Government Affairs Albany UpdateJune 4, 1999
The Senate approved this week elimination of the ton-mileage tax, which drives up costs for the trucking industry and other businesses -- manufacturers, retailers and others -- that ship products in New York via truck. The Business Council had pushed strongly for the reform. The move would provide gross savings of some $130 million, according to the Senate. Click here for Business Council President Dan Walsh's statement praising the Senate's action.
A coalition that includes environmental groups, community-based organizations, law firms and some business interests has announced a new proposal for addressing "brownfields," and for promoting the voluntary cleanup of state superfund sites. Known as the "Brownfield Coalition," this organization was formed after the "Pocantico Roundtable" was disbanded last month.
While The Business Council was a member of the Pocantico Roundtable, we are not part of this new coalition. And while the Coalition has made a number of positive recommendations, the Business Council has not endorsed their overall proposal.
Key provisions of the Coalition's proposal include:
- An average $211 million annual budget for the cleaning up of superfund sites, the investigation of new sites, financial incentives for "brownfield" projects, the cleanup of groundwater at sites being address by volunteers, and funding for community participation activities.
- Soil cleanup standards that, in most cases, allow remediation to be based on the intended use of a site, so long as the cleanup is also protective of groundwater resources and neighboring activities.
- A new, longer-term approach to addressing groundwater in areas designated by the state as being affected by "ubiquitous" contamination.
- Economic development incentives to promote the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites, with separate incentive programs for area-wide and site specific projects.
- Liability reform for municipalities and banks that take title to contaminated property, for landowners that did not cause or contribute to contamination, and for non-responsible parties that agree to conduct cleanups on contaminated sites. In addition, post-cleanup liability releases - with reopeners - would be available to responsible parties that take voluntary actions at sites.
The Business Council has not endorsed the overall proposal due to concerns about the lack of remedy selection reforms for responsible party sites, especially with regard to groundwater; new provisions allowing for state-level law suits against responsible parties; and broadened state enforcement provisions.
For more information, please contact Ken Pokalsky.