The New York State Solid Waste Examiner
News From Assemblymember William Colton
Chair, Legislative Commission on Solid Waste Management

4 Empire State Plaza, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12248 • (518) 455-3711 Winter Edition 2005/2006

Assemblymember William Colton

Brownfields Funding


Electronics Recycling

Environmental Benefit Projects Policy

“Green” Procurement

Lead in Jewelry, Candy & Lunchboxes

Mercury Products Ban

NYC Solid Waste Management Plan

NYS Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

NYS Utility Renewable Portfolio Standard

NY Recycles License

Waste Tire Management


Marilyn M. DuBois
Patrick Golden
Percival Miller
Richard Morse

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

The 2005 session was both lively and unique as the Legislature passed an on-time budget and other important environmental initiatives. Of particular importance was the Legislature’s success in securing in increase of $25 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to $150 million. The Governor’s attempt to off-load other programs onto the EPF was soundly rejected by the Legislature.

An issue that has captured the Commission’s attention is the need for disposal options for electronic equipment (e-waste). I have introduced several bills on this topic, including a proposal that would hold manufacturers of such equipment responsible for the collection, recycling, reuse and disposal of their products. I have been working with the Council of State Governments Northeast Regional office and the Northeast Recycling Council in their efforts to develop a regional model for e-waste recycling.

I have also introduced legislation that would create a “New York Recycles” license plate, a concept proposed by the New York State Association for Recycling, Reuse and Recovery (NYSAR3). The proceeds from the sale of this license plate would be dedicated to the support of local recycling programs.

The Legislature and the Governor negotiated multi-year funding for brownfields projects that are authorized under the Brownfield Clean-Up and Superfund Refinancing law enacted in 2003. The funding will be utilized for municipal and community-based organization planning grants, increased public participation, establishment of a groundwater database and technical assistance grants.

I have provided comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on changes to their Environmental Benefit Projects (EBP) Policy. The policy establishes conditions and limitations on the use of EBPs. I remain concerned that the policy allows too much latitude for violators. After all, EBPs may be used to provide some penalty offset to violators and therefore should not be available to all violators. This newsletter describes my comments to the DEC and final policy adopted by DEC.

The Commission staff has worked on several pieces of legislation limiting or eliminating lead in jewelry, candy and children’s lunchboxes. The presence of lead in these types of products is of particular concern because of the significant opportunity for lead exposure to children.

The Commission has also focused attention on the need to protect children’s environmental health and safety in schools through the development of a bill package for reducing pesticides and eliminating toxic materials and construction in schools, regulating school siting, and establishing requirements for healthy and high performance schools. The Governor finally joined in this effort by putting forth a “green” procurement bill for schools which the Legislature acted upon quickly, and which has now become law (Chapter 584 of the Laws of 2005).

Other issues of significance that I have been involved with include expansion of the 2003 law limiting products that may contain mercury, expansion of the waste tire management program, continuing oversight of the NYC Solid Waste Management Plan, and our on-going efforts to eliminate burn barrels in NYS.

As always, I appreciate your interest in our activities and welcome any comments or suggestions you may have on our publications.


It’s Easy Being Green!
Green Cleaning Products for Schools -

The Assembly Takes the Lead and the Governor Follows
New York City Establishes Green Building Requirements

The Assembly Continues Leadership Advocacy for Green Schools

The Assembly has once again passed several bills that were developed by the Commission and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Colton and former Commission Chair Steven Englebright. The bills include

  • A 2254 Requires schools to utilize integrated pest management and only use the least toxic pesticides as the last resort to control pest problems. Passed Assembly.

  • A 2253 Requires schools to be sited with consideration of surrounding facilities, including hazard waste sites, incinerators and landfills. Passed Assembly.

  • A 2255 Requires Office of General Services to develop lists of “green” supplies and materials which schools must consider in their procurement practices. Passed Assembly.

  • A 6905 Establishes the Children’s Environmental Health and Safety Bill of Rights, and requires state agencies to review their regulations to ensure consideration of these rights. Passed Assembly.

The Assembly and Senate passed joint resolutions calling on the Governor to proclaim April 18, 2005 as Health and High Performance Schools Day in NYS and further to proclaim the week of April 18-22, 2005 as School Buildings Week.

The Big Apple Goes Green

In September, the NYC Council unanimously passed a bill (324-A) that would require all construction and rehabilitation of municipal buildings, including schools, hospitals and City offices, to meet “green building” standards. The Mayor signed the bill on October 3, 2005 which will take effect on January 1, 2006. In addition to City-owned buildings, the requirements also apply to private development projects that receive more than $10 million in City funding. New York City is the largest school district in the nation.

