STAFF CONTACT :
The Business Council opposes this legislation that would impose inflexible statutory restrictions on the idling of most heavy duty on-road vehicles.
First, we question whether a statute is even needed. Similar, statewide restrictions already exist in Department of Environmental Conservation regulations. Likewise, some municipalities (including New York City) have imposed local restrictions on vehicle idle time – dispelling concerns, most prevalent in New York City, that local police officers cannot write tickets for excessive vehicle idling.
Second, we are concerned that, unlike existing statewide regulations, this bill would impose idle restrictions on all heavy duty vehicles, not just diesel vehicles. The state's diesel rules were adopted because of concerns specific to diesel engines, such as particulate emissions, which can be a significant ambient air quality issue in major cities. It is unclear whether similar restrictions on non-diesel vehicles are necessary to meet statewide air quality goals. Since the existing New York City idle restrictions already apply to non-diesel engines, there is no need for this legislation to address New York City-specific air quality issues.
Third, while some exemptions are provided in both the existing state regulations and this legislation, the legislation contains no regulatory mechanism for additional exemptions. As a result, any new categories of exemptions would have to wait (and wait and wait) for a possible legislative fix. Extending the existing DEC program to non-diesel vehicles heightens our concern about the lack of an exemption mechanism. At minimum, any such legislation should authorize DEC to adopt additional exemptions in regulation.
In summary, The Business Council believes that this legislation addresses an environmental concern that is already adequately addressed through the DEC's regulatory program. We are also concerned that the bill imposes restrictions on additional classes of vehicles with no compelling environmental need to do so. Lastly, we are concerned with the lack of flexibility in the proposed bill. For these reasons, we respectfully oppose adoption of S.883.