STAFF CONTACT :
The Business Council strongly opposes this legislation which is designed to preclude expansion of the state's only permitted commercial hazardous waste landfill in Model City, Niagara County, by prohibiting issuance of new RCRA permits to any facility that has even the potential to discharge persistent chemicals into the Great Lakes system.
This legislation represents bad public policy for several reasons:
- Under New York State law, hazardous
wastes must be treated before land disposal,
hazardous waste landfills are subject to stringent
design and operation standards, including
requirements for the detection, capture and treatment
of any discharges. These requirements
make disposal in a permitted hazardous waste
landfill an environmentally safe waste
management option. It makes no sense to prohibit
their siting in the entire Great Lakes basin
based on such a limited potential for a release.
- This onerous legislation will
add to the cost of industrial operations
and remedial activities in
New York State by eliminating the option of in-state
disposal capacity for wastes and
residuals requiring land disposal. In effect, this
legislation could add to the costs of
brownfield and superfund cleanups in New York. The
legislature should not be erecting
barriers to environmentally safe, cost-effective
in-state waste management options.
- Under the
logic of this legislation, the legislature should
be proposing to prohibit new and
renewed discharge permits for virtually all municipal
wastewater treatment systems in the
Great Lakes basin as well, because virtually all
public wastewater treatment systems also
pose the potential for discharge of bio-accumulative
chemicals from household, industrial and
non-point sources. Obviously, legislators would
recognize that as an illogical and impractical
response to requirements of the Great Lakes Initiative.
New York has implemented stringent
new limits on bio-accumulative discharges in the
Great Lakes basin and, as mentioned above,
has strict requirements in place regarding the
treatment and management of hazardous
wastes. This legislation simply contributes absolutely
nothing to meeting our toxic release
- While New York is a net “importer” of hazardous wastes, businesses and municipalities in New York State still remain dependent on out of state disposal capacity for both hazardous and municipal solid wastes. In fact, New York is a significant exporter of solid wastes – sending about 7 million tons of garbage to out of state disposal facilities each year. Legislation like this that would eliminate in-state capacity will adversely impact New York by helping renew calls on the national level for restrictions on interstate shipments of wastes. New York would face significant capacity shortfalls, and increased costs, if other states were able to erect barriers or punitive fees on interstate waste shipments.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes enactment of S.5862/A.248-B.