Bill S228-2009

Relates to municipality responsibility for remedial programs involving hazardous wastes at sites owned by municipalities

Provides that a municipality which received title to property through escheat, any other involuntary transfer, or through the exercise of eminent domain authority shall not be considered responsible for the contamination and remediation of such property unless the municipality generated, transported, disposed of, arranged for or caused the disposal of hazardous wastes or substances at the subject property.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 6, 2010: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • Jan 7, 2009: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S228

TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to determining municipality responsibility for hazardous waste remedial programs

PURPOSE : This bill exempts municipalities from the responsibility for hazardous waste remedial programs for properties which they acquired through escheat, involuntary transfer, condemnation, or eminent domain, if the municipality did not contribute to the wastes found on the site.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : This bill amends the state Superfund Program, Section 27-1313 of the Environmental Conservation Law. This bill would exempt municipalities from financial responsibility for remedial action on property which they received title through escheat, involuntary transfer or acquisition, eminent domain purchase or condemnation, unless the municipality participated in the generation, transportation, or disposal of the hazardous wastes or substances located on the property.

EXISTING LAW : This bill would codify in New York State Law the exemption offered to municipalities in the Federal Superfund Law (CERC-LA, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) for fiscal responsibility for contaminated property remediation.

JUSTIFICATION : As properties contaminated with hazardous wastes and substances lose their resale value many land owners allow the contaminated property to be claimed by municipalities to payoff their tax liability and to dispose of the property. This leaves many municipalities throughout the state owning and being responsible for numerous contaminated properties. The current State Superfund program requires responsible parties to remediate the hazardous wastes found on the site. The law defines responsible parties as any entity that generated, transported or disposed of the wastes at the site and the current land owner. If a municipality was not involved with the generation, transportation, or disposal of the waste on the site, it should not be held responsible for the clean-up of lands they received through the default of taxes. The original owners of the land and generators of the wastes should be responsible for the remediation of the site, not the taxpayers of a community that did not contribute to the contamination.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : S.663, (2007-08) S.1335 (2005-06) S.754 (2003-04) S.1426 (2001-02) S.2460 (1999-00)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.

EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ S. 228 A. 335 2009-2010 Regular Sessions S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y (PREFILED) January 7, 2009 ___________
IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. LAVALLE -- read twice and ordered print- ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. THIELE -- read once and referred to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to determining municipality responsibility for hazardous waste remedial programs THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 4 of section 27-1313 of the environmental conservation law, as added by chapter 282 of the laws of 1979, is amended to read as follows: 4. Any order issued pursuant to subdivision three of this section shall be issued only after notice and the opportunity for a hearing is provided to persons who may be the subject of such order. The commis- sioner shall determine which persons are responsible pursuant to said subdivision according to applicable principles of statutory or common law liability, EXCEPT THAT A MUNICIPALITY WHICH RECEIVED TITLE TO THE PROPERTY THROUGH ESCHEAT, OR THROUGH ANY OTHER INVOLUNTARY TRANSFER OR ACQUISITION, OR THROUGH THE EXERCISE OF EMINENT DOMAIN AUTHORITY BY PURCHASE OR CONDEMNATION SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTAMINATION OF THE PROPERTY, UNLESS THE MUNICIPALITY GENERATED, TRANS- PORTED, OR DISPOSED OF, ARRANGED FOR, OR THE MUNICIPALITY CAUSED THE GENERATION, TRANSPORTATION, OR DISPOSAL OF HAZARDOUS WASTES OR SUBSTANCES LOCATED AT REAL PROPERTY PROPOSED TO BE INVESTIGATED OR TO BE REMEDIATED. Such persons shall be entitled to raise any statutory or common law defense at any such hearing and such defenses shall have the same force and effect at such hearings as they would have in a court of
law. In the event a hearing is held, no order shall be issued by the commissioner under subdivision three of this section until a final deci- sion has been rendered. Any such order shall be reviewable pursuant to article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules within thirty days after service of such order. The commissioner may request the participation of the attorney general in such hearings. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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