The Business Council opposes this legislation, which amends Environmental Conservation Laws provisions regarding chemical bulk storage (CBS) and petroleum bulk storage (PBS) facilities.
Our most significant concern is a proposal that, under both the CBS and PBS sections of law, that would allow the Department to prohibit any chemical or petroleum deliveries to an entire facility if a single on-site tank is leaking or suspected of leaking, or is in violation of any of a wide range of regulatory requirements.
This proposal provides excessive enforcement authority, allowing the Department to potentially shut down an entire manufacturing or terminal site by denying new deliveries of raw material or product, based on a single non-complying tank. A large manufacturing site, for example, can have hundreds or more regulated chemical storage tanks. This bill would allow the Department to prohibit delivery to any or all on-site tanks based on one known or suspected leaking or otherwise non-complying tank.
A more reasonable approach would be to allow the DEC authority to “red tag” (i.e., prohibit delivery to) leaking tanks, and to deny delivery to tanks if a substantive violation of regulations directly related to tank integrity is identified, and the tank owner or operator fails to take timely corrective action.
The Department has attempted to address these concerns by drafting yet-to-be-introduced amendments that set forth specific categories of regulatory violations that could result in “red tagging.” While welcome, these amendments fail to address our basic concern about excessive enforcement authority.
This proposal also includes an unworkable definition of “petrochemical,” and fails to recognize the full range of regulatory exemptions provided under comparable federal law. The Department has drafted amendments that adequately address both of these deficiencies, which we support.
In part, this bill is intended to allow for full delegation of the federal bulk storage regulatory program from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the state DEC.
However, in attempting to bring state statute into conformance with federal law, we believe this legislation is inconsistent with current federal policy and practice with regard to leaking bulk storage tanks.
Even with the DEC amendments mentioned above, we still see this legislation as imposing unreasonable regulation on the state's manufacturing, terminal and other business sectors.
It is essential that any final proposal provide for a more targeted “red tag” provision. As such, The Business Council opposes adoption of this proposal.