Supporting Climate Change Superfund Act

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The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Hochul,

As elected representatives of villages, towns, counties, and cities across New York State, we write to urge you to include the Climate Change Superfund Act (S.2129/A.3351) in your Executive Budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Our communities are on the front lines of the climate crisis, bearing the full weight of its impacts – from the deadly blizzard that struck Buffalo last winter to the unprecedented 1,000-year flooding that submerged parts of the Hudson Valley this summer; from destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy on Long Island to increasingly frequent catastrophic rainfall in New York City; from choking wildfire smoke that shut down schools in June to scorching heat waves that shut down schools in September.

Our constituents feel this looming risk year after year, through all four seasons. Between 2011 and 2021, New York State endured 16 major disaster declarations, sparing no region of the state. During this period, FEMA allocated over $17 billion in assistance to New York State.[1] This staggering sum is more than just a number, it represents countless New York families who lost their homes or livelihoods.

Our local governments see the impact of this growing threat in our budgets, as we struggle to both repair and rebuild from previous extreme weather events and invest in measures to adapt and become more resilient in the face of the climate emergency. A recent study from the State Comptroller found that from 2018 to 2028, 55% of New York localities’ municipal spending outside of New York City was or will be related to the climate emergency.[2]

It seems like year after year a new record is set, whether it’s for heat, or rainfall, or snow. Despite efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions, it’s clear that the challenges posed by the climate emergency are going to get much worse before they get better.

In the coming decades we need to invest in a series of high-stakes and costly infrastructure projects. These include significant coastal protections, including restoring coastal wetlands; elevating or buying-out threatened homes; improving storm water drainage and sewer systems; responding to toxic algal blooms; protecting our roads and utility infrastructure; retrofitting schools and other public buildings; and many other vitally important projects.

We know that these projects are non-negotiable necessities. The major question is who will pay for them. The Chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council recently estimated the cost of climate-adaptive infrastructure improvements for Long Island at between $75 and $100 billion.[3] Upgrading New York City’s sewer system is estimated to cost $100 billion,[4] and a single project to protect New York Harbor from rising seas is estimated at $52 billion.[5] For us on the local level, that means asking our residents to pay more in property taxes, fees, and other costs.

Fortunately, there is another option to reduce this burden on local governments and taxpayers. Instead of asking New Yorkers to dig into their own pockets for the entire cost of climate adaptation, we can make the multinational fossil fuel companies that are responsible for and profiting from the climate emergency pay their fair share. That’s why we’re asking you to support the Climate Change Superfund Act. 

Under the Climate Change Superfund Act, thirty to forty of the largest multinational oil, gas, and coal companies would be required to pay $75 billion over 25 years to New York State for damages arising from their past activities, money that would be earmarked to help localities like ours pay for climate-adaptive infrastructure. Companies deemed responsible for the emission of over one billion tons of greenhouse gasses since the year 2000 will pay a portion of the total amount based on their share of the total emissions of all responsible companies.

That means companies like Exxon and Saudi Aramco, who have made record-breaking profits in the last several years, will pay a portion of the bill, rather than our residents and local businesses. And, critically, the Superfund is designed as an assessment of damages for past behavior that cannot be passed on to consumers.[6]

The cost of living across New York is already too high – we simply cannot afford to place the cost of adapting to the climate emergency solely on the backs of our constituents. We need the state to act now to hold the biggest polluters accountable. We need the Climate Change Superfund Act.

Sincerely,

    
Nicola ArmacostNicole AsquithAlexa AvilesJohn BouvierEllen Calves
MayorTrusteeCouncilmemberCouncilmemberSupervisor
Village of Hastings-on-HudsonPleasantvilleNew York CityTown of SouthamptonTown of Bedford
Westchester CountyWestchester CountyKings CountySuffolk CountyWestchester County
     
Ann CarvillLisa CopelandClaire CousinDeborah DawsonAnthony Del Plato
SupervisorCouncilmemberSupervisorLegislatorTrustee
Town of PotsdamCity of Mount VernonColumbia CountyTompkins CountyVillage of Interlaken
St. Lawrence CountyWestchester County  Seneca County
     
Thomas DePietroEric DinowitzCynthia DoranTom DrakeCorey Ellis
Council PresidentCouncilmemberCounty LegislatorTrusteeCouncil President
City of HudsonNew York CityRensselaer CountyHastings-on-HudsonAlbany
Columbia CountyBronx CountyRensselaer CountyWestchester CountyAlbany County
     
Sam FeinPaul FeinerMorgen FleisigJessica GalenJim Gennaro
County LegislatorSupervisorTrusteeTrusteeCouncilmember
Albany CountyTown of GreenburghVillage of Hastings-on-HudsonDobbs FerryNew York City
 Westchester CountyWestchester CountyWestchester County 
     
