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For Release: Wednesday, September 26, 2018

DEC Announces $636,015 in Penalty and Restoration Funding for 2017 Con Edison Discharge to East River From Farragut Substation

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and New York City Audubon to Receive Funding for Environmental Projects

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced a $636,015 settlement of the enforcement action against Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) for its 2017 Farragut Substation discharge to the East River. The settlement includes funding for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy for an Environmental Benefit Project (EBP) and New York City Audubon for a Resource Restoration Project (RRP).

"At Governor Cuomo's direction, New York continues to prioritize improving and protecting the State's waters," said Commissioner Seggos. "The funding that came out of DEC's enforcement action and penalty against Con Edison highlights the positive investments that can be made after an unfortunate event. Settlement investments through DEC's Environmental Benefit Projects Policy will improve and restore the environment and natural resource damages funding serves to make the public whole."

DEC recently concluded an enforcement action against Con Edison related to the May 7, 2017, discharge of approximately 30,000 gallons of dielectric fluid from the utility company's Farragut Substation into the East River. The settlement requires Con Edison to pay $636,015 in penalties and damages, including funding for Environmental Benefit and Resource Restoration projects. Con Edison agreed to provide resources for these projects as part of the settlement of its violations of New York State Environmental Conservation Law.

The settlement requires Con Edison to pay $100,100 to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy for its water-based environmental education and kayaking programs, and $71,000 in natural resource damages to New York City Audubon for its Governors Island common terns nesting project. The remaining $464,915 will go to the New York State Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund (Oil Spill Fund), New York State Conservation Fund, and the State General Fund. The settlement also requires Con Edison to continue its cleanup of the site of the discharge and to assess petroleum containment compliance at its 13 waterfront substations in downstate New York.

DEC is continuously collecting ideas for EBPs from non-profit organizations in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island for the DEC EBP Idea Bank, which collects and stores potential Environmental Benefit Projects. Non-profit organizations in New York City are encouraged to visit DEC's EBP policy webpage for more information.

Senator Tom O'Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "It's important that New York State continues to direct funding from settlements like this one directly back to programs, projects, and services that will enhance environmental quality and sustainability."

Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster said, "Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is delighted to connect park-goers from all across the city to the East River. Our water-based recreation like kayaking, seining, and environmental education classes help schoolchildren and families understand the importance of the New York Harbor and the rich marine-life and ecosystems surrounding us. We thank the Department of Environmental Conservation and all parties involved for investing in waterfront conservation."

New York City Audubon Executive Director Kathryn Heintz said, "Clearly all of the parties involved in developing this resolution share our concerns for maintaining healthy habitat and clean waterways in the urban environs of New York City, for people and for wildlife. We are grateful for the opportunity to apply a portion of this funding toward important common tern conservation work."

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