Category Archives: Environment

Amicus brief filed in the Court of Appeals

This week, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. joined with the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc., the National Association of Royalty Owners, NARO-NY, the Upstate New York Towns Association, Inc., and Southern Tier Residents for Economic Independence to file an amicus brief with the New York State Court of Appeals requesting the court reverse lower courts’ decisions involving two natural gas cases.

The brief states that the lower courts’ misapplications of the legal preemption issues in the cases Norse Energy Corp. USA vs. Town of Dryden and Town of Dryden Town Board, and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. vs. Town of Middlefield, further support the preemption of townwide bans on all oil and gas activities. It also highlights that New York state has an overriding interest in the development and promotion of its oil and gas reserves, and that there is a need for uniformity across the state with a comprehensive state law that supersedes restrictive and inconsistent local laws and ordinances.

The brief argues that decisions on New York’s natural resources must be made at the state level by New York state and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. As such, the brief calls on the New York State Court of Appeals to reverse the lower courts’ decisions so that, if state leaders decide they can bring overwhelming economic and environmental benefits to New York through natural gas extraction, that they are able to do so without encountering problematic constitutional issues.

Read the full amicus brief.

Final New York state budget needs to grow jobs and economy

As the Governor and New York State Legislature progress in final budget negotiations, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. is calling for a final state budget that boost jobs and New York’s economy.

“Job creation and economic growth are key to building strong communities in New York,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Continuing to restrain spending, implementing broad-based tax reform and mandate relief need to be a priority for a final state budget.”

The Council also debuted a new ad, “Help New York’s economy grow,” focusing on how tax cuts will help improve New York’s economy. Watch the ad below.

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Business Council Vice President of Government Affairs Ken Pokalsky’s letter to the editor was published in the Albany Times Union. Read his letter that outlines how increasing taxes won’t help create jobs in New York how tax cuts would help create a more competitive economic climate to generate good-paying jobs and healthier communities.

A study earlier this year by The Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc. (PPI), “Analysis of Economic Impacts of New York Corporate Income Tax Reform,” showed that when the tax reforms are fully adopted, major business and employment sectors will grow including construction, trades and business service sectors, manufacturing, and financial services.

Among the other issues of concern to The Business Council in a final state budget: Paid Family Leave, Out-of-Network Mandates, Energy Tax, Campaign Finance Reform, Brownfields, and education and tourism funding. Read more on The Business Council’s website.

SEQR ranks high on Senate regulatory problem list

The State Environmental Quality Review process (SEQR) ranks high on the list of New York’s regulatory burdens in a recently released report from the Senate Majority.  A recent Empire Center blog post highlights how this supports the recent call to reform New York’s environmental planning review process.

The report, Streamlining SEQR, said SEQR “can be exploited to produce costly delays and uncertainty for the kind of job-creating projects New York desperately needs and identified needed reforms including the adoption of more concrete deadlines and a defined ‘scoping’ process to identify significant concerns with proposed developments.”

Read the full Empire Center blog post on their website or listen to Ken Pokalsky, vice president of government affairs for The Business Council, and E.J. McMahon, president of The Empire Center, discuss the issue on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom.

In the interview, Pokalsky highlights The Business Council’s work on the issue over the years saying, “We are not asking to get rid of SEQR. We’re asking to make it work. We are not asking for changes in environmental standards but we are asking for a streamlining of the process.”

Brownfield Tax Credit extension

The Business Council recently joined with a diverse group of interest to write a letter to Governor Cuomo expressing support for the extension of the Brownfield Tax Credits.

Darren Suarez, The Business Council’s director of government affairs, commented on the initiative:

“Although The Business Council does not support many of the ideas shared by the diverse groups, we agree on a constrained common agenda.

“As an organization dedicated to advancing an economic climate that encourages opportunity, entrepreneurship, and innovation, The Business Council supports the current brownfield program.  Brownfield projects have successfully redeveloped properties, neighborhoods, and communities better than any single program in the state, all while returning a direct capital investment of over $6.80 for every $1 of tax incentives.

“The Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) was established by New York State Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2003, to facilitate the voluntary redevelopment or reuse of real property which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a contaminant.   The presence of contamination results in a barrier to redevelopment because lenders are reluctant to place mortgages on contaminated properties, and developers are hesitant to purchase such properties and pay for the remediation, because of potential liability.

“The BCP was intended to “provide for the cleanup of sites under voluntary agreement with the department and provide technical assistance grants to community based organizations and municipalities and state assistance for brownfield opportunity area grants.

“The Business Council has examined the recent results of the BCP, and finds that — despite criticism the program has been meeting its stated legislative purpose.  Contrary to concerns that the Brownfield program has been costly — we have determined that the program, on average, generated over six dollars of direct investment for every one dollar spent by the state.”

To view a copy of the letter, visit or click here.  For more on the issue, read the article that appeared in The Albany Times Union today.



SEQR changes needed in NY

Ken Pokalsky, vice president of government affairs for The Business Council of New York State, Inc. joined E.J. McMahon yesterday on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom to release a new Empire Center Report on the need to reform State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), New York’s “Environmental” Planning Law.

Listen to the interview on WCNY’s website.

As currently written and interpreted, SEQR can be exploited to produce costly delays and uncertainty for the kind of job-creating projects New York needs. Several of the state’s regional economic development councils have identified SEQR as an obstacle to development.

The law is layered on top of environmental regulations that already exist, and go beyond already established zoning provisions. Ultimately, it stands in the way of growth and investment in NY state.

Pokalsky highlighted The Business Council’s work on the issue over the years and said in the interview, “We are not asking to get rid of SEQR. We’re asking to make it work. We are not asking for changes in environmental standards but we are asking for a streamlining of the process.”

The report, Streamlining SEQR: How to Reform New York’s “Environmental” Planning Law  is available on the Empire Center’s website.

McMahon also appeared on Time Warner Cable News’ Capitol Tonight.  View the interview the Time Warner Cable News website (TWC ID required).

Buffalo River Restoration Project recognized for excellence

The Buffalo River Restoration Project was awarded the 2013 The Business Council of New York State’s Environmental Committee Chairman’s Award. The Award was presented to Honeywell at The Business Council’s Annual Industry Environment Conference.

“The Environmental Committee Chairman’s Award highlights the business communities commitment to conserving resources, protecting and enhancing the environment and developing innovate approaches to environmental challenges,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq.  “The Buffalo River Restoration Project is a noteworthy example of the business community’s commitment to cultivate a more economically and environmentally sustainable New York.”

“We thank The Business Council for recognizing this multi-million project that will transform the Buffalo River into a recreational, economic, and community resource for decades to come,” said Evan van Hook, corporate vice president for health, safety, environment & sustainability for Honeywell.  “Honeywell was honored to accept this award on behalf of the Buffalo River Restoration Partnership.”

Read more on The Business Council website.

Adirondack Regional Chamber says Vote YES for The Adirondacks

The Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce announced support for the passage of two propositions on the statewide ballot this fall that will benefit the economy and environment of the Adirondack Region.

Proposition 5, referred to as The Adirondack Land Swap, offers New Yorkers the opportunity to approve an innovative public-private partnership between New York State and an Adirondack business that will help protect 100 good-paying Essex County jobs and open an additional 1,500 acres of Adirondack forestland for public recreation.

If approved, New York State will temporarily give longtime Adirondack business NYCO Minerals a 200-acre parcel of state Forest Preserve land that adjoins NYCO’s current wollastonite mine.  This will allow

NYCO to expand its mine and strengthen its long-term future as an employer, taxpayer and community leader.  NYCO, in return, will give New York State more than seven times as much forestland (1,500 acres) elsewhere in the region, which will be added to the Forest Preserve and opened for new recreational opportunities.  Finally, when NYCO has removed the wollastonite buried on the 200-acre parcel in eight to 10 years, the company will reclaim the mine, replant vegetation and give the property back to the state.

The ARCC also supports passage of Proposition 4 on the statewide ballot, another collaborative effort between the state and a group of public and private property owners in Long Lake and Raquette Lake (Township 40) in Hamilton County. In this case, a proposed land exchange between the state and the property owners will settle longstanding property disputes dating back to the 1800s and result in the state receiving 295 forested acres known as the Marion River Carry for inclusion in the state Forest Preserve.

Read more on the Adirondack Land Swap website.

Constitutional amendments forum

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef will host a forum on constitutional amendments and citizens’ rights in Cortlandt Manor on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at Cortlandt Town Hall, 1 Heady St, Cortlandt Manor.  Heather Jung, director of government affairs for the Business Council of New York State will join Galef and other panelists to discuss the Constitutional amendments that New Yorkers will vote on in November.

The amendments include approving non-Indian casino gaming in parts of the state and allowing New York State to sell land to NYCO Minerals, among other items.

Other panelists include Jim Maney, executive director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling and John Ravitz, executive vice president of the Business Council of Westchester.

Adirondack Council’s Wild Rivers Wilderness

The Adirondack Council’s plan for land acquired by New York state in the Adirondacks is gaining public support.  .

Both The New York Times and the Syracuse Post Standard have endorsed the proposed “Wild Rivers Wilderness” plan that would designate motor free areas for the Hudson River Corridor and Essex Chain of Lakes balancing adjoining lands that allow motorized recreation. The plan will also support more increased economic activity for Adirondack communities.

For more information on the plan, visit the Adirondack Council’s website.


NYSERDA Bonds: Green Jobs-Green New York

Earlier this week, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that it has raised $24.3 million in its first-ever issuance of revenue bonds to finance loans for consumers across the State for residential energy efficiency improvements.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Revenue Bonds (Series 2013A) were issued as part of NYSERDA’s Green Jobs-Green New York (GJGNY) program, which is a statewide initiative to promote energy efficiency and the installation of clean technologies to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, support sustainable community development and create opportunities for green jobs.

“The innovative approach used to secure these bonds addresses financial market barriers that impede the flow of private capital to support clean-energy projects and provides a potential national model for other states interested in providing low-cost financing for energy efficiency projects,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA.

The GJGNY program a statewide initiative to promote energy efficiency and the installation of clean technologies to reduce energy costs and greenhouse-gas emissions, support sustainable community development and create opportunities for green jobs.