Department of Environmental Conservation

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Enforcement

Please see the announcement from Thomas Berkman, Esq. regarding NYS Environmental Law Enforcement during the COVID-19 crisis (PDF)

The DEC enforces environmental laws through a number of means, including traditional police-type law enforcement, as well as administrative and civil actions. To be effective, state enforcement personnel and policies must work in concert with their local and federal counterparts, and citizens must be kept informed and involved.

Compliance and Recovery

Through compliance inspection reviews and with regulatory and technical knowledge, DEC's regional enforcement coordination efforts ensure the enforcement process is handled in a timely and appropriate manner. DEC will enter into legally binding agreements, called Orders on Consent, with parties that have violated environmental laws or regulations. These agreements typically entail a fine and/or a Schedule of Compliance, which outlines actions that parties must undertake to remedy any given violation(s).

DEC is also authorized to assess injuries to natural resources and seek damages to restore those resources from responsible parties. Recovered damages are used to restore the injured natural resources and compensate the public.

DEC executed a revised Consent Order for the Niagara Falls Water Board (PDF) for a discharge of black water from the wastewater treatment plant into the lower Niagara River.


More about Enforcement:

  • Natural Resource Damages (NRD) - Several state and federal laws authorize DEC to assess injuries to natural resources and seek damages to restore those resources.
  • Regional Enforcement Coordination - Regional Enforcement Coordination's principle charge is to act as a liaison between the Office of General Counsel and the various Department programs, as well as external parties, to ensure the enforcement process, and any subsequent requisite corrective and/or remedial action, is handled and completed in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • Guide to Enforcement Hearings - This guide was written to help you understand the enforcement hearing procedure used by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It explains the hearing process from when the charges are made to the Decision by the Commissioner. While this guide is helpful to understanding the hearing process, it does not substitute for the legal rules governing the hearing.
  • Guide to Enforcement Hearings in Spanish - This guide was written to help you understand the enforcement hearing procedure used by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It explains the hearing process from when the charges are made to the Decision by the Commissioner. While this guide is helpful to understanding the hearing process, it does not substitute for the legal rules governing the hearing.
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