August 18, 2008
Bottle Bill, Part II
An expanded bottle bill finally may be passed in the state Legislature, after years of roadblocking in the Senate.
The current law, on the books for over a quarter-century, carries a 5-cent surcharge on carbonated beverage bottles.
Environmentalists have long pushed to expand that law to include non-carbonated beverages. The governor wants unclaimed deposits to go to the Environmental Protection Fund.
A compromise plan could earmark that money to beverage companies, according to The Associated Press.
Proponents of an expanded bottle bill hope the retirement of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, spells good news for their cause.
"I'm confident (Bruno's successor, Dean Skelos, R-Garden City) will at least be willing to discuss it, and I'm hopeful he'll help us get this bill passed," Katie Lawrence of Surfride Foundation-Central Long Island, told AP.
"What he has always said is that all of the sides should come together to develop an approach that balances the interests of the environmental community and consumers who are faced with ever increasing costs," Skelos' spokesman told AP.
Beverage makers and distributors are opposed to expanding the bottle bill.
We believe consumers have grown used to returning bottles to reclaim their nickels. As consumption of non-carbonated beverages has increased, it has become even more important that those empty bottles be handled in an environmentally sound fashion.
We look forward to progress on expanding the bottle bill.