February 11, 2009
Bottle bill in the balance
A bill that would help close the state's yawning budget gap while cleaning up the environment would appear to be a no-brainer. But the Bigger Better Bottle Bill is facing its usual tough fight in the state Legislature.
Advocates of the bill rallied in Albany Monday on the heels of a report from the Washington, D.C.-based Container Recycling Institute that found that the bill would expand the number of bottles covered under the current deposit law by more than a third. The current law covers beer, soda and wine coolers, but not sports drinks and bottled water.
The study said expanding the bill could bring in more than $218 million in revenue for the state. The money would go to the Environmental Protection Fund, but it would have larger budget implications. Gov. David Paterson and legislators raided the fund of $75 million to cover this year's budget gap.
Sports drinks and water bottles were essentially left out of the original bottle bill because they barely existed when the bill was first passed. It makes perfect sense to update what has been an extremely successful, common-sense policy.