Make Corporate Climate Polluters Pay

Watch the video below about our urgent campaign to make Big Oil – not New York taxpayers – pay for climate damages. Then contact Governor Hochul and tell her to support the Climate Change Superfund Act!

There is no doubt that the world’s climate is getting hotter and more deadly.

2023 was the hottest year in human recorded history. This hotter climate drove extremes around the world, making things so extreme that we all choked on terrible air quality – at one point, air that turned orange kept many indoors thanks to unprecedented Canadian wildfires.

Deadly storms rocked the state, with serious flooding upstate, including the Adirondacks, and downstate, including Long Island and New York City. There can be no doubt that as the climate warms, these types of storms will worsen and get even more extreme. The escalation of such storms is an undeniable consequence of the climate crisis.

The hotter climate is having a big impact on taxes – and that situation will get much worse.

A study1 by New York State Comptroller DiNapoli revealed that over a 10-year span, more than half of New York localities' municipal spending outside of New York City was or will be linked to climate change. New York City may need to spend around $100 billion2 to upgrade its sewer systems to withstand intensified storms. And those costs are on top of the $52 billion3 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that it will cost to protect New York Harbor from rising sea levels and storms. Estimates4 suggest that Long Island alone could incur up to $100 billion in climate-related costs. These financial burdens are projected to escalate, potentially reaching $10 billion5 annually for New Yorkers by the middle of the century.

Just over the past year, the Hochul Administration has pledged over $2 billion6 for climate-related projects.

Recognizing the untenable situation, 100 local elected officials in New York recently advocated7 for a legislative measure compelling major oil companies to contribute to climate-related expenses.

Governor Hochul needs to support legislation to make Big Oil pay its fair share of the state’s climate costs.

The legislation8, the Climate Change Superfund Act, demands that companies responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions pay apportioned fees totaling $3 billion annually for each of the next 25 years to offset the climate costs. The fees would be used to strengthen coastlines threatened by rising sea levels, pick up the costs for roads and bridges that are damaged by more intense storms, provide protections for kids in schools by making buildings cooler to protect from deadly heat, and other costs that must be paid. The legislation is designed to keep these costs from being shifted onto the public, as confirmed by an independent think tank’s analysis.9

Take Action: Contact the Governor

Tell Governor Hochul to support the Climate Change Superfund Act and put the interests of the taxpaying public ahead of Big Oil!

Sample message:

Dear Governor Hochul, climate change is devastating our lives and our communities. It adds insult to that injury to make the taxpayers pick up the costs of a hotter planet. The largest oil companies should help to cover those costs. It is they who are most responsible for this mess. And as we all learned as kids: You make a mess; you clean it up. Make Big Oil clean up its mess. Support the Climate Change Superfund Act (S.2129-B/A.3351-B). Thank you.

Thank you for your help!