Manna Jo GreeneDuWayne GregoryJennifer GutiérrezShahana HanifSusan Hughes-Smith
County LegislatorCouncilmemberCouncilmemberCouncilmemberLegislator
Ulster CountyTown of BabylonNew York CityNew York CityMonroe County
 Suffolk CountyQueens and Kings counties  
     
David ImamuraKamal JohnsonNancy KaboolianKatelyn KrieselMary Lambert
LegislatorMayorMayorTown CouncilorTrustee
Westchester CountyCity of HudsonArdsleyTown of ManliusVillage of Hastings-on-Hudson
 Columbia CountyWestchester CountyOnondaga CountyWestchester County
     
Brad LanderGeorgia LopezMary LupienChristopher MarteTheresa McCaffrey
ComptrollerTrusteeCouncil Vice PresidentCouncilmemberSchool Board Trustee
New York CityVillage of Hastings-on-HudsonCity of RochesterNew York CityVillage of Hastings-on-Hudson
 Westchester CountyMonroe CountyNew York CountyWestchester County
     
Susan McGraw-KeberJen MetzgerMatthew MillerRamona MonteverdeChance Mullen
TrusteeUlster County ExecutiveLegislatorMayor Pro TemMayor
Town of East HamptonUlster CountyAlbany CountyCity of NewburghPelham
Suffolk County  Orange CountyWestchester
     
Sarah NappaMercedes NarcisseMichael NewhardNina NicholsSteve Noble
CouncilmemberCouncilmemberMayorCounty LegislatorMayor
Town of SoutholdNew York CityVillage of WarwickRensselaer CountyCity of Kingston
Suffolk County Orange County Ulster County
     
Sandy NurseGina PicinichKlaus ProemmWilliam ReinhardtThomas Roach
CouncilmemberMayorTrusteeLegislatorMayor
New York CityMt. KiscoVillage of CantonAlbany CountyCity of White Plains
Kings CountyWestchester CountySt. Lawrence County Westchester County
     
Jared RodriguezTim RogersCate RogersShari Rosen ArcherMatthew Rosenberg
TrusteeMayorCouncilmemberTrusteeTrustee
Sleepy HollowNew PaltzTown of East HamptonDobbs FerryDobbs Ferry
Westchester CountyUlster CountySuffolk CountyWestchester CountyWestchester County
     
Martin RutynaPeter SchererTommy John SchiavoniAnna SkrentaAnne Smith
MayorMayorCouncilmemberChairCouncilmember Elect
Sleepy HollowPleasantvilleTown of SouthamptonTown of East HamptonTown of Southold
Westchester CountyWestchester CountySuffolk CountySuffolk CountySuffolk County
     
Jim SofrankoElizabeth SpinziaNicole SullivanAustin TylecRick Werwaiss
SupervisorSupervisorDeputy MayorMayorCouncilmember
Town of OliveTown of RhinebeckDobbs FerryCity of North TonawandaChatham
Ulster CountyDutchess CountyWestchester CountyNiagara CountyColumbia County
     
