ALBANY, NY (04/16/2024) (readMedia)-- This morning, Politico reported that the NY HEAT Act is likely off the table in budget negotiations, following Governor Hochul omitting the bill from her "parameters of a conceptual agreement" announcement.

In response, Jessica Azulay, Executive Director of AGREE, said:

"As New Yorkers stare down dual crises on climate and energy affordability, it's truly appalling that the Assembly Speaker and the Governor would consider a budget deal without the NY HEAT Act. Struggling families who can barely pay their bills expect Albany leaders to look out for them, not for National Fuel's bottom line. Other utilities are coming to the table – there's no excuse to not get this done, and anything less will be a victory for the fossil fuel companies like National Fuel getting rich off the backs of everyday New Yorkers forced to choose between eating and heating. It's a complete failure of leadership. We expect Albany leaders to stop dithering and get the NY HEAT Act done now."

Liz Moran, New York Policy Advocate at Earthjustice, said:

"This budget is not complete without the NY HEAT Act. Assembly Speaker Heastie and Governor Hochul are failing New Yorkers by allowing National Fuel to derail the legislation – especially given the fact that other utilities have been willing to come to the table. While struggling families across the state struggle to pay their energy bills, the leaders who represent them are prioritizing the wealthy fossil fuel company fighting to raise their bills even higher. It's shameful, but it's not too late – Assembly Speaker Heastie and Governor Hochul must turn this around by putting the full NY HEAT Act in the budget."

Denise Patel, Climate Campaigns Consultant for New York Communities for Change, said:

"Millions of New Yorkers are facing rising energy bills. While budget negotiations drag on, National Grid has announced a $30/month rate hike for downstate customers. Passage of the NY HEAT Act in this budget will have meaningful impact on our pocketbooks by helping people save money on their energy bills as we transition off fossil fuels. The state Senate is on the right path with NYHEAT. Carl Heastie and Governor Hochul have a choice: Will they stand with the gas industry that's hiking up our bills and making us sick or will they side with working class New Yorkers?"

Laura Shindell, Senior New York Organizer at Food & Water Watch, said:

"Year after year, Speaker Heastie has stood as a roadblock to real climate action in New York. His refusal to seriously engage on climate in the budget negotiations is a direct attack on young people inheriting a burning planet, poor folks struggling with high energy bills, and the majority of the Speaker's own Assembly delegation who cosponsor and are fighting for the NY Heat Act in the budget. Speaker Heastie must come to the table, Senate Majority Leader Stewart Cousins and Governor Hochul must stand strong and pass the full NY HEAT Act in the state budget."

Annie Carforo, Climate Justice Campaigns Manager at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said:

"It's unconscionable that Albany could leave the NY HEAT Act out of the budget, given that the Senate passed the bill and the majority of the Assembly sponsor the legislation. The time to act on climate has never been more urgent, but our elected state leaders seem to be siding with fossil fuel companies on a budget that will do nothing to lower energy costs for the 1.4 million disadvantaged New Yorkers who struggled to pay their energy bills this winter and will be forced to continue to subsidize the expansion of gas infrastructure that pollutes our communities and moves us farther away from achieving our state mandated climate goals. This is despicable politics at play, and working-class New Yorkers and those struggling to get by will not forget that the Assembly and the Governor once again sold them out."

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