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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

NY bill would make polluters pay for climate damage

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Friday, February 16, 2024   

A New York bill would make polluters pay for climate change damage the state endured.

The Climate Change Superfund Act requires companies who've contributed to climate change to bear some costs of necessary infrastructure investments for New York to adapt to climate change.

Data show over the last 40 years, the state has endured at least 85 "billion-dollar disasters." The most substantial was Hurricane Sandy, costing the state around $43 billion.

Asm. Anna Kelles, D-Ithaca, a co-sponsor of the bill described how enforcement of the bill would work.

"From technology, we now know that we can directly assess the greenhouse gas emissions that were attributable to each of the major polluters," Kelles pointed out. "We can measure that and we can assess a fee based on their relative contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions that we're seeing. "

The intent is to make it part of the 2025 budget. Companies likely to be held accountable by this bill are opposing it. New York is not alone in considering this kind of legislation. Vermont is taking up a similar bill after record flooding last July caused about $1 billion in damage taxpayers would be responsible for. The bill awaits action in a New York Assembly's environmental committee.

While the bill mostly targets oil companies, it may also be applied to other companies.

Bob Cohen, policy and research director for Citizen Action of New York, said implementing the measure goes beyond the environmental harms companies are responsible for.

"It's not just a matter that they contribute to climate change, they've engaged in a multi-decade-long campaign to lie about the consequences of climate change," Cohen alleged. "I think It's comparable to the tobacco companies leading up to the 1960s."

Research shows companies like Exxon knew as far back as the 1950s fossil fuels were causing climate change.


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