These buildings would be required to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Silver standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Council is a coalition of real estate and environmental organizations working to promote green buildings. Buildings receive LEED certification if their designs score sufficient “points” in five general design areas, including siting, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. There are exceptions for certain smaller classification of buildings.

Green Cleaning Products for Schools and State Government

As noted above, the NYS Assembly has once again passed a number of bills that would create environmentally safe and healthy schools in New York. Unfortunately, these bills did not pass the Senate nor were they endorsed by the Governor. However, the Governor issued an Executive Order requiring “green cleaning products procurement” for State agencies and recommended legislation to create the same requirement for schools. See the OGS website (; click on “procurement contracts”; click on “environmentally preferable purchasing”) for further information on this initiative.

The Governor’s proposal only applies to elementary and secondary schools and requires the Office of General Services to develop guidelines and specification s for “environmentally sensitive” cleaning and maintenance products. This information is to be disseminated to and used by schools. The Legislature approved the bill which has been signed into law by the Governor Chapter 584, Laws of 2005. The new law took effect on September 1, 2005.

NYC Skyline
Assemblyman Colton stated, “I applaud this initiative by the NYC Council. By requiring construction and maintenance of environmentally healthy and high performance schools, this new law will save energy, reduce maintenance costs, and more importantly, improve the health and performance of our children and the working environment for school staff.”
photo photo

Assembly Increases Funding for
Recycling in On-time Budget

The Assembly increased funding for environmental projects in the first on-time budget in twenty years. While denying the Governor’s attempt to offload various initiatives to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), the Legislature increased funding of the EPF by $25 million for a total of $150 million for the state fiscal year that began on April 1.

Included in this year’s EPF appropriation is an increase to $7 million for municipal recycling projects and $7 million for secondary materials marketing and waste prevention grants strongly advocated by Assemblyman Colton. This represented a $2 million increase over the Governor’s proposal for this category and a half million dollar increase over last year’s appropriation. These programs provide funding for municipal recycling programs and grants to private sector and not-for-profit organizations for projects which increase the use of recyclable materials in manufacturing or reduce pollution in manufacturing processes. Assemblyman Colton was also successful in passing of the Recycling License Plate bill in the Assembly (see separate article in this newsletter). Fees raised from the sale of these plates will go into the Solid Waste sub-account of the EPF.

Other EPF funded initiatives supported by Assemblyman Colton include:

  • $ 3 million for municipal landfill closure projects

  • $ 14.250 million for local waterfront revitalization projects

  • $ 14.315 million for municipal parks

  • $ 6 million for zoos, botanical gardens and aquaria

  • $ 40 million for open preservation

  • $ 11.7 million for non-point source pollution control

  • $ 3 million for Quality Community Grants


The Legislature also provided $15 million for brownfield projects (see separate article in this newsletter) and $18 million for waste tire remediation projects in this year’s budget. Assemblyman Colton will continue to advocate for environmental funding in a fiscally prudent manner.

Assemblyman William Colton at the joint Assembly/Senate public hearings on the Department of Environmental Conservation Budget

Legislature and Governor Agree on “Groundbreaking” Funding for Brownfield Projects

Environmental Coalition calls for more
public hearings on DEC Regulations

In March, the Legislature and the Governor agreed on funding for brownfield projects. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was entered into for $30 million of funding to cover the past two fiscal years. An additional $15 million was included in this year’s FY 2005-06 budget. The agreement ensures a multi-year funding stream aimed at addressing thousands of contaminated properties.

Under the agreement, community-based organizations and municipalities will have access to over $23 million in financial assistance for neighborhood planning and brownfield site assessment. This will include Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) grants and Technical Assistance grants (TAGs).

Specific provisions of the agreement authorize:

  • $9 million for BOA grants to municipalities and community-based organizations to plan for the redevelopment of brownfields within targeted urban areas, including funding for planning and site assessment;

  • an additional $10 million for future BOA grants;

  • $3 million for TAGs for community based organizations to increase public participation and assist communities in the evaluation of site data and the development of public areas;

  • $2.75 million to set up a groundwater database to help identify contaminated groundwater and protect sensitive groundwater sources: and

  • $4 million for staff support of BOA and TAG administration

The application deadline for this year’s BOA grants was June 30th. An additional $15 million provided in this year’s budget will be subject to a future agreement. These programs were authorized by the historic Brownfield Clean-Up and Superfund Refinancing legislation enacted in 2003 (Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2003).

