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Lawmakers consider holding companies responsible for climate change

Lawmakers in New York are considering proposals to hold companies responsible for pollution and climate change accountable. These proposals include having oil and gas firms pay to offset the cost of climate change, making it easier to sue companies for pollution, and imposing new requirements for companies to expand their use of recyclable material in the coming decade.

The proposed measure for oil and gas firms is modeled after the Superfund program and would require companies to pay $3 billion a year over 25 years to help the state offset the effects of climate change. Brooklyn state Sen. Zellnor Myrie has also proposed legislation that would allow New Yorkers to claim damages due to climate change and file lawsuits.


Judith Enck of Beyond Plastics is calling for companies to cut their packaging by 50% in the next decade and have 90% of their packaging be made out of recycled materials within 12 years. But the Business Council has questioned the feasibility and cost of these measures for companies.

Ken Pokalsky of the Business Council pointed out that every consumer has a role in discharging carbon into the environment and that recycling provisions are already in place, such as curbside recycling and assistance for municipalities.