statements:
“The veto of the Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act goes against New York’s commitment to combat the climate crisis and needlessly postpones crucial measures that protect both our businesses and front-line communities from its escalating hardships. This bill proposed immediate climate action that was not just vital, but completely feasible; its veto abdicates environmentally smart and just leadership to industries whose self-interest binds them to the status quo. New York can and must do better.” – Vanessa Fajans-Turner, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates NY
“Governor Hochul’s veto of this bill represents a grievous failure to meet the climate crisis with commonsense policy. The profound threat of the climate emergency is not in question; New Yorkers feel the impact with every hurricane, flood, wildfire, and heat wave. This bill would mitigate climate risk while empowering New York businesses and standing up for the rights of frontline communities. A true win-win. We are surprised and dismayed that the Governor’s office didn’t see the opportunity in front of them. But ending deforestation is far too important to give up on, and we will come back next year with an even stronger coalition to pass the bill. We thank Senator Krueger, Assemblymember Zebrowski, and the bill’s additional sponsors for their leadership.” – Jeff Conant, Senior International Forest Program Manager, Friends of the Earth U.S.
“Plain and simple, the veto of the Tropical Deforestation Free Procurement Act is a setback to address the urgent interconnected crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and social justice. We will not be deterred in our collective effort to stop the State of New York from funding climate destruction, which is causing extreme and almost all too common flooding in communities and basements across New York. The supporters of this act include Indigenous People across the globe, who are the first and worst impacted by climate change, and they share a greater burden with the loss of their ancestral lands to irresponsible multinational corporations.” –Marcus Sibley, northeast director of conservation partnerships at the National Wildlife Federation
“This bill enjoys widespread support among businesses because of the economic and climate benefits it would deliver. New York should not be in the business of awarding state contracts to multinational corporations involved in destroying rainforests, especially when such products can be produced right here at home. We’re disappointed in the Governor’s veto, and we remain committed to supporting this critical legislation again next year.” – Bob Rossi, Executive Director, New York Sustainable Business Council
“At a moment when global policy and the marketplace are undergoing a clear transformation on forest protection, Governor Hochul is holding New York back. At COP28 in Dubai, more than 190 countries resoundingly coalesced around the need to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. This week, President Biden has announced a proposal for ending logging in old-growth forests by 2025. This is not a question of if, but when, sustainability standards like those in the NY Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act become the norm. With the stroke of her pen, Governor Hochul missed the opportunity to solidify New York State as a leader; instead, with this veto, she’s mired the economy in unsustainable practices.” –Jennifer Skene, Natural Climate Solutions Policy Manager, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)
The Governor’s veto followed calls to the Governor to sign the legislation from dozens of groups including 50+ climate and justice organizations, businesses from across the state, and investors representing over $2.5 trillion in assets under management.
Earlier this year, advocates including Indigenous leaders visiting from South America, Indonesia, and around the globe delivered more than 600,000 petition signatures, including from thousands of New Yorkers, to Governor Hochul asking her to sign the bill. Thousands of New Yorkers called and emailed the Governor in support of the bill.
In recent weeks, the legislation gained a higher profile in the media, with coverage in the New York Times, NYS Public Radio, New York Daily News, and elsewhere. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio endorsed the legislation to his 62 million followers on Instagram.
About The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act:
It would require state contractors who deal in tropical forest-risk commodities to demonstrate that their products don’t drive tropical deforestation or degradation.
Would close loopholes in existing 30-year-old state law banning the use of tropical hardwoods for government projects.
Would provide a bidding preference for small and medium-sized businesses, minority-and-women-owned businesses, and businesses fulfilling state contracts using New York products.
Would create a supply chain transparency assistance program to support New York-based small and medium-sized businesses and women and minority-owned enterprises to achieve ethical and sustainable supply chains for forest-risk products.
Defines “tropical forest-risk commodities” to include soy, beef, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, wood pulp, paper and wood products, with other commodities to be considered by the Commissioner of the Office of General Services.
Communications contact: TJ Helmstetter, [email protected]