Regulation of Major Oil Storage Facilities
In 1977, the New York State Legislature passed the "Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Compensation Act" (Article 12 of the Navigation Law). This law regulates all oil terminals and transport vessels operating in the waters of the State which have a storage capacity of 400,000 gallons or more. (Terminals and vessels with a capacity of 400,000 gallons or more are commonly referred to as major oil storage facilities or MOSFs).
The express purpose of the law is to "ensure a clean environment and healthy economy for the State by preventing the unregulated discharge of petroleum which may result in damage to lands, waters or natural resources of the State... and to effect prompt cleanup and removal of such discharges." Regulations developed by the DEC to administer the law can be found in 6NYCRR Parts 610 and 611.
Under the law and regulations, owners or operators of major oil storage facilities must do the following:
- Obtain an operating license from DEC;
- Pay a license fee of up to 12 1/4 cents per barrel of throughput at the facility;
- Submit data to DEC on operating activities, such as average daily throughput and storage capacity;
- Implement a spill prevention (SPCC) plan;
- Comply with license conditions and State petroleum bulk storage regulations, 6NYCRR Parts 613 and 614; and
- Report discharges to DEC.
License fees received by the State are deposited in the "New York Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund" which is administered by the Department of Audit and Control. The fund is used to pay the State's costs for cleanup and compensating third parties for damages resulting from oil discharge and hazardous waste sites. Monies are spent by DEC when private parties who are responsible for the discharge fail to take responsibility for cleanup. Audit and Control is authorized to charge the responsible party for costs and recover to the fund any monies spent by the State for cleanup.