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Regulation Rollback “Risks turning NY into West Virginia”

Photo: State lawmakers will begin consideration this week of a measure that would roll back thousands of regulations, including limits on hazardous diesel emissions from state vehicles and public transit. Photo credit: @mlcliff
Photo: State lawmakers will begin consideration this week of a measure that would roll back thousands of regulations, including limits on hazardous diesel emissions from state vehicles and public transit. Photo credit: @mlcliff
January 21, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. – The state Senate is expected to take a first step this week in deciding whether to roll back thousands of regulations in the name of economic opportunity.

It's a move that is drawing major opposition.

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, says lawmakers are putting the needs of special interests ahead of the public interest and the health of all New Yorkers.

His group is one of 60 now lined up against the proposal.

"What we'd like to preserve here is the strong standards that we have on the books already, so that we don't end up like West Virginia,” he says. “When you don't have good rules on the books, bad things happen.

“And when bad things happen, in all likelihood somebody is going to get sick."

Members of the Senate Majority Coalition issued a report earlier this month detailing thousands of regulations they say are standing in the way of economic development.

Iwanowitz notes the report was issued the same week 300,000 West Virginians lost their drinking water because of a chemical spill at a poorly regulated coal plant.

He says lawmakers have identified the state limit on diesel emissions as a key target for rollback.

And he questions why anybody would want to do away with sensible limits that are protecting the health of countless New Yorkers.

"Diesel emissions are harmful,” Iwanowicz points out. “They trigger asthma attacks.

“Diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen. Yet the Senate coalition would like to roll back the Diesel Emission Reduction Act."

Iwanowicz says some of the same lawmakers who helped design the diesel-emission law later worked to delay its implementation and are now lined up to roll it back entirely.

He says they seem to be concerned only with gripes and concerns of special interest groups.

"We're mystified as to why the Senate would put this forward as a regulation that needs repealing if just seven years ago it was being touted as a positive step forward on the environment, New York's health and economic development," he says.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY