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-A/A.3351-A). 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, https://www.osc.ny.gov/files/local-government/publications/pdf/climate-change-2023.pdf. 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, https://www.nyc.gov/assets/orr/pdf/publications/WeatherReport.pdf. 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, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/26/nyregion/storm-project-new-york-harbor-flooding.html. 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, https://www.newsday.com/long-island/environment/climate-change-sea-levels-bay-tides-long-island-s1hsx81r. 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, https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/About/Publications/Energy-Analysis-Reports-and-Studies/Environmental-Research-and-Development-Technical-Reports/Response-to-Climate-Change-in-New-York. 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, https://www.nypirg.org/pubs/202312/Climate_Superfund_Media_Packet_12-28-23.pdf. Accessed 17 January 2023.
7 News Release. Pages 6-8, https://www.nypirg.org/pubs/202312/Climate_Superfund_Media_Packet_12-28-23.pdf. Accessed 17 January 2023.
8 Senate Bill S2129A. The New York State Senate, 2023, https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2023/S2129/amendment/A. Accessed 17 January 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, https://www.nypirg.org/climatechange/files/Final_Brief_MPP_Economics.pdf. Accessed 17 January 2024.
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NY Gov. Hochul Commits $300M For Climate Resilience; Silent on Pending Legislation To Make Polluters Foot the Bill  (Food and Water Watch, 5/17/24)
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Battles over natural gas, climate measures to continue at Capitol  (Albany Times-Union, April 25, 2025)
New York budget 2024-2025: What’s in it for the Adirondacks  (Adirondak Explorer, April 24, 2024)
New York can help make the world a greener place  (WAMC, April 22, 2024)
Hochul says she's happy with approved New York state budget  (Spectrum News, April 22, 2024)
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News Archive
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
Release: Assembly One-House Budget Bill Shows House Rejected Inclusion of Popular “Make Polluters Pay” Climate Change Superfund Act. Organizations Ask: Why Are the Assembly and Governor Shielding Big Oil Climate Polluters Instead of Protecting NYS Taxpayers?
News Release: Youth, Faith & Environmental Groups Join with Legislators to Call for “Make Polluters Pay” Bill Requiring Big Oil to Fund Climate Crisis Costs to be Included in Senate and Assembly One-House Budgets Also: Check out NYPIRG's New Video Illustrating the Need to Make Corporate Polluters Pay
Video Release: Make Polluters Pay!
NEWS RELEASE: NYPIRG Releases “Small Claims, Small Changes: A Survey of Albany Small Claims Court 45 Years Later”
A NYPIRG report documenting a survey of litigants who participated in cases in the City of Albany Small Claims Court in 2021 shows the challenges facing consumers using the system.
NEWS RELEASE: NYPIRG Reacts to Governor Hochul's Budget Plan

Over 300 Business, Civic, Environmental, and Youth Groups Call on Governor Hochul to Modernize State Returnable Container Law (“Bottle Bill”)

Groups Urge Inclusion in the State Budget Due to Need for Enhanced Enforcement and Immediate Action to Increase Current Redeemed Beverage Container “Handling Fee”

NYPIRG Statement on the Passing of Sidney Wolfe, MD, Founder of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group
Today, a coalition of elected officials, youth leaders, and community organizations led by NYPIRG called on Governor Hochul to include the Climate Change Superfund Act in her upcoming budget. The Climate Superfund assesses the largest oil companies for the state's mounting climate-related expenses and does so in a way that protects the public from increased costs.
RELEASE: Another Storm, More Costs to NY Taxpayers: Will Governor Hochul Make Big Oil Pay? A coalition of groups today called on Governor Hochul to make the oil companies pick up the tab for the costs of NY's climate damages after another deadly storm that caused widespread damage to New York State.
Reports & Features Archive