The Business Council of New York State, whose membership includes nearly 4,000 member firms as well as over one hundred chambers of commerce and professional trade associations, has reviewed the above mentioned legislation and opposes its enactment.
The bill would add a new section under the Environmental Conservation Law to further regulate power plant emissions and performance standards. The law would impact electric generators larger than fifteen megawatts. It directs the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation to set new standards regulating nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide. Additionally, the bill would enact a very broad and ill defined mandate to seek in-state sources of mercury air emissions and establish standards to reduce these emissions. The standards adopted under this bill are in excess of the current EPA requirements and are extremely narrow in their time frame. Especially disturbing is the proposed approach for regulating carbon dioxide. This bill would provide for the capping of CO2 at the 1997 levels by January 1, 2002.
Enactment of such caps would cause a roll back of electricity production in New York State. It would also result in a permanent shut down of some power plants at a critical juncture in this state's move to a deregulated market and increase the cost of electricity.
The implementation of state mandated emission levels only adds to confusion among its electrical power producers who operate in a national energy market. It would further cause a hindrance to the burgeoning electricity market, and its participants, as it evolves under New York's deregulation and restructuring orders.
The arbitrary setting of emission standards in one state ignores the regional impact of emissions and their effects. Power plants are currently working under regional and national initiatives that take into consideration New York's situation as one of many in a regional market. The implementation of excessively stringent state-sponsored emission policies disproportionally and adversely impacts our state's competitive position.
For the reasons articulated above, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. opposes this legislation and urges its defeat.