Memorandum in Opposition - S.4371-C (Biaggi) / A.6150-A (Septimo)

S.4371-C (Biaggi) / A.6150-A (Septimo) - AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to emissions of toxic air contaminants; and to amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing the community benefit fund

The Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. (IPPNY) is a trade association representing companies involved in the competitive power supply industry in New York State and in the development of electric generating facilities, the generation, sale, and marketing of electric power, and the development of natural gas transmission facilities. IPPNY Member companies produce the majority of New York's electricity, utilizing hydro, nuclear, wind, natural gas, solar, energy storage, biomass, oil, and waste-to-energy. 

IPPNY opposes S.4371-C (Biaggi) / A.6150-A (Septimo). The requirements of this legislation are unnecessary, overly broad, and redundant, given that power plant owners already monitor and report their stack emissions to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Those emissions are below minimum health risk standards. 

This legislation would require the DEC to issue a regulation, by July 1, 2022, to establish ambient air quality standards for toxic air contaminants listed within the bill. A plan would be required for the installation of fence line monitoring systems by sources subject to Title V of the Clean Air Act to measure the ambient air concentrations. Title V permits also are held by a variety of entities, such as large apartment buildings, hospitals, colleges and universities, wastewater treatment plants, and other businesses. The monitoring system would need to be installed no later than 30 days after the plan is approved by the DEC. The DEC cannot issue a permit, certificate or other approval for sources that violate ambient air quality standards.
The requirement to monitor emissions at the facility’s fence line would capture ground-level ambient emissions associated with sources beyond the control of the electric generating facilities and other Title V permit holders, such as motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline service stations, industrial solvents, manufacturing facilities, incinerators, chemical waste storage facilities, and pulp and paper mills. Title V permitting requirements for electric generating facilities should not be based upon ground-level emission measurements and instead should continue to be based on existing measurement and reporting processes.  

Large facilities have existing incentives to become more efficient and further reduce emissions. In response to the existing regulations, Title V air emissions have been dropping. Additionally, existing EPA and DEC programs address emissions covered under this bill. The EPA has ambient air quality standards for most of the emission categories under the bill and has regulatory requirements for hazardous air pollutants. The DEC has an existing ambient air monitoring program and monitors hazardous air pollutants, including most of the toxic air contaminants under this legislation. The DEC has 12 permanent existing monitoring locations that provide near continuous annual monitoring with long-term data, which are well below the EPA’s health standards. 

If there are concerns with ground-level emissions, the sources of those emissions should be targeted rather than Title V facilities already subject to a strict and comprehensive air permit program. Legislation that expands the DEC’s monitoring of specific ground-level sources and limiting their emissions would be a productive effort. Such a program would address where the emissions are coming from instead of where the emissions are found. The emissions from those sources could then be targeted for reductions. 

For the reasons stated above, IPPNY opposes S.4371-C (Biaggi) / A.6150-A (Septimo). 

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