Enviro Advocates Demand NY Lawmakers Return for Special Climate Session, Pass NY HEAT Act as Heat Dome Looms

Gov. Hochul's last minute reversal on congestion pricing effectively killed all negotiations before end of legislative session, ruining chance to pass landmark climate bill amid deadly heat wave

ALBANY, NY (06/17/2024) (readMedia)-- After Governor Hochul derailed the end of the legislative session by abandoning New York's congestion pricing plan, Albany lawmakers failed to pass any meaningful legislation to reduce climate pollution. Now, environmental advocates including WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Alliance for a Green Economy, and Earthjustice are demanding lawmakers return to Albany for a special climate session to pass the NY HEAT Act.

"Governor Hochul's eleventh hour decision to abandon congestion pricing wasn't just a shameful betrayal to New Yorkers. It also dealt a crucial blow to the NY HEAT Act, the widely popular landmark climate legislation that was inches away from passing. But the Governor's total climate failure does not justify further inaction from the Assembly, which left Albany without passing any policies to cut climate pollution and curb energy costs just before the entire East Coast suffocates under a deadly heat dome. The Assembly must do their jobs and return to Albany for a special climate session to pass the NY HEAT Act NOW," said Annie Carforo, Climate Justice Campaign Coordinator at WE ACT for Environmental Justice.


Last week, Senator Liz Krueger, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate sponsor of the NY HEAT Act, told New York Magazine that Gov. Hochul's congestion pricing decision killed the nearly-finished negotiations on the NY HEAT Act between the Senate, Assembly and Executive. She said, "We literally were in three-way negotiations for several weeks and we were so close. And then the governor's people weren't responding to calls or requests for that very last meeting... So, then they stopped reaching out and NY HEAT did not pass because we never got to the three-way agreement that we were sure we would."

Despite lawmakers' failure to pass the bill, the NY HEAT Act has support across the legislature. Governor Hochul embraced key parts of the NY HEAT Act in her Executive Budget proposal, the Senate passed the bill twice, and the bill has support from a majority of Assemblymembers.

The Home Energy Affordable Transition Act, also known as the NY HEAT Act, will stop the expansion of New York's outdated and dangerous fracked gas system. The bill gets rid of the 100-foot rule, which forces New York families to pay $200 million every year to subsidize new gas hookups, and amends the obligation to serve fracked gas. The bill would allow utilities to provide cheaper and clean heating alternatives at no additional cost to customers – a win-win for New Yorkers and the environment.