New York Assembly Seeks New Regulatory Scheme for Oil Spill Prevention

Monday, August 23, 1999
New York Assembly Bill 5175 (AB 5175), sponsored by Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli (D), requires the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to develop, draft and implement a regulatory program to address the prevention of oil spills on state waterways. The existing regulations provide DEC a degree of discretion which permits the agency to consider federal and local programs that may address issues related to oil spills, such as pre-deployment of booming equipment, contingency plans, oil spill response resources, and notification procedures. AWO commented many, if not all, the requirements in AB 5175 are already part of federal regulations implemented in the last decade. In fact, existing government and industry safety programs, such as the USCG's Prevention Through People program and AWO's Responsible Carrier Program, go well beyond the minimum thresholds AB 5175 seeks to establish. AWO further commented the discretionary authority granted to DEC should be maintained to ensure state tax dollars are spent judiciously and prudently. State-funded programs need to focus on actual enhancement of the environment, not merely duplicate federal initiatives. The legislative session was scheduled to close in June; however, failure to pass a budget may keep the legislature in session indefinitely.

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