DEC Regulations

DEC has been working on draft regulations with the Department of Health for almost two years and the agency released the draft regulations in November 2005. The statute requires a minimum of three hearings on the draft regulations which are scheduled for March 2006.

A coalition of environmental organizations has called on the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to increase the number of public hearings in order to provide citizens from across the state with an adequate opportunity to review and comment.

The new regulations will create three tiers of cleanup standards for brownfield sites, depending on the proposed future use for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.

Lead Exposure for Children Continues
New York State Working To Eliminate the Problem
ead is a neurotoxin that can cause acute effects (seizures, coma and death) and chronic effects (attention deficit problems learning disabilities, mental retardation and behavioral problems). Lead has been found to be particularly hazardous to young children – even very low lead levels can cause brain function impairment. No level of lead exposure has been found to be safe for a developing child. Despite its known toxic effects, lead continues to be used in products that are specifically marketed for children. Several legislative initiatives have been introduced to reduce or eliminate exposure to lead.
Lead in Children’s Jewelry

High concentrations of lead have consistently been found in inexpensive jewelry, particularly jewelry sold to and for children. Assemblyman Colton joined Assemblyman David Koon as a co-prime sponsor of his bill (A 7726-A/S 5300-A Alesi) after investigations showed that limited federal action has failed to eliminate or reduce this significant health threat.

Only after legal action by the Center for Environmental Health in California, the federal Consumer Produce Safety Commission conducted the largest product recall in U.S. history by removing more than 150 million pieces of children’s jewelry from vending machines nationwide in 2004. In March 2005, another 2.8 million pieces of children’s jewelry sold as “Charming Thoughts” were recalled by CPSC. However, these recalls have failed to deal with much of lead-tainted jewelry being sold in the U.S, most of which is imported into the country.

The CPSC has been working on this problem for six years, yet the agency has refused to promulgate binding rules. The current CPSC approach has serious deficiencies including

  • failure to adopt regulations for lead in children’s jewelry and no requirements for industry to test children’s jewelry;

  • failure to address cumulative exposures from multiple components;

  • failure to include other types of jewelry, including that made with PVC plastics, which may also contain lead; and

  • failure to provide a clear standard for unacceptable lead levels in children’s jewelry.

Following the CPSC recall, a Rochester citizen organization purchased jewelry in a number of large retail stores in the Rochester area. Laboratory tests confirmed high levels of lead in all of the jewelry - one piece of jewelry contained 61,000 parts per million (ppm) lead and a another piece contained 45,500 ppm lead!

A 7726-A would prohibit the sale of lead-containing jewelry with:

  • more than 600 ppm after July 1, 2006; and

  • more than 200 ppm after January 1, 2008.

The bill would also require DEC to publish and widely disseminate information on the dangers and hazardous of jewelry containing lead. The bill is in the Assembly and Senate Environmental Conservation Committees.

Lead in Candy

An even more insidious problem has arisen. The CEH in California has identified high levels of lead in candy imported from Mexico. Their campaign has led the Federal Drug Administration to issue warnings on the availability of lead-contaminated candy. Certain ingredients such as chili powder and tamarind may be a source of lead exposure. Lead may also enter candy from the small clay pots in which they are packaged. These pots are covered with a glaze that is mostly lead. The pots are filled with candy - a sticky pulp made from the pods of the tamarind tree - which absorbs lead from the pottery glaze. Lead may also be found in the ground chili powder and tamarind used in the candy.

These candies are sold in U.S. grocery stores and are often sold to Latino children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The American Public Health Association has called on the FDA to establish lead enforcement standards of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) for candies, claiming that the current standards fail to adequately protect children who consume the candies.

In May 2005, the New York City Council and the Mayor approved legislation that prohibits the sale of candy containing lead, as well as the sale of litargirio which is used to treat burns and wounds and contains high levels of lead, in New York City.

Assemblyman Colton has joined Assemblyman Steven Englebright as a co-prime sponsor of legislation that would ban the sale of candy in New York State containing lead. (A 8226-A). The bill was sent to the Codes Committee by the Health Committee.

