Bill S3596-2013

Provides that the failure to report a release of hazardous substances is a class A misdemeanor

Provides that the failure to report a release of hazardous substances is a class A misdemeanor and any such subsequent violation shall be a class E felony.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • Feb 7, 2013: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3596

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to notification of the release of hazardous substances

PURPOSE: Provides that the failure to report a release of hazardous substances is a class A misdemeanor.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends the environmental conservation law by adding a new section 71-3704 which would make it a violation of law for any person to fail to notify the DEC, within 2 hours, of any release of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance. This section also establishes that an initial violation of this section constitutes a class A misdemeanor, and each subsequent violation would constitute a class E felony,

Section 2 of the bill establishes the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: In order to establish a criminal violation of the Environmental Conservation Law, it is often necessary to prove the amount of hazardous substances released into the environment. Unfortunately, by the time the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) discovers that such a release occurred, it is difficult- if not impossible - to determine the specific amount of hazardous substance released.

This statutory scheme creates a disincentive for individuals to report releases of hazardous substances. If an individual reports such a release quickly, DEC is better able to determine the amount of the release, which makes it easier to prove a felony violation, while individuals who conceal releases frequently can be charged with only a misdemeanor.

This bill addresses this problem by following the approach used in federal law (42 U.S.C. § 9603) by criminalizing the failure to report the release of a hazardous substance. This will provide an incentive for individuals to report such releases, and punish' those who continue to conceal their wrongdoing. In addition, early reporting of releases will allow DEC to become involved in clean-up efforts more quickly, thereby helping to protect the environment and the health and safety of New York residents.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S.7684 - Referred to Rules/A.5585 Referred to Rules 2010: A.00349A (Kavanagh) - Rules 2009: A.00349 (Kavanagh) Rules 2008: A.08587A (Kavanagh) - Codes 2007: A.08587 (Kavanagh) - Codes

A similar bill (A.8461) was introduced in the 2003-04 legislative session and passed the Assembly on June 22, 2004. It was also introduced as A.07602 in 05-06 session and reached 3rd Reading in the Assembly.

FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE: There are no fiscal implications.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3596 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 7, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. LANZA -- 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 notification of the release of hazardous substances 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 71-3704 to read as follows: S 71-3704. FAILURE TO REPORT RELEASE OF A HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE. ANY PERSON WHO VIOLATES ANY OF THE PROVISIONS OF, OR WHO FAILS TO PERFORM ANY DUTY IMPOSED BY SECTION 37-0107 OF THIS CHAPTER, AND WHO FAILS WITHIN TWO HOURS TO NOTIFY THE DEPARTMENT OF A RELEASE OF A REPORTABLE QUANTITY OF A SUBSTANCE HAZARDOUS OR ACUTELY HAZARDOUS TO PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY OR THE ENVIRONMENT SHALL BE GUILTY OF FAILURE TO REPORT RELEASE OF A HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE. FAILURE TO REPORT RELEASE OF A HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE SHALL BE A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT IF A DEFENDANT HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN CONVICTED OF A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION, SUCH SUBSEQUENT VIOLATION SHALL BE A CLASS E FELONY. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.

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