senate Bill S830

Makes provisions regarding environmental benefit projects in lieu of civil penalties

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Summary

Makes provisions regarding environmental benefit projects in lieu of civil penalties including establishing conditions for their acceptance and criteria for such projects; authorizes the attorney general to review and approve the settlement or administrative order.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S830
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Environmental Conservation
Law Section:
Environmental Conservation Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง71-0520, En Con L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S7558
2009-2010: A1696
2007-2008: A877

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S830

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
environmental benefit projects in lieu of civil penalties

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL:
The bill codifies requirements in the environmental conservation law
in relation to requirements for partial settlements in the form of
environmental benefit projects. Most of the requirements are
currently contained in a draft Departmental guidance document. A
number of provisions have been added and modified. Section 71-0520(1)
defines terms used in the bill. Section 71-0520(2) establishes
conditions which must be met in order for the Department to authorize
environmental benefit projects. Section 71-0520 (3) establishes
criteria which must be met by environmental projects. Section
71-0520 (4) specifies types of activities which do not qualify as
environmental benefit projects. Section 71-0520(5) requires a
payable economic benefit portion of the civil penalty which must be
paid in full and a gravity portion of the civil penalty which
reflects the seriousness of the violation which may be compensated
in part by an environmental benefit project. If a respondent intends
to deduct the cost of the environmental benefit project from its
taxes, an adjustment to the gravity component which reflect the tax
benefit must be calculated and included in the penalty. Section
71-0520(6) specifies project completion scheduling requirement
s. Section 71-0520(7) requires notice in the environmental notice
bulletin and a newspaper in general circulation in the area where
the violations occurred at least 45 days before the settlement or
order is executed;
requires the Attorney General to review and approve the settlement or
order; and allows the violator to publicize the environmental
benefit project, acknowledging that it was performed in response to
an enforcement action brought by the Department.

JUSTIFICATION:
There have been instances in the recent past where the Department has
approved projects authorized in lieu of monetary penalties which were
not appropriate and did not benefit the community where the
environmental damage occurred. The Department has proposed guidance
which establishes requirements for "environmental benefit projects".
This bill establishes many of the guidance elements in law and
creates additional or modified requirements. Pollution prevention
projects are limited to those which reduce or prevent the
generation of pollutants, and do not include actions which improve
compliance. This provision will ensure that the pollution prevention
project is truly directed at source reduction.

Environmental education projects are directed toward assisting the
public in understanding the nature of the industry which caused the
violations, how the community was impacted and ways for the community
to become more vigilant. This should avoid meaningless public
education programs which do little to provide the public with useful
information or understanding of the enforcement process.


The settlement must include a fully recoverable economic benefit
monetary penalty and a payable portion of the gravity component of
the penalty. This provision should assure that a company avoid monetary
penalties by creating an environmental benefit project which it claims
is equal to the amount of the penalties.

The project should be located in the county where the violation
occurred, within twenty-five linear miles of the site of the violation.
This should ensure that the communities which suffered the
environmental insult will recover some value from the project.

A notice of the proposed settlement must be published in the
Environmental Notice Bulletin and in a newspaper in general
circulation where the violation occurred at least 45 days before the
settlement/order is executed, thereby giving the public an
opportunity to review the settlement prior to its adoption. If the
violator publicizes the project or project results, the respondent
must acknowledge that the project was performed as part of the
resolution of an enforcement action brought by the Department.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011-12: S.7558/A.4134 - Died in Environmental Conservation
2009-10: A.1696 Referred to Codes
2007-08: A.877 Referred to Ways and Means
2005-06: A.6258 Reported Referred to Ways and Means

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   830

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation

AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to envi-
  ronmental benefit projects in lieu of civil penalties