Lead in Children’s Plastic Lunchboxes

In August, CEH sent out a press release announcing its lawsuit against manufacturers and retailers of soft vinyl lunch boxes that can expose children to harmful levels of lead. Companies including Toys R Us, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Time Warner and Walgreens were sent notices of violation under California’s Toxics Law, Proposition 65. These companies produce lunch boxes with characters such as Superman, Tweety Bird, Powerpuff Girls and Hamtaro. An Angela Anaconda box made by Targus International tested at 56,400 ppm, more than 90 times the 600 ppm legal limit for lead in paint in children’s products.

Recently, NYS Attorney General Eliot Spitzer reach an agreement with Fast Forward, LLC, a wholesaler of consumer products, to recall thousands of these lunchboxes. Between March and September 2005, thousands of these soft plastic and mesh lunch boxes were sold by retailers across New York. Lead was used as an ingredient in the lunch boxes to stabilize the vinyl.

In addition, WalMart and Target have voluntarily pulled these lunch boxes from their shelves. Other retailers that have sold the Fast Forward lunch boxes (label inside box) include Cookies, JC Penney, Sears, Toys R Us, Value City, Rainbow, Marmaxx and RB Distributor.

The Commission is working on legislation to eliminate the threat posed by these lunch boxes, yet another path of exposure to lead for children.

Consumer Information on Lead Jewelry

The Consumer Product Safety Commission website has pictures of the type of jewelry that has been found to contain lead. This is by no means the entire spectrum of such jewelry, but may help parents to avoid purchasing lead-contaminated jewelry. The website address is

Assemblyman Colton Participates in Stakeholder Project
To Develop a Northeast Regional Model for Electronics Recycling

During the past year, the Council of State Governments (CSG), Eastern Regional Conference and the Northeast Recycling Coalition (NERC) initiated a collaborative effort to develop a legislative model for electronic equipment recycling in the Northeastern United States. State Legislators from fourteen states in the northeast joined in a stakeholder effort to achieve consensus on a model bill that could be introduced in all of the states. Assemblyman Colton and Commission staff actively participated in this program as part of the Commission’s commitment to enact electronics recycling legislation in New York. In addition, electronic equipment manufacturers, retailers and other stakeholders were invited to present their views and concerns throughout the process.

The principal goal of the draft legislation is “producer responsibility,” a concept that holds the manufacturers of electronic equipment responsible for their recovery, reuse and recycling. The legislation is nearing completion and the group expects to release their final product shortly. During 2006, representatives from the Northeast states will introduce legislation fashioned after this model.

Some of the more difficult issues to resolve have been the scope of electronic equipment covered by the program, the financing mechanism to support the program, the role of retailers and accounting for units sold, methods of electronic equipment recovery and responsibility for orphan products. Assemblyman Colton has been a strong proponent of manufacturer responsibility for managing “e-waste” and plans to introduce new legislation in 2006 as part of this Northeast cooperative effort.

NYS Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) Contracts with the NYS Office of General Services (OGS) for Electronics Recycling

Assemblyman William Colton participates in the CSG/NERC stakeholder meeting on electronics equipment recycling in Connecticut

Assemblyman Colton stated “I commend the efforts of NYSID to recycle electronic equipment. This cooperative recycling effort utilizing disabled persons is highly preferable to the on-going OGS program of selling surplus electronics on eBay. The OGS program does not guarantee security, proper handling of toxic components or even the best market price.”

In June 2005 the NYS Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) received the approval of the NYS Procurement Council for “preferred source status” for electronics recycling services. This approval occurred after months of discussions with OGS regarding the NYSID proposal.

The NYS Finance Law establishes requirements for OGS to manage surplus computer equipment. First priority for surplus computers is given for educational uses through the NYS Department of Education. Computer equipment is defined as computers, memory units, floppy disk and hard disk drives, printers, modems, scanners, monitors, software and other peripherals.

Computer equipment deemed to be no longer useful may be disposed of through sales.

NYSID proposed a program to recycle computer equipment at three locations

  • Watkins Glen (Glen Industries),

  • Menands (The Altamont Program/Waste Management and Recycling Products based in Scotia as the corporate partner), and

  • Astoria (Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ/Per Scholas in the Bronx as the corporate partner).

These organizations have all had experience in electronics recycling.

Assemblyman Colton Continues Advocacy for
Electronic Equipment Recycling Laws

NYS Assembly Passes Several Bills

“The enormous quantity of electronic waste generated in this country and the impact of its disposal requires us to
develop effective programs for collection, reuse and recycling
in an environmentally and economically sound manner.
I am committed to creating
a viable program in
New York State.”

