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Climate Change Superfund Act: How would it help NY communities dealing with flooding?

  • / Updated:
  • Edwin Viera 

A new report shows the costs different regions of New York face from climate change.

It says taxpayers were on the hook for more than $2 billion – or $300 per household – in climate costs last year.

In 2023, New York City faced $309 million in climate change-related costs, the highest in the state. Long Island was second at $276 million and continues seeing impacts from intense storms.

Cate Rogers, deputy supervisor with the Town of East Hampton, said climate change is taking a toll on local industry.

“We have a rising water temperature that is increasing algal blooms,” said Rogers. “It has impacted greatly and decimated our Peconic Bay Scallop fishery, which was very important to year-round local families, generations of fishermen.”


This is where the Climate Change Superfund Act comes into play. This bill requires companies who’ve contributed to climate change to bear some infrastructure investment costs.

Elected officials across the state signed a letter supporting the bill. Estimates show climate change infrastructure costs in New York could reach $10 billion annually by 2050.

But, if nothing is done, a major disaster could cost the state around $55 billion in the next decade.

The report also shows the different regional impacts of climate change.

The Capital District – for instance – might see massive flooding, while places like Western New York see harsher blizzards in winter.

Albany County Legislator William Reinhardt – D-Dist-33 – said repairing roads, bridges, and culverts are becoming annual priorities.


“All of these things we are seeing – more severe problems and costs coming from the changing weather patterns,” said Reinhardt, “they are are causing, you know, more flooding than they ever did before – knocking out culverts in ways that they historically didn’t happen.”

New York isn’t alone in considering this kind of legislation. Record flooding last year prompted Vermont to create a similar bill.

Storms there caused a billion dollars in damage taxpayers would be responsible for.

If Vermont passes the bill, the state stands to get more than $2 billion from companies like ExxonMobile, Chevron, and BP.