Joseph WetmoreRobert WilliamsRobin Wilt  
Town Board MemberMayorCouncilmember  
LansingVillage of ElmsfordTown of Brighton  
Tompkins CountyWestchester CountyMonroe County 
Signers and Supporters
Councilmember Sergio Adams, City of Albany, Ward 7, Albany County
Mayor Nicola Armacost, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County
Trustee Nicole Asquith, Pleasantville, Westchester County
Councilmember Alexa Aviles, New York City, Kings County
Councilmember Jacqualine Berger, Town of Amherst, Erie County
Councilmember John Bouvier, Town of Southampton, Suffolk County
County Legislator Travis Brooks, District 1, Tompkins County
Councilmember Tiffany Cabán, New York City
Supervisor Ellen Calves, Town of Bedford, Westchester County
Supervisor Ann Carvill, Town of Potsdam, St. Lawrence County
Supervisor Michael Chameides, City of Hudson, Columbia County
County Legislator Terry Clements, District 11, Westchester County
Councilmember Lisa Copeland, City of Mount Vernon, Westchester County
Councilmember Christine Corrado, Town of Brighton, Monroe County
Supervisor Claire Cousin, Columbia County
Trustee Ben Darfler, Village of TrumansburgTompkins County
Legislator Deborah Dawson, Tompkins County
Town Supervisor John Deer, Town of Manlius, Onondaga County
Trustee Anthony Del Plato, Village of Interlaken, Seneca County
Council President Thomas DePietro, City of Hudson, Columbia County
Councilmember Eric Dinowitz, New York City, Bronx County
County Legislator Cynthia Doran, Rensselaer County Rensselaer County
Trustee Tom Drake, Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County
Councilmember Christina Dravis, Town of Dryden, Tompkins County
County Legislator Jeffrey Elder, Niagara County
Council President Corey Ellis, Albany, Albany County
County Legislator Sam Fein, Albany County
Supervisor Paul Feiner, Town of Greenburgh, Westchester County
Town Supervisor Elizabeth Feldman, Town of Ossining, Westchester County
Trustee Morgen Fleisig, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County
Fmr. Councilmember Dominic Frongillo, Town of Caroline, Tompkins County
Town Supervisor Joel Gagnon, Town of Danby, Tompkins County
Trustee Jessica Galen, Dobbs Ferry, Westchester County
Councilmember Jim Gennaro, New York City
Trustee Debra Gitterman, Village of Philmont, Columbia County
Town Board Member Bill Goodman, Town of Ithaca, Tompkins County
County Legislator Manna Jo Greene, Ulster County
Councilmember DuWayne Gregory, Town of Babylon, Suffolk County
Councilmember Jennifer Gutiérrez, New York City, Queens and Kings counties
Councilmember Shahana Hanif, New York City
Mayor Ronny Hardaway, Village of Lansing, Tompkins County
Legislator Susan Hughes-Smith, Monroe County
Legislator David Imamura, Westchester County
Mayor Kamal Johnson, City of Hudson, Columbia County
Mayor Nancy Kaboolian, Ardsley, Westchester County
Town Councilor Katelyn Kriesel, Town of Manlius, Onondaga County
Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, New York City, Queens
Alderperson Tiffany Kumar, City of Ithaca, Ward 4, Tompkins County
Deputy Supervisor Dan Lamb, Town of Dryden, Tompkins County
Trustee Mary Lambert, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County
Comptroller Brad Lander, New York City
Town Supervisor Jason Leifer, Town of Dryden, Tompkins County
Mayor Rika Levin, Village of Ossining, Westchester County
Trustee Georgia Lopez, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County
Councilmember Joyce Love, City of Albany, Albany County
Councilmember Natalie Luczkowiak, City of Dunkirk, Chautauqua County
Council Vice President Mary Lupien, City of Rochester, Monroe County
Councilmember Christopher Marte, New York City, New York County
School Board Trustee Theresa McCaffrey, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County
Town Councilmember Heather McCarty, Town of Newfield, Tompkins County
County Executive Daniel McCoy, Albany County
Trustee Susan McGraw-Keber, Town of East Hampton, Suffolk County
Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger, Ulster County
Legislator Matthew Miller, Albany County
Mayor Pro Tem Ramona Monteverde, City of Newburgh, Orange County
Mayor Chance Mullen, Pelham, Westchester County
Councilmember Tim Murray, Town of Caroline, Tompkins County
Councilmember Sarah Nappa, Town of Southold, Suffolk County
Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse, New York City
Mayor Michael Newhard, Village of Warwick, Orange County
County Legislator Nina Nichols, Rensselaer County
Mayor Steve Noble, City of Kingston, Ulster County
Councilmember Sandy Nurse, New York City, Kings County
County Legislator Joseph O'Brien, Albany County
Mayor Gina Picinich, Mt. Kisco, Westchester County
Trustee Klaus Proemm, Village of Canton, St. Lawrence County
Town Supervisor Stephanie Redmond, Town of Enfield, Tompkins County
Legislator William Reinhardt, Albany County
Mayor Thomas Roach, City of White Plains, Westchester County
Trustee Jared Rodriguez, Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County
Councilmember Cate Rogers, Town of East Hampton, Suffolk County
Mayor Tim Rogers, New Paltz, Ulster County
County Legislator Ellen Rosano, Albany County
Trustee Shari Rosen Archer, Dobbs Ferry, Westchester County
Trustee Matthew Rosenberg, Dobbs Ferry, Westchester County
Mayor Martin Rutyna, Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County
Mayor Peter Scherer, Pleasantville, Westchester County
Councilmember Tommy John Schiavoni, Town of Southampton, Suffolk County
Mayor Kathy Sheehan, City of Albany, Albany County
County Legislator Merton Simpson, Albany County
Councilmember Elect Anne Smith, Town of Southold, Suffolk County
Supervisor Jim Sofranko, Town of Olive, Ulster County
Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia, Town of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County
Deputy Mayor Nicole Sullivan, Dobbs Ferry, Westchester County
Mayor Austin Tylec, City of North Tonawanda, Niagara County
Councilmember Rick Werwaiss, Chatham, Columbia County
Town Board Member Joseph Wetmore, Lansing, Tompkins County
Mayor Robert Williams, Village of Elmsford, Westchester County
Councilmember Robin Wilt, Town of Brighton, Monroe County
Town Councilmember Tom Wood, Town of Plattsburgh, Clinton County