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Environment Committee Update
August 5, 2013

Contact: Darren Suarez

Petroleum Bulk Storage and Chemical Bulk Storage Regulations

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is providing Preliminary Drafts for Public Consideration of revised Petroleum Bulk Storage and Chemical Bulk Storage regulations for comment by stakeholders. DEC will be revising these regulations regarding the handling and storage of petroleum and hazardous substances to reflect changes in state and federal laws. These drafts and an informal public comment period are being provided to help inform stakeholders and to identify any major issues to be addressed before the draft regulations are formally proposed.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Regulations

The NYS DEC proposes to revise Part 242, CO2 Budget Trading Program (Program) and 6 NYCRR Part 200, General Provisions. The proposed Program revisions, which will cap regional CO2 emissions at 91 million tons annually beginning in 2014, represent a nearly 45 percent reduction from the existing cap currently in place under the Program. After 2020, the cap will remain at 78 million tons annually.

Further, to account for the existing private bank of CO2 emissions allowances already acquired at auction, and to help create a binding cap, the proposed Program revisions provide two distinct budget adjustments. The proposed Program revisions also create the Cost Containment Reserve (CCR), which will help provide additional flexibility and cost containment for the Program.

Finally, the proposed Program revisions create an interim compliance obligation.

The Business Council in the past has expressed concern about the impacts and the effectiveness of the proposed Program revisions. The Business Council is interested in hearing from members regarding the proposed revisions. The Business Council will be preparing extensive comments, and will issue comments at the Public Hearing. Members interested in participating at the Public Hearing can request from The Business Council talking points. The DEC will be accepted formal comments through September 9, 2013.

Great Lakes Action Agenda

A draft of a five-year plan to restore, conserve and sustain development along the Great Lakes—including the embayment area at the Port of Rochester—has been released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

New York’s Great Lakes Basin: Action Agenda 2013 lists 10 priorities, and six areas of concern, including the Rochester embayment. The plan is available on the DEC website http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/91881.html. Public comments will be accepted until Sept. 1, officials announced Monday.

The priorities are:

Members of the Business Council have requested that The Business Council provide comments. Those comments will be prepared prior to September 1st. Member’s interested in the issue should contact Darren Suarez.

Bioheat Mandate A. 7906 (Sweeney) / S.1184-A (Maziarz)

The Business Council opposes this legislation as it could cost New York industrial and commercial users of heating oil over $6 million annually. This legislation has yet to go to the Governor’s desk for review, but now is the time to review the legislation and determine its possible effects on your or your clients operations.

This legislation will require that after October 1, 2014 all heating oil sold for use in any building within the counties of Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Westchester and the counties of the city of New York shall contain at least two percent biodiesel. Furthermore, the legislation further requires that after July 1, 2015, all heating oil sold for use in the state shall contain at least two percent biodiesel. This legislation will affect all those whom use fuel oil including manufactures, commercial interests, schools, universities, colleges, municipalities and homeowners.

To learn more about the Bioheat Mandate A.7906 (Sweeney) / S.1184-A (Maziarz) click here.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permit Requirements for Storm Damage Repairs

The Army Corps of Engineers has a restated as result of the June - early July, persistent severe rain storms, subsequent flooding and other storm related damages, that the existing Regional General Permit (NYDGP-15) may be used to facilitate the remediation of sites that are damaged from storms that result in a Federal and/or State disaster declaration.

A general permit is a blanket authorization for construction in waters of the United States, including navigable waters, that substantially reduces the time needed by the Corps to process applications for activities that cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts, when those activities are substantially similar in nature.

Environmental groups Suing DEC over its Status of Medium-size Dairy Farms

Environmental groups are suing the state Department of Environmental Conservation over its deregulation of medium-size dairy farms, claiming the agency violated the federal Clean Water Act by easing regulations on manure.

The Petitioners/Plaintiffs Riverkeeper, Inc., Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc., Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Inc., Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Inc., Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Inc, and Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc. assert that “For purely political and economic purposes—not scientific or technical ones—NYSDEC has carved out an exemption from SPDES permit requirements for purportedly “nondischarging” CAFOs with between 200 and 299 mature dairy cows, relieving them from the duty to develop and implement a CNMP and other previously mandatory pollution controls.”

The Business Council supports the regulatory change. Earlier this year at a public hearingĀ  Darren Suarez of the Business Council Stated “This regulatory change will alleviate a regulatory burden on New York’s family dairies and increase their competitiveness with other states, allowing more New York consumers to support directly New York’s farm families and the Upstate economy which directly benefits from their operations. The Business Council strongly supports and thanks DEC for giving small family farms this valuable opportunity to grow in an environmentally and financially responsible way with this proposed rule change.“