Greater Rochester Chamber Scores Advocacy Victory with Buy American Salt Act
Greater Rochester Chamber, on behalf of our 1,300 members throughout the nine-county Finger Lakes Region of New York, offered strong support of S. 3908A/A. 7919, the New York State Buy American Salt Act.
The policy of New York State as set forth in the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), Article 23, Title 27, is to assure that the economic development of the mining and minerals industry be compatible with sound environmental management practices.
To implement this policy, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) created the Mined Land Reclamation Program. When citing ways in which the department enforces regulation of this, the first point is: “Foster and encourage the development of an economically sound and stable mining and minerals industry.”
Greater Rochester Chamber conveyed that there is no better way to support that mission than by passing policy like the Buy American Salt Act.
New York State has at least two salt mines within the state that provide rock salt for road deicing purposes. Despite these two large Upstate New York mines offering good paying union jobs, competition with foreign salt operations proves harmful to these mines. Alarmingly, in 2019 hundreds of workers employed by these mines were laid off when non-US companies were awarded over $18.8 million in state contracts. In addition to providing jobs, salt mined or harvested in New York State adds an estimate $3.00 in tax revenue for every ton of salt produced providing a financial boon to the state and various counties. There is a clear fiscal and economic benefit to purchasing salt produced in the state.
New York State has previously prioritized the purchase of goods by focusing on a “buy American” strategy, most recently in 2017 when the Governor and Legislature agreed to prioritize American made steel in state contracts. While purchasing American products does not necessarily mean New York products will be purchased, it does present a legal framework that still gives New York State mines an advantage over foreign competition.
This week the bill passed through the Legislature and is on its way to Governor Hochul’s desk.
Ensuring that lawmakers do all they can to promote economic growth and prosperity among New York companies is critically important to our State’s success. Thanks to the great work of Assembly Member Bronson, Senator Cooney, Assemblywoman Byrnes, Senator Gallivan, and Senator Kennedy, that mission was accomplished through the passage of this bill. Good paying jobs, an edge for New York businesses against foreign competition, and helping Upstate companies grow – this bill’s passage means all of that and more for New York. Greater Rochester Chamber is proud to have been a leading voice on getting this bill through the Legislature, and we are grateful to companies like American Rock Salt and to our region’s State Delegation for working to make it happen.