Creates the crime of environmental damage of property.
Ayes (59): Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Boyle, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Espaillat, Farley, Felder, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Gipson, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Hoylman, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, Latimer, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Marchione, Martins, Maziarz, Nozzolio, O'Brien, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Sampson, Sanders, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Tkaczyk, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Nays (1): Montgomery
Excused (3): Adams, O'Mara, Parker
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to creating the crime of environmental damage of property
PURPOSE: This bill would criminalize intentional or reckless damage to the environment done in the course of committing another crime.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The penal law is amended by adding new section 145.24, to create the new crime of environmental damage of property.
JUSTIFICATION: During the commission of a crime, defendants are often so focused upon their criminal intent that they disregard the impact of the potential damage that they may cause in facilitating their crime. For example, when a defendant is intent on stealing a car radio, the smashed window is unimportant to him or her. The statutes of Criminal Mischief address some of these instances, but when the resulting physical damage also leads to damage to the environment, these statutes do not address the environment as the "crime victim".
A recent incident in August of 2010 provides a good illustration of this problem. Defendants, in search of copper to steal and resell, broke into a spare electrical transformer. In the process 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 a million dollars. None of the current Criminal Mischief statutes adequately address this environmental devastation.
This bill recognizes the criminality of such large scale environmental damage, and with an appropriate penalty would hopefully deter petty thefts from doing such significant environmental damage, either intentionally or recklessly.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010 Referred to Rules 2011 Passed Senate 2012 Passed Senate
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1016 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. ROBACH -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to creating the crime of environmental damage of property THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 145.24 to read as follows: S 145.24 ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE OF PROPERTY. 1. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE OF PROPERTY WHEN, IN THE COURSE OF THE COMMISSION OF ANOTHER FELONY ACT, HE OR SHE INTENTIONALLY OR RECKLESSLY CAUSES ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE THAT ALTERS, CONTAMINATES, OR DESTROYS THE QUALITY OF WATER, SOIL, OR AIR, AND SUCH DAMAGE NECESSI- TATES REMEDIATION COSTS IN EXCESS OF ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. 2. IT SHALL BE AN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE TO THE CRIME OF ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE OF PROPERTY THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS ACTING UNDER A REASONABLE BELIEF THAT HE OR SHE HAD A RIGHT TO ALTER, CONTAMINATE OR DESTROY DUE TO LICENSE AND/OR OWNERSHIP OF SAID PROPERTY, OR THAT THE UNDERLYING ACT WAS NOT A VIOLATION OF THIS CHAPTER. ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE OF PROPERTY IS A CLASS C FELONY. ANY SENTENCE IMPOSED PURSUANT TO A CONVICTION UNDER THIS SECTION IS TO BE SERVED CONSECUTIVE TO ANY SENTENCE IMPOSED FOR THE UNDERLYING FELONY. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03934-02-3