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August 12, 2004

State repeals onerous fee that inflates costs of environmental cleanups

In a victory for The Business Council, New York's manufacturing sector, and the environment, the state Legislature has repealed an onerous fee on businesses doing environmental cleanups.

This surcharge, imposed as part of last year's Brownfield Act, could add up to $1,000 or more for every dump truck load of contaminated soil removed from brownfield sites, and was expected to add at least $20 million per year to the cost of brownfields and other cleanup projects in New York.

This cleanup tax was repealed in legislation approved in conjunction with the Legislature's 2004-05 budget, which passed both houses on August 11. The Governor has yet to approve the measure.

Earlier this year, Business Council President Dan Walsh had urged the Governor and Legislature to repeal the "cleanup tax," making it one of the Council's legislative priorities for 2004. At the urging of the Council, state lawmakers voted to repeal the fee retroactive to last year.

The Business Council opposed this fee because added to the already-high costs of doing cleanups, and it actually created a disincentive against doing more complete cleanups involving the removal of contaminated soils.

This legislature also approved a number of other technical amendments to the state's Brownfield Act that were recommended by The Business Council. These include more clear standards for brownfield cleanup and redevelopment tax credits, as well as revised standards governing brownfield program eligibility and procedural requirements.