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a
new section 71-0520 to read as follows:
S 71-0520. ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT PROJECTS IN LIEU OF CIVIL PENALTIES.
  1. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS  SHALL  HAVE  THE
FOLLOWING MEANINGS:
  A.  "ECONOMIC BENEFIT OF NONCOMPLIANCE" SHALL MEAN THAT PORTION OF THE
CIVIL PENALTY WHICH INCLUDES THE ECONOMIC GAIN TO THE RESPONDENT RESULT-
ING FROM ITS FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE APPLICABLE STANDARDS, CALCULATED
FROM THE FIRST DAY OF  VIOLATION  AND  INCLUDES  THE  PRESENT  VALUE  OF
AVOIDED  CAPITAL AND OPERATION COSTS AND PERMANENTLY AVOIDED COSTS WHICH
WOULD HAVE BEEN EXPENDED IF COMPLIANCE HAD OCCURRED WHEN REQUIRED.
  B. "ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT PROJECT" OR "PROJECT" SHALL MEAN  A  PROJECT
IN LIEU OF FULL PAYMENT OF CIVIL PENALTIES UNDERTAKEN BY A VIOLATOR THAT
IS INTENDED TO COMPENSATE FOR A VIOLATION OR CONTRAVENTION OF APPLICABLE
STANDARDS.
  C.  "GRAVITY  COMPONENT"  SHALL MEAN THAT PORTION OF THE CIVIL PENALTY
WHICH REFLECTS THE SERIOUSNESS OF A VIOLATION, CALCULATED ON  THE  BASIS
OF  THE POTENTIAL AND ACTUAL HARM CAUSED BY THE VIOLATION, AND THE VALUE
OF THE NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGES, IF THE VIOLATOR IS  NOT  REPAIRING  THE
HARM.
  2.  THE COMMISSIONER SHALL NOT ENTER INTO ANY AGREEMENT OR ADMINISTRA-
TIVE ORDER WHICH PROVIDES FOR A PARTIAL SETTLEMENT OF CONDITIONS IN  THE
FORM  OF  ANY  ENVIRONMENTAL  BENEFIT  PROJECT IN LIEU OF THE PAYMENT OF
CIVIL PENALTIES UNLESS ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS ARE MET:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02897-01-3

S. 830                              2

  A. THE RESPONDENT DOES NOT HAVE A RECORD OF  SIGNIFICANT  OR  REPEATED
NONCOMPLIANCE OR RECALCITRANCE;
  B.  THE  VIOLATION WAS NOT COMMITTED INTENTIONALLY, KNOWINGLY OR RECK-
LESSLY, OR WITH ANY OF THE CULPABLE MENTAL  STATES  DEFINED  IN  SECTION
15.05 OF THE PENAL LAW;
  C.  THE VIOLATION DID NOT RESULT IN A THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH OR CAUSE
GRAVE OR SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL HARM;
  D. THE RESPONDENT SHALL, IN GOOD FAITH, UNDERTAKE ALL NECESSARY  STEPS
TO PROMPTLY CORRECT THE VIOLATION;
  E.  PROJECTS  SHALL BE INITIATED IN ADDITION TO ALL REGULATORY COMPLI-
ANCE OBLIGATIONS AND SHALL BE DESIGNED TO PROVIDE AN ENVIRONMENTAL BENE-
FIT BEYOND THE BENEFITS OF FULL COMPLIANCE;
  F. PROJECTS CANNOT BE ACTIVITIES OTHERWISE REQUIRED BY LAW OR  ALREADY
OBTAINABLE UNDER THE DEPARTMENT'S AUTHORITY;
  G.  ALL VIOLATIONS SHALL BE CORRECTED TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH APPLI-
CABLE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND REGULATIONS, AND RESPONDENTS  SHALL  NOT  BE
GIVEN  ADDITIONAL  TIME  TO  CORRECT  VIOLATIONS  IN ORDER TO COMPLETE A
PROJECT;
  H. PROJECTS SHALL NOT BE MEASURES  WHICH  THE  RESPONDENT  WOULD  HAVE
UNDERTAKEN ANYWAY WITHIN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS;
  I.  PROJECTS SHALL BE DESIGNED TO PROVIDE A DISCERNIBLE BENEFIT TO THE
ENVIRONMENT RATHER THAN TO THE RESPONDENT;
  J. TO ENSURE THAT THE DETERRENT EFFECT OF A  SETTLEMENT  IS  ACHIEVED,
SETTLEMENTS  INVOLVING  A PROJECT SHALL INCLUDE A PAYABLE PENALTY COMPO-
NENT;
  K. THE PROJECT IS WITHIN THE CAPABILITY OF THE  DEPARTMENT  TO  REVIEW
AND  MONITOR,  AND  SHALL  YIELD  BENEFITS SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY
DEPARTMENT OVERSIGHT; AND
  L. A PROJECT CAN NEITHER BE USED TO COVER ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS OF  THE
DEPARTMENT NOR AS A REVENUE GENERATING MECHANISM FOR THE DEPARTMENT.
  3. ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT PROJECTS SHALL MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
  A. THE PROJECT SHALL, TO THE EXTENT PRACTICABLE, BE LOCATED WITHIN THE
COUNTY  WHERE THE VIOLATION OCCURRED, WITHIN TWENTY-FIVE LINEAR MILES OF
SITE OF THE VIOLATION;
  B. AN ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION PROJECT SHALL GO BEYOND REPAIRING  THE
DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE VIOLATION TO ENHANCE THE CONDITION OF THE ECOSYSTEM
OR GEOGRAPHIC AREA ADVERSELY AFFECTED;
  C.  A  POLLUTION  PREVENTION  PROJECT  SHALL  SUBSTANTIALLY  REDUCE OR
PREVENT  THE  GENERATION  OR  RELEASE  OF  POLLUTANTS   THROUGH   SOURCE
REDUCTION;
  D.  A  RISK REDUCTION PROJECT SHALL DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT RISK MANAGE-
MENT OR ACCIDENT PREVENTION/EMERGENCY PLANNING  PROGRAMS  WHICH  PROVIDE
PROTECTION  IN EXCESS OF INDUSTRY STANDARDS AND EXISTING OR FUTURE REGU-
LATORY REQUIREMENTS; AND
  E. AN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROJECT SHALL, TO THE  EXTENT  PRACTICA-
BLE,  BE  DIRECTED TOWARD UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE INDUSTRY WHICH
HAS CAUSED THE VIOLATION, HOW THE VIOLATION IMPACTED THE  COMMUNITY  AND
WAYS IN WHICH THE COMMUNITY CAN BECOME MORE VIGILANT IN MONITORING ENVI-
RONMENTAL INSULTS AND VIOLATIONS.
  4. AN ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT PROJECT SHALL NOT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
  A.  A CONTRIBUTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AT A COLLEGE OR UNIVERSI-
TY;
  B. A PROJECT, THOUGH BENEFICIAL  TO  THE  IMPACTED  LOCAL  GOVERNMENT,
UNRELATED TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION;
  C.  STUDIES  OR  ASSESSMENTS  WITHOUT  A  COMMITMENT  TO IMPLEMENT THE
RESULTS;

