NYPIRG Tells Albany Leadership to Go Farther on Climate – Make Polluters Pay!
Exxon reports record breaking $56 billion net profit for 2022
BROOKLYN, NY (02/01/2023) (readMedia)-- (Albany, NY) – Governor Hochul included major climate initiatives in her executive budget, but she left out one crucial measure that would help pay for climate change damages and resilience: the Climate Change Superfund Act (S.2129).
In response, Blair Horner, Executive Director of NYPIRG, issued the following statement:
"While Governor Hochul's executive budget takes on some important climate issues, it doesn't address how she'll take the $100 billion cost burden of climate resilient infrastructure off of taxpayers. New York residents should not foot the climate change bill. The current reality of rising sea levels and more intense and deadly storms is all thanks to the big oil companies who knew exactly what they were doing while they spent decades denying climate science and getting rich in the process. NYS can't afford to pay for climate damages and resilience, but big oil and its 2022 record profits can. 89% of New Yorkers agree that big oil should foot at least some of the climate change cleanup bill. Governor Hochul and Albany leadership can lead the nation by making climate polluters pay."
Yesterday, Exxon Mobil alone reported its best year yet with $56 billion in net profits for 2022. In addition, the company did well enough to distribute a whopping $30 billion in cash to shareholders last year. The U.S. major oil producers combined raked in $200 billion in 2022, while looking to expand drilling opportunities.
The Climate Change Superfund Act (S.2129) requires companies most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions to pay a total of $75 billion over twenty-five years ($3 billion annually) for the environmental damage they have done. The funds allow New Yorkers to invest in massive and life-saving infrastructure improvements, upgrade stormwater drainage and sewage treatment systems, prepare the power grid for severe weather, create systems to protect people from extreme heat, and respond to environmental and public health threats.
Climate change resiliency measures are uniquely necessary - and expensive - in New York. A recent report from Rebuild by Design gives a county-by-county breakdown of storm recovery risk and costs across New York State. In a separate report, the group estimated that the climate costs to New York could be $55 billion by the end of this decade. Furthermore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated that it would cost $52 billion to protect NY Harbor alone. And while storms get worse, sea levels are rising and groundwater poses a higher risk of flooding - and we don't even know how much yet.
In December, 200+ groups including NYPIRG, WE ACT, Food & Water Watch, and League of Women Voters NYS sent a letter to Governor Hochul urging her to include the Climate Change Superfund Act in the executive budget. In their letter, the groups wrote that the fossil fuel industry should be subject to the state's climate costs since their "decisions led to global warming; justice requires that they-not New York's other taxpayers-be financially responsible for the tragically enormous climate crisis impacts that they created." An analysis from the think tank Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU Law makes the case that charging Big Oil would not lead to higher consumer prices.