What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

October 29, 1999

Environment Committee to analyze costs, benefits of new emission regs

The Business Council is evaluating the potential costs and environmental benefits of pending new regulations affecting emissions from power generating plants, according to Ken Pokalsky, director of environmental and regulatory programs for The Council.

On October 14, Governor Pataki directed the Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt new regulations requiring utilities and other electricity generators to cut sulfur dioxide emissions. The new standards are 50 percent lower than standards required by the federal Clean Air Act.

The Governor also ordered a year-round 40 percent cut, by 2003, in emissions of oxides of nitrogen. That directive extends New York's previous commitment to achieve such a reduction during summers.

The Council's Environment Committee will assess the cost of complying with the new regulations, the likely effect on the supply and costs of electric energy for New York State businesses, and the likelihood that the new regulation will produce environmental benefits that are measurable and meaningful, Pokalsky said.

Generators in New York have predicted that the new requirements will drive up New York's energy costs. Those costs remain far above the national average-70 percent by some estimates.

"Energy costs are a major impediment to economic development in New York and, in particular, a factor in upstate's poor economic showing," said Daniel B. Walsh, president of The Business Council.

The Governor said his administration will continue to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require emission reductions from utilities in the Midwest and Southeast.