This story originally provided by NPR
April 20, 2005
Environmentalists Lobby for New Bottle Law
by Karen DeWitt
ALBANY, NEW YORK (2005-04-19) Environmental groups used a bit of humor to illustrate their contention that the state's bottle law should be expanded to include deposits on plastic containers of water, juice and tea. They strung bottles on 2400 feet of rope, and then used the lines to encircle the state Capitol. The New York Public Interest Research Group's Laura Haight says the idea was inspired by the recent exhibition "The Gates" in New York's Central Park.
"We're channeling Christo," she joked. Haight says like the artist's Manhattan exhibit in February, "The Bottles" exhibit is also temporary, 15 minutes long, to be exact, from noon until 12:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Haight says bottles represent the number of non-deposit containers thrown away every 30 seconds in New York State.
The bill to add the 5 cents deposit to bottles manufactured by the booming bottled water, juice and tea industry has faced stiff opposition from the beverage and super market industries. The legislation, which is sponsored in the Assembly by Thomas DiNapoli, a Long Island Democrat, would also force beverage manufacturers to give back unclaimed deposits to the state, to fund environmental projects.
Other issues that environmentalists are pushing include a cap on toxic emissions from power plants within the state. The bill would cut carbon dioxide emissions from plants by at least 25% from 1990 levels in the next three years, says Robert Moore, with Environmental Advocates.
Moore says the cap would be a step toward curbing global warming. "New York State is the ninth largest economy on the planet, and we have higher CO2 emissions than many industrialized countries in Europe ," he said.
While the state does have some newer, cleaner burning power plants, it still has several old style plants, which were grandfathered in under the 1970 federal Clean Air Act. Those plants did not have to reduce their emissions.
They were expected to have been replaced by now, but many are still operating.
The state Assembly was scheduled to approve the carbon dioxide cap legislation Tuesday. The bill has 12 Majority party sponsors in the Senate, but has not advanced to the floor in that house for a vote.
Environmentalists hope the first on-time budget in two decades, finished earlier this month, gives lobby groups like theirs more time to work on policy issues, and to try to convince lawmakers to back more environmentally friendly bills.