Legislative Memo

T 518.465.7511


S.3777 (Thompson) / A.5765 (Sweeney)



Solid Waste Management Facilities Permitting



January 29, 2010


The Business Council strongly opposes this legislation which would require applicants for a permit to construct and operate a privately owned solid waste management facility to demonstrate consistency with the local solid waste management plan.

This legislation represents bad public policy for several reasons:

First, this bill will dramatically change over 20 years of established permitting standards. In that time New York has had two sets of permitting standards for municipal and private facilities. This was done to ensure that private facilities could be built consistent with the Statewide Solid Waste Management Plan while avoiding the conflicts between the solid waste management needs of the state and the demands of municipalities. Passage of this bill will disrupt this well established standard.

Another problem with this bill is that it provides little guidance as to what standard of review will be followed for determining permit approval. There is no set of bright-line rules applicants need to meet in order to demonstrate consistency with the objectives of the local solid waste management plan. 

Because this bill does not establish a means for determining consistency with a local plan, there is no way of knowing how compliance is established. Without these rules, local management districts could simply deny a permit for inconsistency as they determine at their discretion, causing litigation and delaying the construction of badly needed facilities. The state is in need of new, privately owned solid waste management facilities.  The last thing this state needs is a new proposal that will discourage investment in new capacity and drive up the cost of existing business.

This bill is silent as to the status of current facilities in operation. Will existing facilities need to show consistency with local plans even though they have been operating according to their existing permits? This legislation should explicitly state that any rules changes apply to new facilities prospectively.

Finally, the Business Council believes that any changes to the Statewide Solid Waste Management Plan be dealt with within the framework of the revisions to the Part 360 regulatory process, insuring proper input from the regulated community.

For these reasons, The Business Council opposes enactment of S.3777/A.5765.