The New York State Assembly passed the Climate Change Superfund Act June 8 to require fossil fuel companies to pay for project costs associated with climate change mitigation.

Awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul's signature, the bill creates a 25-year fund to be financed by those companies, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group, which supported the bill’s passage

New York is the second state to create a climate superfund after Vermont, which passed its law on May 31 and also awaits a gubernatorial signature, according to Vermont Public. Other states considering similar superfund bills include California, Massachusetts and Maryland.

“This is peanuts to these companies,” Anne Rabe, environmental policy director for NYPIRG, told Spectrum News. “It requires big oil payers to pay $3 billion a year for 25 years in a row, that’s $75 billion for climate damage repair, resilience and protection.”

NYPIRG says one-third of the $3 billion in anticipated annual funding will be earmarked for disadvantaged communities that suffer the worst impacts due to climate change.

"The historic legislative approval of the Climate Change Superfund Act is a huge step toward ensuring that 'big oil' contributes to the mounting costs of climate catastrophe," NYPIRG told Common Dreams, a nonprofit news organization. "Of course, the bill cannot become law without Gov. Hochul's approval, but the act helps protect taxpayers and allows revenue to be made available to contribute toward necessary—but expensive—resilience projects."

“It is anticipated that the fossil fuel industry will vigorously oppose these climate Superfund laws as unconstitutional retroactive taxes," Bruce White, attorney at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Chicago, told the National Review, comparing them to arguments made in pending state and local climate cases now in courts. "The industry also will likely assert that insofar as these state laws seek to regulate interstate GHG emissions, they are preempted by the federal Clean Air Act and beyond the scope of an individual State's authority."  He said the fossil furl sector "is also expected to argue that the liability is being selectively imposed.”

The superfund legislation was passed in May by the state Senate, and by the assembly in the last week of New York's legislative session.