March 2, 2009
Public Hearing on Bigger Better Bottle Bill
Two years ago, Artvoice published a cover story about the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (BBBB). The measure, which has passed a couple of times in the State Assembly, only to die on the Senate floor, is back again with more momentum than ever. In essence, the bill expands the existing nickel deposit on carbonated beverages to include the non-carbonated variety. Supporters argue the measure could generate anywhere from $118 million to $218 million for the state next year, while cleaning the environment and encouraging green business. Last week, Connecticut passed a similar law.
This is the first time the common sense measure is being considered since the departure of Republican Senator Joseph Bruno, who was deeply beholden to soda and supermarket lobbyists.
Consider this email sent two years ago to some local bill opponents by attorney Steven W. Harris, of Featherstonhaugh, Wiley, Clyne & Cordo, LLP, a firm that lobbied against the bill back then:
“As Yogi Berra once said…”it ain’t over ‘till its over”, but the Senate has officially rejected the Governor’s Expanded Bottle bill proposal during today’s negotiations. While I won’t say that it is impossible for it to resurrect itself in the next few hours, it is very unlikely that this will be discussed further. You can now all take a collective sigh of relief (or stop holding your breath). The governor will reintroduce this proposal as a Governor’s Program Bill so I will still be busy the rest of session. We can talk about what all this means in Florida in two weeks so see you all then!”
This Friday (March 6), the new Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee—Senator Antoine Thompson—has scheduled a public hearing on the BBBB at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society (25 Nottingham Court) from 10am-12pm. The hearing follows another one in the State Capitol building in Albany on Wednesday (March 4), also sponsored by Thompson.