State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I – Schenectady) announced the New York State Senate recently passed legislation that would prosecute those who intentionally or recklessly damage the environment while committing another crime. The bill (S1016) would deter thieves or other vandals from committing crimes that could result in contamination, and hold those accountable for financial and environmental damage from their actions.
In one incident that took place in August 2010, criminals in search of copper to steal and resell broke into a spare electrical transformer owned by Rochester Gas and Electric in the Town of Greece, Monroe County. In the process of accessing the copper, 4,800 gallons of oil was drained from the transformer, causing land and water contamination of the surrounding environment at an estimated remediation cost of over $1 million. None of the current Criminal Mischief statutes adequately address this environmental devastation.
This measure would make it a felony to commit such large-scale environmental damage, either intentionally or recklessly.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.