-Assemblyman William Colton

Assemblyman Colton again introduced several bills in 2005 to create recycling programs and requirements for electronic equipment recovery, reuse and recycling. Currently, consumers do not have regular opportunities to return electronics for reuse or recycling. As previously reported in our newsletters, there are a few companies or municipalities that offer services to the public for recycling and reusing electronic equipment or sponsor occasional e-waste collection days.

Electronic equipment contains toxic components, including lead, mercury and heavy metals. The Colton package of bills that provide for environmentally sound electronic equipment recovery includes the following:

  • A 1454 Colton et al/S 1287 Marcellino – Electronics Equipment Recycling Act: The bill would

    • Prohibit cathode ray tube (CRT) disposal in a solid waste facility after Jan. 1, 2008

    • Create the electronic equipment recycling program funded through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) for waste reduction, reuse and recycling, and market development projects

    • Direct DEC to establish a list of equipment targeted for recycling and to determine the best means of collecting and managing equipment recycling

    • Create enforcement requirements, including CRT disposal penalties

The bill passed the Assembly with one negative vote in April as part of the Earth Day Agenda and remains in the Senate Conservation Committee.

  • A 1455 Colton et al/S 1563 Marcellino – Requires DEC to develop standards for electronic equipment recyclers. The bill would require DEC to promulgate standards and guidelines for businesses that recycle, reuse and remanufacture electronic equipment, to ensure that these companies properly handle equipment and recover toxic components. The bill was reported to the Assembly calendar and remains in the Senate Conservation Committee.

  • A 3390 Colton et al/S 636 Marcellino – Wireless Telephone Recycling: The bill would require wireless phone retailers to accept used phones for recycling and make it unlawful to dispose of them as solid waste. Wireless phones contain significant amounts of numerous toxic components, including arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc as well as bromated flame retardants. The bill unanimously passed the Assembly and remains in the Senate Rules Committee.

  • A 3200 Colton et al – Producer Responsibility Act for Electronic Equipment: This bill would establish manufacturer responsibility for the proper disposal of electronic equipment identified by DEC as hazardous. Manufacturers would be required to operate collections centers for electronic equipment. This bill may be supplanted by the new proposal being developed by the Northeast states as discussed in this newsletter. The bill is currently in the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.

  • A 3334 Colton et al/S 1562 Marcellino – Electronic Equipment Recycling Personal Income Tax Credit: The bill would provide a personal income tax credit for costs incurred for recycling electronic equipment, as an added incentive to recycle electronics. The bill is in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Investigations Committee.

DEC Issues Final Environmental
Benefit Projects Policy Guidance

Assemblyman Colton Remains Concerned With Final Policy

In June, 2005, Assemblymembers William Colton, Thomas DiNapoli, Steven Englebright, David Koon, Richard Brodsky, Alexander Grannis and Ruben Diaz, Jr. sent a letter to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on its Draft Environmental Benefit Project (EBP) Policy Guidance Revisions. The original policy was issued in 1995 and the revised policy takes effect on November 14, 2005.

Assemblyman Colton is pleased that a number of important concerns raised in the letter have been addressed in the final Policy Document; however, some issues have not been satisfactorily resolved.


The following recommendations made by the Assemblymembers were incorporated into the Final EBP Policy:

  • Nexus: The proximity of the EBP to the area or community of environmental insult has been a condition of major concern. The revised Policy gives preference to projects having a direct programmatic nexus to the violation(s) and undertaken in the immediate geographic area or community of the violation. However, there is still too much leeway in the nexus definition as discussed below in the Bad News section.

  • Education Projects: The Assemblymembers recommended that environmental education projects should 1) be limited in use and scope to ensure their relevance, 2) aid in understanding the nature and impact of the violations and help the community monitor environmental violations.

  • Penalty Mitigation: The Assemblymembers recommended that the Guidance prevent a violator from claiming any type of tax advantage from an EBP, which has been incorporated into the Final Policy.

  • Funding Mechanisms: The Assemblymembers were concerned that the revised Policy allowed “unspecified future EBPs”, allowing penalty reductions based on a contribution of monies to designated accounts for this purpose without criteria to determine how and when such projects would occur. The Final Policy requires future EPB’s to conform to the Policy and requires a date by which EBP funds must be spent or converted to a penalty and forfeited to the State.


