Blogs > Policy > 2024 Legislative Session Recap: Riverkeeper Urges Swift Action on Environmental Bills Following Budget Success

2024 Legislative Session Recap: Riverkeeper Urges Swift Action on Environmental Bills Following Budget Success


CCL via Wikimedia
View more images on our Flickr site

When Governor Hochul announced her Executive Budget proposal in January, Riverkeeper worked diligently to prevent the proposed cuts to Clean Water, the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), and the Hudson River Estuary Program. After an extended negotiation period, the Senate, Assembly, and Executive Office reached an agreement to preserve $500 million for Clean Water, $400 million for the EPF, $7.5 million for the Hudson River Estuary Program, and $150 million for the NY SWIMS Initiative. Riverkeeper was instrumental in ensuring the final budget included language supporting swimming beaches in our natural waters.

This critical funding will support statewide water infrastructure updates, bolster environmental education and research programs, and enhance access to safe swimming in the Hudson River—all crucial steps in preserving and improving New York’s environmental health.

With the legislative session set to end on June 6, Riverkeeper is actively working to secure the passage of critical legislation.

4 bills await passage in the Assembly

The following bills have been passed in the Senate. Passage in the Assembly is the last step for the following bills before the Governor can sign them into law. We must urge our representatives in the Assembly to pass:

  • The Green Roof Tax Abatement – A6901A (Rozic): Installing green infrastructure, such as green roofs, is crucial for managing stormwater and combating climate change. The current green roof tax abatement program expires in June, making it urgent for the Assembly to secure an extension now.

    A green roof in New York City

    CCL via Wikimedia

  • Enhanced Public Participation Plans – A6584A (Gallagher): With marginalized communities often not included in decision-making processes for new developments, they frequently bear the brunt of increased pollution. This proposed bill would mandate applicants for major projects to create and implement plans for increased public participation, overseen by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • The Coal Tar Sealant Ban – A1669 (Rosenthal, L.): Coal tar sealants harbor toxic and carcinogenic substances, posing threats to human health and the environment. This legislation aligns with updated findings from the EPA, lowering the permissible levels of hazardous chemicals in coal tar-based pavement sealers.
  • NY HEAT ACT – A4592B (Fahy): The NY HEAT Act will help ensure New York transitions to cleaner electric heat. This significant climate legislation also repeals the obligation of utilities to extend gas service lines if a majority of a street has transitioned to electric heat and appliances.

6 bills require movement in both houses

Both the Senate and Assembly are considering the following bills. We urge both houses of the Legislature to prioritize these critical pieces of environmental legislation and vote yes before the end of session.

  • Rain Ready New York – S8861/A9435 (May/Gallagher): This legislation ensures New York public authorities can effectively address climate change by clarifying their authority to mitigate localized flooding and preserve water quality.
  • Climate Resilient New York Act – S8158 (Harckham): This bill establishes the Office of Resilience and a Chief Resilience Officer to assess climate threats and create a statewide resilience plan. The state must ensure the strategic use of federal and state funds for climate resiliency. This will protect frontline communities and reduce future disaster losses.
  • Petroleum Safety and Surety Act – A9213/S8703 (Fahy/Hinchey): This bill enhances transparency for petroleum transporters in the state by requiring proof of insurance and financial reliability.

    A freight train crossing the Hudson River

    CCL via Flickr

  • PFAS Discharge Disclosure Act – S227B/A3296A (May/Kelles): This legislation mandates testing for PFAS in outfalls of publicly owned treatment works and industrial permit holders. This is crucial for pinpointing contamination hot spots and guiding effective remediation strategies.
  • Bigger Better Bottle Bill – S237C/A6353A (May/Glick): New York State must expand its bottle deposit program to boost recycling incentives and curb beverage container pollution in the Hudson River. This legislation would increase the bottle deposit to 10 cents and expand the program to accept a wider range of beverage containers.
  • A plastic cup floating in the water

    CCL via PxHere

  • Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act – A5322B/S4246B (Glick/Harckham): This legislation is essential for addressing our state’s packaging waste crisis and reducing plastic pollution in the Hudson River. By passing this bill that mandates a reduction of plastic packaging, bans harmful chemicals in food packaging, promotes the transition to refillable and reusable packaging, and shifts the burden of waste management from taxpayers to companies, the Legislature can ensure our environment and waterways are kept free of plastic pollution.

With only one month until the end of session, Riverkeeper is committed to pushing our state elected officials to pass legislation that protects the Hudson River and our environment.

For more information on Riverkeeper’s legislative priorities, visit our Policy Solutions page.


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


Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
Become a Member