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Environment Committee Alert

April 22, 2010

Earth Day Legislation

The Legislature acted on a number of key environmental proposals this week that greatly impact the business community in New York.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Bill Moves in Assembly

The Assembly passed a bill this week A.7572-A which would require the Department of Environmental Conservation to impose restrictions on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions from any source, with the goal of having an 80% statewide reduction by the year 2050.

Private Right of Action Bill Defeated

A.9480/S.1635, which would confer standing on private citizens to bring suits in response to alleged violations of the environmental quality review provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law failed to pass in the Senate this week on a 29-32 vote. This bill was strongly opposed by the business community. Opponents argued that the increase in lawsuits would cripple business development. The Assembly did not bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

E-Waste Recycling Passes Senate

Senate Bill 6047-A which requires manufacturers of certain electronic equipment become responsible for the collection, handling and recycling of electronics waste passed the Senate this week.  Manufacturers would be responsible for the collection of their current market share of a particular item and could charge a take-back fee to businesses with 25 or more employees. The Assembly does not have a companion bill.

Senate Passes BPA Ban

Senate bill 3296-G which would ban the distribution and sale of child care products, used by children that contain the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) passed the senate this week. The Assembly passed a separate bill A.6919-C.

Assembly Passes Freshwater Wetlands Bill

The Assembly passed a bill this week A.6363 that would change the jurisdictional definition of a freshwater wetland from greater than 12.4 acres to greater than 1 acre. This bill is strongly opposed by the business community. Many fear that if enacted almost all development in this state will be subject to DEC permitting and approval. The bill has not passed in the Senate.

DEC Issues Cooling Water Policy

Through this policy DEC proposes closed-cycle cooling as best technology available to minimize adverse environmental impacts. This policy applies to all existing and proposed industrial facilities designed to withdraw twenty (20) million gallon per day (MGD) or more of contact or non-contact cooling water from the waters of New York State. Public comments accepted until June 9, 2010.