S. 830                              3

  D. PERFORMANCE OF PROJECTS BY A  THIRD  PARTY  UNLESS  SUCH  PARTY  IS
REQUIRED  TO IMPLEMENT THE PROJECT SPECIFIED IN THE SETTLEMENT DOCUMENT;
OR
  E. PUBLIC EDUCATION PROJECTS.
  5. SETTLEMENTS WHICH CONTAIN A PROJECT SHALL CONTAIN:
  A. A PAYABLE PENALTY COMPONENT WHICH FULLY RECOVERS THE ECONOMIC BENE-
FIT OF NONCOMPLIANCE TO THE RESPONDENT;
  B. A PAYABLE PORTION OF THE GRAVITY COMPONENT OF THE PENALTY; AND
  C.  A  WRITTEN  STATEMENT SIGNED BY THE RESPONDENT WHICH CONFIRMS THAT
THE RESPONDENT WILL NOT DEDUCT THE COST OF THE PROJECT FROM  ITS  TAXES.
IF  THE SETTLEMENT DOES NOT INCLUDE SUCH A STATEMENT, THE GRAVITY COMPO-
NENT OF THE PENALTY MUST BE ADJUSTED TO REFLECT THE TAX BENEFIT.
  6. ALL PROJECTS FACTORED INTO PENALTY CALCULATIONS SHALL BE  PERFORMED
PURSUANT TO LEGALLY ENFORCEABLE COMPLIANCE SCHEDULES WHICH:
  A.  ACCURATELY AND COMPLETELY DESCRIBE THE PROJECT, DETAIL THE ACTIONS
TO BE PERFORMED, AND PROVIDE RELIABLE AND OBJECTIVE MEANS TO VERIFY THAT
THE COMPLIANCE SCHEDULED HAS BEEN ADHERED TO;
  B. HAVE ENFORCEABLE MILESTONE IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULES; AND
  C. OBLIGE THE RESPONDENT TO SUBMIT PERIODIC REPORTS TO THE  DEPARTMENT
DESCRIBING COMPLIANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE PROJECT.
  7.  ALL PROJECTS SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING NOTICE AND APPROVAL
CONDITIONS:
  A. NOTICE OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OR ORDER, INCLUDING A DESCRIPTION
OF THE PROJECT AND THE PAYABLE PENALTIES,  SHALL  BE  PUBLISHED  IN  THE
ENVIRONMENTAL  NOTICE  BULLETIN  AND  AT  LEAST ONE NEWSPAPER IN GENERAL
CIRCULATION  IN  THE  AREA  WHERE  THE  VIOLATIONS  OCCURRED,  AT  LEAST
FORTY-FIVE DAYS BEFORE THE SETTLEMENT OR ORDER IS EXECUTED;
  B.  THE  ATTORNEY  GENERAL  SHALL REVIEW AND APPROVE THE SETTLEMENT OR
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER; AND
  C. WHENEVER THE RESPONDENTS PUBLICIZE THE PROJECT OR PROJECT  RESULTS,
THE  RESPONDENT SHALL ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE PROJECT WAS PERFORMED AS PART
OF THE RESOLUTION OF AN ENFORCEMENT ACTION BROUGHT BY THE DEPARTMENT.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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