Department of Environmental Conservation

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Environmental Conservation Law

The body of law that established DEC and authorizes its programs is called Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). The full text of New York's ECL is found on the New York State Legislative Information System.

From the Consolidated Laws list, select "ENV Environmental Conservation" to access the full text of the ECL.

Administration and Enforcement

DEC is responsible for administration and enforcement of the Environmental Conservation Law. The Department's major responsibilities as assigned in Environmental Conservation Law are:

  • Regulate the disposal, transport and treatment of hazardous and toxic wastes in an environmentally sound manner;
  • Manage the state program for oil and chemical spills;
  • Provide for the abatement of water, land and air pollution, including pesticides;
  • Monitor environmental conditions and test for contaminants;
  • Encourage recycling, recovery and reuse of all solid waste to conserve resources and reduce waste;
  • Administer fish and wildlife laws, carry out sound fish and wildlife management practices, and conduct fish and wildlife research;
  • Manage New York's marine and coastal resources;
  • Conduct sound forestry management practices on state lands, provide assistance to private forest landowners and manage fire prevention and control efforts;
  • Manage the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserve and recreational facilities, including campsites;
  • Protect tidal and freshwater wetlands and flood plains;
  • Promote the wise use of water resources;
  • Administer the wild, scenic and recreational rivers program;
  • Regulate mining, including reclamation of mined lands, extraction of oil and gas, and underground storage of natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas;
  • Inform the public about environmental conservation principles and encourage their participation in environmental affairs.