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For Release: Friday, February 22, 2013

DEC Proposes Policy to Make it Easier for Companies to Protect the Environment

Initiative Will Reward Companies Who Perform Environmental Audits, Report Violations and Prevent Pollution

60-Day Comment Period Runs Through April 22

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released a proposed Environmental Incentive Policy, which is aimed at improving practices at businesses, local governments and other regulated entities to better protect the environment and prevent pollution, Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. A public comment period on the draft policy begins today and extends through April 22, 2013.

"This policy will encourage companies to audit their operations and quickly return to compliance before an inspection is scheduled and fines are levied for violations," said Commissioner Martens. "It will also reward companies who make a long-term commitment to beyond compliance performance in order to save money and protect the environment."

The draft policy offers a variety of incentives to businesses, local governments and other regulated entities to audit their operations and prevent future violations. Specifically, the policy will waive penalties for violations that are discovered and disclosed voluntarily, or discovered during pollution prevention or compliance assistance in partnership with other state agencies.

The policy also offers additional incentives to entities that add systematic environmental management and pollution prevention to their operations. Other incentives, including recognition and priority for technical and financial assistance from the state, are available to entities that enter into an audit agreement and make a formal, long-term commitment to environmental management and pollution prevention by entering into DEC's New York Environmental Leaders program.

Entities with a history of non-compliance are ineligible. Certain violations are also excluded from the policy, including recurring violations and those involving criminal activity or actual harm to human health or the environment.

Rob Moore, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York, said, "The Department of Environmental Conservation has worked with a broad segment of stakeholders to create a program that can complement existing regulatory programs and help businesses and municipalities make a stronger commitment to pollution prevention."

"The Environmental Incentive Policy announced today, recognizes the private sector's persistent adoption of environmental stewardship as means to reduce costs, gain efficiency, and move beyond compliance," said Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. "The Business Council praises the work of Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Martens and the Department of Environmental Conservation staff, for their commitment to bring this policy to maturity."

Richard Walka, Senior Vice President of D&B Engineers and Architects, P.C., said, "I applaud Commissioner Martens and his staff for advancing this important environmental policy. The policy provides the regulated community with an avenue to actually go 'beyond compliance' by advancing Pollution Prevention and Environmental Management System initiatives. A job well done."

The policy was developed with input from stakeholders representing environmental and environmental justice organizations, the business community, local government, farmers, academia and other state agencies.

Comments on the proposed policy can be submitted through April 22, by email to OGCWEB@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailing them to the address below.

Monica Kreshik
NYS DEC - Office of General Counsel
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-1500

View the draft policy.

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