1 Dinapoli, Thomas P. “New York’s Local Governments Adapting to Climate Change: Challenges, Solutions and Costs.” Office of the New York State Comptroller; Division of Local Government and School Accountability, 2023, Accessed 16 January 2024.
2 “The New Normal: Combating Storm-Related Extreme Weather In New York City.” New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Administration in collaboration with the City agencies and Mayor’s offices presented within, 2021, Accessed 17 January, 2024.
3 Barnard, Anne. “A $52 Billion Proposal Aims to Protect New York Harbor From Storm Surges.” The New York Times, 26 September 2022, Accessed 17 January, 2024.
4 MacGowan, Carl. “Rising ocean, bay tides could eventually reshape Long Island – and will alter how we live, work and play, experts say.” Newsday, 2023, Accessed 17 January 2024.
5 “Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID).” Annex III: An Economic Analysis of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations in NYS. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), 2014, Accessed 17 January 2024.
6 News Release. “$2.1 billion in taxpayers’ money pledged for climate damage, protection and resiliency projects December 2022 – December 2023 according to Governor Hochul news release announcements.” New York Public Interest Research Group Fund, pages 4-5, 2023, Accessed 17 January 2024.
7 News Release. Pages 6-8, Accessed 17 January 2024.
8 Senate Bill S2129B. The New York State Senate, 2024, Accessed 10 June 2024.
9 Howard, Peter H. and Xu, Minhong. “Enacting the ‘Polluter Pays’ Principle: New York’s Climate Change Superfund Act and Its Impact on Gasoline Prices.” Institute for Policy Integrity, New York School of Law, 2022, Accessed 17 January 2024.
Albany dithers while the planet simmers  (WAMC, July 15, 2024)
New York State's $100M program to publicly finance campaigns prompts emergency fix  (Newsday, July 6, 2024)
Environmental groups call on New York legislators to return to Albany for special climate session  (WSKG, July 5, 2024)
Brooklyn Recycling Center Redeems 1 Million Bottles Per Month  (Inside Edition, July 5, 2024)
The public gets a glimpse of lobbying in New York  (WAMC, July 1, 2024)
Examining the impact of public financing in primaries for New York Legislature  (Spectrum News, July 1, 2024)
Ethics commission report shows record highs in lobbying spending  (WENY, June 28, 2024)
Stop Danskammer Coalition says application withdrawal win for public health  (Mid-Hudson News, June 26, 2024)
State lobbying hit record numbers in 2023  (ABC News 10, June 25, 2024)
NYS lobbyists spent record $360M to try to influence government, report says  (Newsday, June 25, 2024)
New Yorkers go to the polls – some of them anyway  (WAMC, June 24, 2023)
Fake Signatures and ‘Good-Faith Letters’ Fuel a Lucrative Campaign Haul  (The New York Times, June 24, 2024)
Environmental Advocates Push for Bill to Hold Big Oil Responsible  (Fingerlakes 1, June 22, 2024)
Foes of Danskammer Power Plant question site's long term use after bid to operate full-time dropped  (The Daily Freeman, June 22, 2024)
Making Democracy Work: Civic education, first hand, at Students Inside Albany conference  (TBR Newsmedia, June 21, 2024)
Bill aims to hold oil companies responsible for emissions  (WSYR, June 21, 224)
Bill aims to hold oil companies responsible for emissions  (CNY, June 21, 2024)
New York feels the heat  (WAMC, June 17, 2024)
New York State Lawmakers Once Again Fail to Pass Meaningful Climate Legislation  (Hellgate, June 12, 2024)
NYC congestion pricing delay may face legal challenge. Why the comptroller calls Gov. Hochul's move "a disastrously wrong turn."  (CBS, June 12, 2024)
News Archive
A coalition of civic, environmental, social justice, and community-based charities joined with small business “redemption centers” to call on Governor Hochul and the state legislative leaders “to urge your attention and immediate action to prevent business closings and job losses by supporting legislation to boost the ‘handling fee’ that provides revenues for redemption centers, which are critical to the success of the state’s Bottle Deposit Law.”
VICTORY! On Monday, June 17, a six-year fight for clean air and public health came to an end when Danskammer Energy withdrew its application to build a new fracked gas plant on the Hudson River in Newburgh, NY.
As a dangerous heat wave grips New York, sending "feels like" temperatures soaring above 100 degrees, community leaders, local officials, and extreme weather survivors are demanding Governor Hochul take immediate action by signing the recently passed Climate Change Superfund Act (S.2129B/A.3351B) into law.
Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG's 2024 Legislative Review – The number of bills that passed in the Senate increased, while that number decreased in the Assembly. The Governor's use of emergency "messages of necessity" flattens.
NY State Assembly Passes Historic Climate Superfund Bill to Make Polluters Pay for Climate Damages
NYPIRG's Statement on Governor Hochul's Delay of Congestion Pricing
A coalition supporting improvements to the state’s Bottle Deposit Law today released a listing of over 1,000 local charities that benefit from the law. The coalition argued that these charities offer services for those in need and that modernization of the forty-year-old law would enhance the charities’ services.
A coalition supporting improving the state’s Bottle Deposit Law today released a review of recent redemption center closures. The review, conducted by redemption centers, identified 97 businesses that have closed or appear to be closed. Another 54 redemption centers had disconnected phones and no obvious social media presence. The coalition argued that many of these closures are the direct result of New York's 15 year "freeze" of the handling fee that redemption centers rely on for revenues.
NYPIRG Reacts to Speaker Heastie's Comments on Climate Change Superfund Act
A coalition of civic groups today called on the New York State Board of Elections to review the state’s polling locations to see if colleges have on-campus polls as required under the law. The letter is in reaction to the results of a survey conducted by NYPIRG. NYPIRG analyzed 199 colleges (217 campuses, some colleges have multiple campuses) in New York State, of which 147 have dorms located on their premises. This review of the locations of polling places for college students living on-campus identifies a wide gap between those campuses that have dorms and the number that have polling places.
A statewide coalition representing hundreds of community, environmental, labor, and religious groups today applauded state Senate approval of the Climate Change Superfund Act, which requires Big Oil to cover New York's climate damages – not taxpayers. The groups urged swift action in the state Assembly. The majority of Assemblymembers are sponsors of the legislation.
News Release on NYPIRG's Recent Victory Expanding Financial Aid for Low-Income Patients
Environmental, community, and business groups representing 300 New York organizations today held a press conference to urge state lawmakers to include the "Bigger, Better, Bottle Bill" (S.237B/A6353A) as a "must do" priority for the end of session
NYPIRG Statement on Start of Congestion Pricing
NYPIRG reacted to elements of the final state budget, highlighting the "good," the "bad," and the "ugly."
Release: County & Local Elected Officials Join 180+ Organizations to Urge Governor Hochul & Assembly Speaker Heastie to End $265M of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in the Final NYS Budget
Bill to Gut NYC’s Landmark Climate and Jobs Law Slammed as Real Estate Lobby Attack Begins. Proposed Linda Lee bill would eviscerate Local Law 97, which is creating thousands of local jobs, cutting utility bills, and reducing pollution.
Report and Release: Climate Change Superfund Environmental Justice. $1 Billion Potential Scenario of Annual Allocations by Region and County
Report from NYPIRG and NY Renews – On the Backs of New York State Households: The Extreme Costs of Climate Change Impacts Families in Every Region of the State
NYPIRG and Other Transparency Advocates Urge Legislature and Governor to Strengthen Freedom of Information Law for Sunshine Week
Reports & Features Archive