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Legislative Memo

Ken Pokalsky, Director, Environmental Programs

BILL:

S.2109/A.4309 (Budget)

Support

SUBJECT:

Hazardous Wastewater Surcharge

 

DATE:

March 1, 2007

 

The Business Council opposes the Executive Budget proposal for a $6,000 surcharge on relatively small generators of “hazardous wastewater.” For some businesses, this will amount to an additional state assessment of as much as $400 per ton on their generation of hazardous wastes.
Specifically, this legislation will change the threshold for this surcharge from 15,000 to 15 TPY.

This proposal will be especially onerous for small businesses that would be subject to the surcharge -- for example, small metal finishers and similar industries whose production processes generate wash and/or rinse waters that are categorized as hazardous waste. This surcharge would apply even though their waste water is typically treated and then released as a non-hazardous waste. Note that these businesses already pay an annual state program fee for the same waste generation, and may also be paying hazardous waste permit fees and per ton generation and disposal fees, resulting in a double- or triple-hit on the same waste stream.

This surcharge was first imposed as part the state's 2003 “brownfield” legislation. It was part of a package that was expected to generate $18 million in additional regulatory fee revenues from the state's industrial sector, and was adopted over The Business Council's opposition.

These additional surcharges would be dedicated to support the state's “superfund,” used to clean up hazardous waste sites. The Business Council believes that any additional financial support for superfund should come from General Fund revenues, not additional fees. New York already imposes higher hazardous waste-related fees than virtually any state, and to date has collected more than $400 million in business fees dedicated to state superfund.

In summary, this proposal will have an adverse impact on the manufacturing sector, and is contrary to the state's efforts to create a more competitive economic climate, especially in upstate New York.

For these reasons, The Business Council respectfully opposes adoption of this surcharge proposal.