January 21, 2000
Council is concerned about proposed new environmental fees and standards
Governor Pataki's budget proposal contains significant changes to the state's "superfund" program, including new enforcement provisions opposed by The Council, and it would impose over $30 million in new fees on facilities that store petroleum and generate hazardous wastes.
Overall, the Governor's proposal would provide about $140 million annually for state-financed cleanups of hazardous waste and hazardous substance disposal sites.
The proposed budget bill (S.6292/A.9292) includes most of the provisions contained in a 1999 Governor's program bill, which neither house introduced last year. It would change cleanup and liability standards and establish a statutory program for the voluntary remediation of brownfield sites. The bill also contains $42 million in tax credits for brownfield projects.
The Council's concerns include:
- New hazardous waste program fee surcharges, which top off at $360,000 for generators of more than 10,000 tons per year (TPY). All generators of greater than 1,000 TPY would be subject to surcharges of at least $85,000 per year.
- Small to mid-sized facilities (generators of 15 to 100 TPY) would be subject to increases of up to 19 times current assessments. Facilities that generate more than 15 TPY of hazardous wastewater would be subject to a $6,000 per year surcharge.
- A doubling of petroleum bulk storage facility registration fees. These fees, which are payable every five years, would go to $100 for facilities with capacity of 1,000 to 2,000 gallons, $300 for facilities that store between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons, and $500 for facilities with capacity from 5,000 and 400,000 gallons.
"While The Business Council supports a 'pay-as-you-go' approach to funding state's remedial projects, we oppose the excessive business fees included in this bill," said Ken Pokalsky, director of environmental and regulatory affairs. "Since state-financed cleanups result in broad public health and economic benefits, these expenditures should be financed through broadly-based general revenues, not narrowly targeted business fees."