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Third Annual Albany Lobby Day

From left: Michelle Madden, Laurie Rothenberg, John Cusack, Greg Hale, Renata Silberstein (NRDC), Ying Li (NRDC), Tom Burnham, Chris Arndt, Kate Sinding (NRDC), Wendy Neu and Rich Schrader (NRDC)
On May 6, New York members were in Albany for E2’s third annual advocacy trip. Led by NRDC New York Legislative Director Rich Schrader and Senior Attorney Kate Sinding, E2 met with 14 legislative offices to share the economic case for three priority issues: electronic waste recycling, net metering and replacement tire efficiency.

Electronic Recycling and Reuse Act (A.8444B; S.7563)

Electronics are the fastest-growing segment of the municipal waste stream and contain toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium. This bill would require manufacturers who sell electronic goods in the state to develop programs to take back their products for recycling at the end of their useful life cycle. The most important element of this bill is its inclusion of mandatory collection standards, which ensure that producers will set up convenient and effective take-back and recycling programs and will effectively collect back the maximum amount of products. The Assembly bill passed in April. The companion Senate bill, introduced by Senator Carl Marcellino (5th District), has been referred to the Environmental Conservation Committee, and Senator Marcellino’s staff is drafting amendments to the bill. The Senator’s staff informed us at our meeting that performance standards are important and will be part of the final bill.

Net Metering (A.99902; S.7171B)
Net metering is an electricity policy for consumers who own generally small, renewable energy facilities, such as wind or solar power, or use vehicle-to-grid systems. Under net metering, a system owner receives retail credit for at least a portion of the electricity they generate. Net metering serves as an important incentive for consumer investment in renewable energy generation. It also provides a clean source of power to meet our increasing demand for electricity while reducing the stress on the state’s overburdened and aging transmission system. The proposed bill aims to change NY’s existing net metering law in the following ways:
  • Expand net metering to include all customer classes including commercial, industrial, municipal and non-profit enterprises.
  • Increase the size of projects eligible for net metering to 2 MW for all technology types.
  • Require that customers with on-site generation eligible for net metering receive the full retail rate (monthly credit) for the power they produce on an annual basis with a true-up period at the end of the year.
  • Expand the technologies eligible for net metering to include fuel cells in addition to wind energy, photovoltaics and methane digesters.
  • Eliminate the cap on the amount of on-site generation eligible for net metering within each utility territory, similar to New Jersey’s law.
  • Maintain the prohibition on discriminatory surcharges.
E2’s advocacy was mainly focused on the Senate side, where several competing bills have been proposed with different combinations of technologies. As of the week of our trip, a bill by Senator Owen Johnson (4th District), which includes solar and methane, passed the Senate and has been referred to the energy committee. Committee staff will be meeting to possibly add wind to Johnson’s bill, although there is opposition from western NY. Senator George Maziarz (62nd District) plans to introduce a separate bill that includes wind energy this week.

Replacement Tire Efficiency (A.10262; S. 8131)
The bill aims to establish fuel efficiency ratings and standards for replacement tires. Fuel-efficient replacement tires are currently available, but often their labeling does not make this feature apparent to consumers. In raising consumer awareness about replacement tires, the bill would encourage economically sound and environmentally friendly purchasing decisions. Energy efficient tires will save consumers money at the pump and achieve near-term oil savings for the entire state. E2 advocated for this issue last session, but the bill never passed the transportation committee. This session, the bill has passed the Assembly, but the Senate bill is having difficulty due to opposition from rubber manufacturers.

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