Blogs > Policy > 2024 State Legislative Summary: Some key environmental wins despite resistance

2024 State Legislative Summary: Some key environmental wins despite resistance

2024 State Legislative Summary:

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From an environmental perspective, this legislative session was remarkable not only for the bills that passed, but also for the missed opportunities.

AlbanyOnce upon a time, the New York State Assembly was seen as a beacon of environmental and climate hope. Though there are still environmental stalwarts in the Assembly, now it is the State Senate that shines brightly on a range of environmental and climate issues. The Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, has clearly prioritized environment and climate issues in her chamber. And with environmental champion (and Riverkeeper Big Fish recipient) Senator Pete Harckham at the helm of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, significant legislation moved forward. That support in leadership can make all the difference!

While many assemblymembers such as Deborah Glick, Pat Fahy, Dana Levenberg, Emily Gallagher, Anna Kelles, Michaelle Solages and others work to move heaven and earth to push legislation over the finish line, the bureaucracy within the Assembly creates the conditions for inaction and allows the opposition to pro-environment legislation to create just enough doubt to grind the gears of the legislative body to an unfortunate halt on the big issues of the day.

Governor Hochul’s reversal on congestion pricing during the final days of session, without an alternative MTA funding plan in place, provided a convenient excuse for the Assembly to abandon negotiations on key climate and plastic reduction legislation.

Despite these conditions, we did see progress on a few issues during the legislative session, with two key bills heading to the Governor’s desk and several that made it through the State Senate but hit a wall in the Assembly.

In the end, the 2025 state budget demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental causes, including significant wins for New York, the Hudson River, and our clean water priorities.

Legislative Roundup 2024 Session

Passed Both Houses:

  • Petroleum Safety and Surety Act – A9213/S8703 (Fahy/Hinchey): This bill enhances transparency for petroleum transporters, requiring proof of insurance and increasing fees for the state Oil Spill Fund. A Riverkeeper priority since 2014, it passed the Assembly (99-46) and Senate (50-11). Now, our advocacy turns toward the Governor to sign the legislation.
  • Green Roof Tax Abatement – A6901A/S6409A (Rozic/Liu): Essential for managing stormwater and combating the effects of climate change in NYC, this bill passed both houses unanimously and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Passed One House:

  • Rain Ready New York – S8861/A9435 (May/Gallagher): This bill, which clarifies public authorities’ ability to mitigate flooding and preserve water quality, passed the Senate unanimously, but died in the Assembly due to opposition from committee staff. Riverkeeper, along with Senator May and Assemblymember Gallagher, held a press conference and ensured that the legislation was prioritized in the senate during the final days of session.
  • Addressing Road Salt Pollution – S9654 (Harckham/Jones): This bill creates a state council and advisory committee to address road salt pollution. It passed the Senate (48-13), but awaits introduction in the Assembly.
  • Enhanced Public Participation Plans for Environmental Justice in SEQRA – A6584A/S2510A (Gallagher/Ramos): This bill mandates increased public participation for major projects, passed the Senate unanimously, but stalled in the Assembly.
  • Coal Tar Pavement Sealant Ban – A1669/S1729 (Rosenthal, L./Sanders): This bill aligns state policy with updated EPA findings on hazardous chemicals in coal tar-based sealants. It passed the Senate (49-11), but died on the Assembly floor.
  • Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act – A5322B/S4246B (Glick/Harckham): This bill addresses plastic pollution by mandating reduced packaging and promoting reusable packaging. It passed the Senate (37-23), but was killed in the Assembly due to Governor Hochul’s 11th hour reversal on congestion pricing, which threw a wrench into last minute negotiations between the houses.

Did Not Advance:

  • PFAS Discharge Disclosure Act – S227B/A3296B (May/Kelles): This bill mandates testing for PFAS in water treatment works and industrial permit holders, but failed to advance due to unresolved amendments.
  • Bigger Better Bottle Bill – S237C/A6353A (May/Glick): This bill aimed to expand New York’s bottle deposit program, but faced strong opposition from beverage corporations and business associations.
  • Climate Resilient New York Act – S8158 (Harckham): This new legislation establishing the Office of Resilience and a Chief Resilience Officer needs an Assembly sponsor, and remains under discussion.
  • Safe Water Infrastructure Action Program – S4350A/A6155 (Hinchey/Gunther): This program, which provides formula-based funding for water infrastructure, stalled in both Senate and Assembly committees.

Riverkeeper will continue to push for meaningful action on environmental and climate issues that impact the Hudson and its communities.

Riverkeeper protects and restores the Hudson River, and safeguards drinking water supplies through community partnerships, science, and law. Our core programs improve water quality, restore habitat for an abundance of life, and address the impact of climate change on our waterways. Founded in 1966 as the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association, Riverkeeper became the model for more than 320 Waterkeeper organizations around the world and helped establish globally-recognized standards for waterway and watershed protection. We continue to work toward the goal of a swimmable, fishable, and drinkable Hudson River for all. Learn more, get updates, and support our work by visiting

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