There are a number of issues which remain of significant concern in the Final Policy Guidance. They include:

  • Eligible Parties: The Assemblymembers recommended retention of the original EBP Policy language prohibiting use of EBPs by persons who had records of significant noncompliance, committed violations intentionally and/or committed violations that resulted in a public health threat or serious environmental harm. The Final Policy fails to prohibit the use of EBPs by such violators.

  • Nexus: The Final Policy expands nexus by allowing EBP projects to be undertaken “within the same ecosystem, watershed or airshed in which the violation occurred.” The Assemblymembers believe that the primary purpose of an EBP should be to benefit the community and the immediate geographic area of the environmental insult or injury.

Secondly, the Final Policy lacks specificity on the type of projects that constitute nexus, including pollution prevention and risk reduction projects. The Assemblymembers had recommended that Policy retain the original language on nexus and stipulate that P2 projects should not include compliance projects.

  • Penalty Calculation: The original Guidance used the terms ”economic benefit of non-compliance” (benefit component) and “gravity of the violation” (gravity component) in the calculation of the penalty. In addition, the application of these terms needed to be defined - EBPs should only be used to adjust the gravity portion and not off-set the economic benefit portion of the civil penalty. The Final Revised Guidance fails to define how these components will be used to calculate the penalty and does not limit the use of EBPs to adjust only the gravity portion of the penalty.

  • Escrow Agents: The Assemblymembers recommended the Final Policy mitigate the potential misuse of funds by requiring 1) a reasonable maximum limit on fees and charges in the policy, 2) publication of the independent escrow agents with whom DEC has agreements, and 3) that monies in trust be subject to audit by the State Comptroller. The Final EPB Policy does require a reasonable maximum limit on administrative or management fees, but does not address the second and third points.

Assemblyman Colton and the Commission staff will continue to monitor the implementation of the EBP program and make recommendations for its improvement.

New York’s Utility Renewable
Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS)

wind energy
In our 2004 newsletter, we described the proceeding conducted by the NYS Public Service Commission on (PSC) to establish requirements for a utility Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). By requiring that 25% of a utility’s energy production come from renewable resources, New York would reduce its dependence on fossil fuel and reduce the production of greenhouse gases. The PSC issued an Order for renewable energy capacity to increase from its 2003 level of 19% to 25% by 2013, and an RPS Implementation Plan. New renewable energy capacity would be created through contracts administered by NYSERDA; 24% would come from producers selling, delivering, or funding new in-state and on-site renewable energy installations and 1% would come from voluntary ‘green energy’ market activity. The program will be re-evaluated in 2008. The initiative expires in 2013, when it is expected to reach its goal.
Solar Module

The federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2005, thereby spurring increased energy procurement. To ensure PTC availability for renewable energy producers, the PSC authorized a ‘fast track’ procurement initiative and bid solicitation in December 2004. This process resulted in seven contracts totaling 821,000 MWh. The PSC believes this capacity satisfies most of the RPS’s first year energy goal. The PTC credit has recently been extended to 2007.

Stationary Fuel Cell

In April 2005, the PSC finalized energy procurement procedures and eligibility criteria, which require production technologies (wind, solar, clean biomass, biogas, fuel cell, ocean wave, and other sources) to meet specific environmental guidelines, have viable capacity, and commit to exclusive RPS energy delivery for the contract term. In November 2005, PSC added methane-producing farm digesters in its list of eligible customer-sited (solar, small wind, fuel cell, and other emerging) technologies. Waste-to-energy sources are currently ineligible for incentives, unless the waste portion is source separated and meets the RPS acceptable biomass standard.

New York State’s Regional
Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Approved by Seven Northeast States

The first mandatory cap-and-trade program to control carbon dioxide emission in the United States was announced by the governors of seven Northeast states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) began in spring 2003 with voluntary participation by these states, plus Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with Pennsylvania in observer status. New York is the largest single contributor to RGGI emissions of CO2, at about 44% or 65.5 million tons total from the nine original RGGI states.

The group held numerous meetings with energy, environmental and policy stakeholders from state, public and private sectors, and sponsored nine regional workshops. Agency involvement from NYS included the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC).

Goals of the RGGI Plan

  • reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from heat and power production using flexible, least-cost energy market practices,

  • building upon existing energy programs,

  • creating a model process that national government and other state regions can emulate,

  • maintaining an affordable, reliable and diversified state energy supply, and

  • allowing for future RGGI participation by neighboring US states.

Phase One

  • collection, analysis, and modeling of current energy production emissions data to predict future emissions over the next 20 years,

  • examination of cost impact issues, and

  • creation of stakeholder participation procedures.

