Environment Committee Update
June 27, 2012

Contact: Darren Suarez

End of Session Report

A number of bills were under some consideration this year by either or both houses of the legislature. The Business Council interjected in the discussion regarding many of these proposals. The legislature proposed and contemplated numerous bills that would regulate or prohibit products that contained specific chemicals and numerous attempts to prohibit or regulate natural gas drilling.


Not Approved


SEQRA reform. Land use and project review requirements were identified as a significant barrier to new investment in the Regional Council planning process. The Business Council is developing legislation to address procedural concerns regarding the State Environmental Quality Review Act that would provide more certainty as the timetable and technical requirements of environmental reviews and environmental permitting.

Self -Audit

In May the Gotham Gazette ran a story about the DEC proposed Self Audit program http://bit.ly/Lza9zH. The article contains a leaked internal draft of the proposed program. The DEC official is quoted as saying that the agency had “held stakeholder meetings with environmental groups, municipalities and businesses to get their input on developing a self-audit policy.” More meetings were planned, they said.

The proposed policy enables companies and other entities to enter into self-audit “agreements” with the DEC. These agreements can be comprehensive, covering all environmental laws and regulations applicable to a facility, or limited to a portion of those requirements. Companies and other regulated entities that commit through a self-audit agreement to minimize their impact using “environmental management practices and pollution prevention systems” would be offered a variety of incentives.

The incentives are still being developed but they could include public recognition of the company’s efforts and access to technical assistance services, according to the draft document. Perhaps more importantly, they could include additional assistance with penalties and timeframes for correcting violations.

The Business Council would be interested in obtaining our members opinions regarding the self audit.