State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, as chair of the Senate Majorityâ€™s Upstate Caucus and Vice-Chair/Ranking Majority Member of the Senate Energy & Telecommunications Committee, today opened dialogue on the Global Warming Pollution Control Act (S.4315-A) to include business interests from across the state.
The roundtable, which was held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday with Sen. George Maziarz of Newfane, the Energy Committee Chair, was convened as part of the Senatorâ€™s ongoing commitment to having an open, bipartisan and public debate on legislation that will have a broad impact on New York State.
â€œAs we have done with other issues, this roundtable is aimed at collecting more information to help lawmakers make an educated decision on this wide ranging legislation,â€ Sen. Aubertine said. â€œCertainly, reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be on the agenda and weâ€™ve taken some important steps to do this in a way that creates jobs, as was done with the Green Jobs/Green New York legislation. This roundtable and the one held by the Environmental Conservation Committee will help me and my colleagues better understand the impact of this legislation and make decisions that take into account our environmental goals and our economic future.â€
The Global Warming Pollution Control Act would give the state Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to generate rules and regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissionsâ€”carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydro-fluorocarbons and other gassesâ€”to aggregate levels for 1990, then reduce by 10 percent every five years with a goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
â€œThis issue raises some very real concerns for manufacturers, energy producers and other industrial employers,â€ Sen. Aubertine said. â€œThis legislation has the potential for far reaching impacts beyond those employers as well, including farmers who have cattle and other livestock, all of which emit methane. When the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued draft regulations on this same issue in 2008, it made mention of a possible tax on cows that would have just put American farmers out of business to foreign competitors without ever reducing emissions.â€
â€œWe must be sure in considering this legislation that we protect against this type of leakage out of New York State,â€ Sen. Aubertine added. â€œWe cannot afford to have stringent regulations in this state alone push business and industry out to other states and other countries, taking jobs away here without reducing emissions.â€
Featured at todayâ€™s roundtable discussion were Ken Pokalsky, senior director of government affairs for the Business Council of New York State, Kim Ireland, senior government relations representative for National Grid, Thomas W. Faist, executive director of New York State Chemical Alliance, Stephen Rosario, senior director of American Chemistry Council, William Wofram chairman of New York State Chemical Alliance, Darren M. Suarez of Hinman Straub on behalf of Consolidated Edison, Gavin Donahue, president & CEO of Independent Power Producers of New York, John Tauzel, senior associate director of New York Farm Bureau, Patricia Paul, manager, government affairs for National Fuel Gas, former state Sen. Nicholas Spano, president of Empire Strategic Planning, David Koplas of Innovative Energy Systems, and Mike Elmendorf, state director of National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).