The RGGI states reached agreement that an average of the 2000-2004 output would be set as the baseline for RGGI CO2 emissions.

Phase Two

The second phase produced two regulatory products – A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and a Model Rule. The MOU required the RGGI states to adopt the Model Rule, establish a regional organization to assist with technical issues, establish future offsets, and develop an emissions and allowances tracking and greenhouse gas registry.

The Model Rule sets two phases for the regional CO2 cap by

  • freezing current emission levels until 2015 when the RGGI program is to be reviewed

  • requiring an additional 10% reduction by 2019.

RGGI states must comply within 3 years of the 2009 start of the program.

State CO2 Caps

State CO2 caps have now been proposed and states have also been assigned energy allowances for future demand, 20% of which is to go to public benefit (efficiency and renewable energy technology promotion, emissions reduction technology, and lowering consumer costs). The Rule defines types of acceptable emissions credits or offsets and guidelines for their determination and use. It sets rules for reducing the impact of energy imports on state CO2 emissions caps, compliance schedules and enforcement, and requires state monitoring and reporting similar to federal standards for SOx control. The Rule applies to energy sector facilities producing at least 25 MW capacity combusting more that 50% fossil fuel and selling more than 10% of their output to the transmission grid.

The critical issues for setting individual state CO2 caps are how they should be measured, relative state and energy producer costs, and how they will affect state energy development needs. ‘Leakage,’ or the effect on state CO2 caps of energy imports from non-participating states, is addressed by requiring states to set up a regional ‘strategic carbon offset fund at 5% of their emissions budget; monitoring energy imports and estimating leakage. If the 2015 review shows RGGI ‘leakage’ to have a significant effect on state emissions cap maintenance, additional controls will be set.

New York City Solid Waste
Management Plan Update

Closure of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island in 2001 signified a great step toward more environmentally responsible management of New York City’s solid waste stream. It also prompted a major planning effort to manage the City’s massive 40,000 tons per day waste stream. An interim plan was developed, under which the City currently operates. Unfortunately, the interim plan increased the waste that City packer trucks deposited at truck-based transfer stations throughout the City. This worsened traffic problems within communities near these transfer stations and at the bridges and tunnels used by waste-bearing trucks to export waste out of the City.

It became clear that the City desperately needed a new long-term plan. The initial proposal by the previous City administration was based on the unworkable concept of reliance on the private sector to site, build, and operate marine transfer stations for waste disposal. Additionally, a major component of this proposal - a containerization facility in Linden, New Jersey – was severely criticized by NJ residents and government officials.

In 2002, the new Mayor proposed a new version of a long-term waste management plan for the City which included the restoration and retrofit of eight currently-unused marine transfer stations (MTSs) as waste containerization and barging facilities. In October 2004, the Department of Sanitation (DOS) released the Draft Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan (DCSWMP) which replaced four of the MTS facilities with truck-to-rail waste transfer operations. Since then, the plan approval process has continued with considerable debate and negotiation. When a long-term Plan is approved by the City Council, it must be submitted to NYS DEC for their approval.

Recycle Arrow
Assemblyman William Colton at the electronics recycling day sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Bensonhurst (CCB) in Drier Offerman Park in Brooklyn, with CCB President Adeline Michaels and Sal Demarco

Assemblyman Colton Introduces Legislation to Create a “New York Recycles” License Plate

First Recycling License Plate in the U.S.

NY Recycle License Plate

Assemblyman Colton stated “Recycling has become an integral part of managing solid and hazardous wastes in New York State. This license plate offers New Yorkers the opportunity to visibly demonstrate their personal commitment to the concepts of reduction, reuse and recycling. In addition, purchase of the license plate would increase funding for municipal recycling.
In April, Assemblyman Colton introduced legislation (A 6799) that would create a “New York Recycles” license plate. The bill would require a $25.00 annual fee for each license plate sale and renewal that would be credited to the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) Solid Waste Account. The money would be utilized to fund municipal waste reduction or recycling activities.

Currently there is a custom plate available form the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the “organizational” plate section. The Colton bill would change the designation to an “issues” license plate, thereby raising the visibility of the plate’s availability on the DMV web site. In addition, the bill would require that the annual fee be deposited in the EPF to provide further support for local recycling efforts. The bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Carl Marcellino (S 3643).

Assemblyman Colton worked with the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) in the development of this legislation. NYSAR3 was instrumental in developing the “organizational” plate in cooperation with the DMV.

