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NY Senate Passes One Clean Energy Bill, Another Pending

February 23, 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. - The vote in the state Senate Monday was a slam dunk: 59 to zero in favor of a clean energy bill that will allow businesses across New York state to get credit for generating their own clean power. State Senator Brian Foley says the net metering bill will go a long way towards cleaning up the state's air, without cleaning out the cash registers of local businesses.

"It will help to reduce energy costs, and it has the unique feature of being both business-friendly as well as environmentally-friendly. It will also create jobs; that's happened elsewhere in the country and it should happen here as well."

Some utility companies expressed concerns about the measure early on, but Foley says most of those concerns were addressed in senate negotiations. The measure, which would allow businesses and municipalities to install systems with a rated capacity of 2,000 kilowatts, now heads to Governor David Paterson.

The Senate postponed action on a second clean energy bill which would ban the sale of older, dirty types of Diesel fuel for heating homes.

Ross Gould, air and energy program director with Environmental Advocates of New York, says home-heating oil is second only to power plants when it comes to air-polluting sulfur dioxide emissions.

"This bill will have a significant impact on air quality in New York state; by switching to the number-two ultra-low-sulfur Diesel, it can result in up to 95 percent reduction in particulate matter pollution."

Sulfur dioxide pollution is particularly harmful to asthma sufferers. Gould says it is important that the Senate finishes up its work on this bill, because as things stand now, 89 percent of the state's population lives in areas where the air quality does not meet federal standards, and New York City is at the top of that list.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY