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N.Y. Approves Acid Rain Legislature

May 2, 2000

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ The state Legislature has approved a bill that prevents New York utilities from selling pollution credits in states blamed on causing destructive acid rain in New York.

``We aren’t talking about whether a few more lakes will die,″ said Timothy Burke, head of the Adirondack Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy group. ``We are talking about saving the Adirondacks from ecological destruction.″

The legislation passed Monday in a 59-0 vote in the Senate. It had already passed in the Assembly and now goes to Gov. George Pataki for final approval.

The legislation would prohibit New York utilities from selling their federal pollution credits in 14 Southern and Midwestern states. Those states’ industries are blamed for producing acid-rain causing emissions that drift into New York.

Any profits from such sales would be diverted from the utility and put into a special state account to fund alternative energy projects, according to the bill.

Under a federal program started in 1995 to curb air pollution, utilities that reduce their emission of sulfur dioxide can sell credits to other companies that give them the right to exceed federal pollution limits. The credits also are traded privately.

More than 700,000 credits _ each representing the right to emit one ton of sulfur dioxide _ have been accumulated by New York utilities. The credits generally sell for between $100 and $140 on the open market.

The measure would apply to the sale of pollution credits by New York utilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The state Energy Association, which represents New York’s private utilities, predicted the measure would harm the economy by raising the cost of generating electricity in the state.

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