Earthjustice Statement: New York Governor Hochul and Legislature Finalize the SFY2024-25 Budget

Falls short on climate; restores critical funding for water infrastructure


Nydia Gutiérrez, 

The New York Governor Hochul and the Legislature finalized the SFY2024-25 Budget. The final deal includes policy to accelerate electric transmission siting, a study for highway and depot charging infrastructure needs, and a restoration of funding for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act; however, it excluded the most significant climate and energy affordability policy that was on the table, the NY HEAT Act (S2016B/A4592B).

The SFY2024-25 budget follows the hottest year in recorded history. For the first time, New York experienced unsafe air quality from Canadian wildfires. There was unprecedented flooding that led to the shutdown of Metro North and other commuter rail, leaving people stranded, and dangerous heat waves.

The following statement can be attributed toLiz Moran, New York policy advocate for Earthjustice:

“Following the hottest year in recorded history, where New Yorkers experienced dangerous air quality and smoky skies, unprecedented flooding, heat waves, and rising utility bills, they expected the Governor and Legislature to deliver a budget that addresses the energy affordability and climate crises – sadly, they did not deliver. When New Yorkers are saying their biggest concern is their cost of living, the Assembly caved to fossil fuel interests instead of supporting the NY HEAT Act, which would have initiated a much-needed implementation plan to ensure a cleaner and safer future away from gas, while saving New Yorkers hundreds off their energy bills annually.  

“However, we applaud the Governor and Legislature for coming to an agreement to accelerate the siting of electric transmission, which will be a key factor to retiring dirty, polluting, fossil fuel power plants and getting renewable energy across the state.

“In the face of increasing strains on our water infrastructure, and new drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals, funding for clean water could not be more important. Thankfully, funding for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act was maintained at $500 million. We thank our partner organizations and legislative champions for their tireless efforts to ensure funding was restored.

“More is expected of New York, typically an environmental leader, from banning fracking, to establishing a nation-leading climate law. For the remainder of the legislative session, the Governor and Legislature must act for the public interest, not corporate interests, by passing bold policies to ensure affordable energy, protect public health, and accelerate our path towards a truly zero-emissions future for all New Yorkers.”

While Earthjustice continues to review the final budget for details, we offer our thoughts on the following items: 

  • NY HEAT Act: We are profoundly disappointed that the final budget failed to include the NY HEAT Act. Our full statement is here.
  • RAPID Act: We applaud the Governor and Legislature for including this policy, which will accelerate electric transmission siting while preserving critical environmental, health, and community protections and enhancing community engagement.
  • $500 million for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act: We are pleased to see a continued commitment to the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which now totals $5 billion towards New York’s water needs. In the upcoming years, we urge increased funding to align with outstanding annual need.
  • $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund: We are pleased to see a continued commitment to the Environmental Protection Fund.
  • Climate Resilient Funding: We are pleased to see funding maintained for the Climate Resilient Farming program within the Environmental Protection Fund.
  • Highway and Depot Charging Infrastructure Study: Earthjustice supports this policy, which directs NYSERDA to estimate future need for fast charger deployment along highways and major freight corridors to facilitate “cost-effective and timely” achievement of CLCPA and other rules.

The following were not included in the final SFY2024 budget, but should be prioritized for the remainder of the legislative session:

  • The Climate Change Superfund Act, to provide the State with much needed climate funding by making climate polluters pay.
  • Green Transit, Green Jobs, which will achieve a zero-emissions transit bus fleet by phasing out purchases of new fossil fuel transit buses starting in 2029.

Additional Resources

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Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.