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Source: WIVB.com

Battle brewing over bottle bill

Western New Yorkers have their say

BY MELISSA HOLMES

Posted: March 8, 2009
Originally Published: March 7, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Western New Yorkers had their say about a new expanded bottle bill.

A battle is brewing over the Bigger Better Bottle Bill.

In Governor David Paterson's proposed budget, the expanded bottle bill would add non-carbonated beverages like bottled water, iced tea, and sports drinks to the current deposit law.

At a public hearing Friday, supporters say it would decrease litter, and increase recycling.

Brian Smith (Citizens Campaign for the Environment) said, "Increased recycling also provides significant energy saving that will conserve natural resources and reduce New York's carbon footprint."

The new bill also calls for unclaimed deposits worth an estimated $118 million dollars to go to the state's Environmental Protection Fund, instead of being kept by the beverage manufacturer.

Pat Hooker (New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets) said, "This funding especially in a time of reduced resources is really critical to our agency."

But opponents to the bill say giving the unclaimed nickels to the state would cause beverage companies to raise their prices and pass the burden along to the consumer.

Mark Doyle (Try-It Distribution) said, "The bottle bill expansion being proposed would raise the price of a case of beer or pop by $3.60."

Increased prices, would lead to reduced sales, and that would lead to dozens of local layoffs.

Mike Nagorski (Buffalo Coca-Cola) said, "We've never layed off. We want to retain those jobs. But with this bill there is a possibility of a 30 percent reduction of the workforce."

The expanded bottle bill was actually proposed back in 2002 and the state assembly has passed it three times since then.

The state senate has yet to vote on the bill and it's unclear when that vote will happen.