This license plate would be the first of its kind in the country. Other states may follow suit, according to NYSAR3. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer also supports the legislation, noting that every community in New York is required to have recycling programs in place.


Waste Tire Management and Recycling Act
–A Success Story

The Waste Tire Management and Recycling Act of 2003 established a funding source and requirements for cleanup of abandoned waste tire stockpiles and waste tire market development.

A fee of $2.50 per new tire for road-based motor vehicles is the funding source. During the first full year of the fee’s implementation (fiscal year 2004-05), collections totaled $27 million. Eighteen million dollars was appropriated for waste tire stockpile abatement and market development programs. An appropriation of $18 million was also included in the 2005-06 budget for the waste tire programs.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) submitted a Waste Tire Stockpile Abatement Plan to the Legislature and Governor in 2004 as required by the Act. The Plan provides for elimination of all noncompliant waste tire stockpiles in the State by the end of 2010. Site owners or operators must meet this requirement by that time or, if they fail, DEC must complete abatement work.

The Plan contains a comprehensive evaluation of waste tire stockpiles statewide and prioritizes the 95 identified non-compliant waste tire stockpiles in New York. There are several criteria for prioritization, with the size of the stockpile (number of tires) being primary. DEC has determined that 12 of the stockpiles should be “initial target sites” where abatement activities are most immediately needed. These are primarily sites with the greatest number of tires, making up approximately 93 percent of the estimated 30 million stockpiled tires statewide. Most of these sites have been contracted out by DEC for abatement, with a few under agreement for cleanup by a site owner or operator. At the present time, all but one of the sites is undergoing or has undergone cleanup. The only initial target site where abatement has not yet begun is currently under litigation. This site holds approximately two million tires representing six to seven percent of the estimated stockpiled waste tires statewide.

The law requires greater use of waste tires in road construction (e.g. tire chips in civil engineering applications) by the NYS Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority. Since the new law went into effect, more than 3 million tires have been beneficially used in this manner. Additional highway projects are pending that will utilize significant numbers of tires in the near future. Additionally, the Environmental Services Unit in the Department of Economic Development continues to actively promote markets for waste tire reduction, reuse, and recycling, while the Energy Research and Development Authority fosters productive uses for waste tires.

The Waste Tire Act has been a significant factor in addressing the problems created by waste tires. To further the effectiveness of the Act, Assemblyman Colton has sponsored legislation to expedite cleanup and assure necessary funding with fairer application of waste tire fees.

  • A 7600 Colton (S 4115 Marcellino), would declare a non-compliant waste tire stockpile to be a “public nuisance,” expedite the waste tire stockpile abatement process and assist in the recovery of state-incurred expenditures from owners/operators of such stockpiles.

  • A 6402-A Colton (S 1485-A Marcellino) would apply the waste tire management and recycling fee to new tire sales through internet, mail order, and catalogs. This bill passed the Assembly in 2005 and remains in the Senate Rules Committee.

Legislature Approves Expansion of Mercury-Added Consumer Products Law of 2004 Governor Signs Bill into Law

Assemblyman Colton joined Assemblymember Thomas DiNapoli in sponsoring a bill to expand the list of mercury-added consumer products that would be banned from sale or distribution (A6850-A DiNapoli/S4469-A Marcellino). The new provisions include:

  • After January 1, 2006, sale or distribution of mercury barometers, mercury esophageal dilators, mercury bougie tubes, mercury gastrointestinal tubes, mercury flow meters, mercury hygrometers, mercury psychrometers and mercury pyrometers is prohibited.

  • After January 1, 2007, sale or distribution of mercury hydrometers or mercury manometers is prohibited

  • After January 1, 2008, sale or distribution of mercury switches, mercury relays individually or as part of a product component is prohibited.

  • By February 20, 2008, DEC would be required to issue a written finding whether non-mercury alternatives are available and comparable in price, accuracy and performance for mercury sphygmomanometers, mercury wetted reed relays, mercury flame sensors, mercury thermometers (other than those already prohibited) mercury and thermostats.

In addition, DEC would be authorized to collect data from product manufacturers or trade associations on mercury-added products.

The bill was signed into law by the Governor on September 16, 2005 as Chapter 676 of the Laws of 2005.

Recycle Arrow To further our efforts to reduce waste, please inform us if you have a change in address by calling us at (518) 455-3711, fax at (518) 455-3837 or write us at:
The LCSWM, 4 Empire State Plaza, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12248

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