Legislative Memo

T 518.465.7511


A.10303 (Sweeney)



Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Limits



April 14, 2008


The Business Council opposes this legislation, which would provide the Department Of Environmental Conservation (DEC) with the authority to require greenhouse gas emissions reporting from virtually any emission source in the state, and by 2014 impose an enforceable limit (no higher than 1990 total emissions) on the aggregate greenhouse gas emissions from all in-state sources.

This legislation is simply unworkable and unrealistic for several reasons.

  1. Based on national data, greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 were nearly 20 percent above 1990 levels.  Assuming comparable levels in New York, we question the practicality of achieving a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next six years, especially given that about one-third of all such emissions are from the transportation sector over which the state has limited regulatory authority. Further, since there is no accurate historic inventory of New York State-specific, all-source greenhouse gas emissions, it is unclear how the state could base an enforceable limit on 1990 emission levels.
  2. The bill gives the DEC the ability to adopt regulations setting an “enforceable limit” on the “aggregate level” of greenhouse gas emissions from all sources. However, the bill is silent on how an aggregate, economy wide limit would be translated into an enforceable limit imposed on specific sources. Our concern is that this authority will focus on currently-regulated stationary sources. Industrial sources, such as boilers and other combustion units, have limited opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Typically, such reductions would have to come from modifications to combustion units, since there is no “add on” controls available for the most significant greenhouse gas. Such modifications will force facilities into arduous “new source review” evaluation and control requirements, imposing even greater regulatory costs on in-state facilities.
  3. We are also concerned that the state would use this legislation to extend the yet-to-be implemented “regional greenhouse gas initiative” cap and trade program to industrial and commercial combustion sources. The Business Council continues to have significant concerns with the design of the RGGI regulatory and emission allowance distribution mechanism. We would strongly oppose any effort to extend RGGI to other source categories until the RGGI regulatory regime is initially implemented in the utility sector, evaluated, and subject to necessary reforms.

While we understand the legislative concern over greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change, The Business Council would urge the state to take non-regulatory steps to encourage additional energy and fuel efficiency in the industrial, commercial and transportation sectors before adopting such a broadly applicable, stringent greenhouse gas regulatory program.

For these reasons, The Business Council opposes adoption of A.10303.