The Business Council opposes this bill that would criminalize the failure to provide notice within two hours of a release of an identified substance. The Business Council is concerned that the scope of this legislation is very broad.
The legislation requires that any person who violates any provision of ECL 37-0107 must notify the department of a release of reportable quantity. The first problem is this legislation assumes that person who has violated a provision of ECL 37-0107 will know that they contravened and rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to the chapter.
The legislation fails to identify a reportable quantity. Article 37 of the ECL requires the DEC to develop a list of substances hazardous or acutely hazardous to public health, safety or the environment and result in the establishment of reportable quantities for all substances. The DEC list includes almost 1,000 substances, it is inconceivable that most people would be aware of the established reportable quantity of the release would be known by all.
The legislation may not be intended to but would extend the reporting requirements (and penalties) to be applied to individuals who are relatively low in an organization's chain of command. There is no requirement that the person who violates any provision as described above has supervisory responsibilities over the release and was in a position to detect, prevent and abate the release of the hazardous substances. Pursuant to legislation, supervisors and workers of relative little ability to control a job site, may be liable for unlawful releases and for failing to report such releases to the proper authorities.
For these reasons, The Business Council respectfully opposes approval of A.5585.