Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mandate Relief Hurts Environment

Three proposals from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Mandate Relief Team could end up hurting the environment and cost more money down the road, according to an environmental advocate.
Ross Gould, the Air & Energy program director for Environmental Advocates of New York, said the suggestions on environmental issues are short sighted and misguided.
The three main proposals from the Mandate Relief Team on the environment include an end to various air permit fees, allowing limited burning of collected brush and delaying a requirement for low-sulfur oil for space heating.
"The state won't save any money from this," said Gould. He argued that the long-term health costs will vastly dwarf any minimal savings the state could see in the near future.
Gould noted that 55 percent of the state is already below federal levels of air quality, and he thought that messing with these environmental mandates would only make things worse. He said, "There's no need at this time to roll back any regulations."
Interestingly, on the low-sulfur oil issue, Gould pointed out that even the oil industry supported this measure. This is surprising considering that environmental groups and oil groups are rarely on the same side of an issue. He added that the legislation mandating low-sulfur oil by July of 2012 already included a circuit breaker option in case oil prices got too high.
"Hopefully during this ongoing process they'll see there aren't any savings to the state," concluded Gould.
(Editor's Note: A More expansive version of this article will appear in the Daily Gazette)

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