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Revised Rural Area Flexibility Analysis - 6 NYCRR Parts 595-599

Repeal of:

6 NYCRR Part 595, Releases of Hazardous Substances
6 NYCRR Part 596, Hazardous Substance Bulk Storage Regulations
6 NYCRR Part 597, List of Hazardous Substances

Addition of:

6 NYCRR Part 596, Hazardous Substance Bulk Storage Facility Registration
6 NYCRR Part 597, Hazardous Substances Identification, Release Prohibition, and Release Reporting

Amendments to:

6 NYCRR Part 598, Handling and Storage of Hazardous Substances
6 NYCRR Part 599, Standards for New Hazardous Substance Tank Systems (formerly Standards for New or Modified Hazardous Substance Storage Facilities)

1. Types And Estimated Number Of Rural Areas

For purposes of this Rural Area Flexibility Analysis, "rural area" means those portions of the state so defined by Executive Law section 481(7). State Administrative Procedure Act section 102(10). Under Executive Law section 481(7), rural areas are defined as "counties within the state having less than two hundred thousand population, and the municipalities, individuals, institutions, communities, programs and such other entities or resources as are found therein. In counties of two hundred thousand or greater population, "rural areas" means towns with population densities of one hundred fifty persons or less per square mile, and the villages, individuals, institutions, communities, programs and such other entities or resources as are found therein." There are 44 counties in New York State (State) that have populations of less than 200,000 people and 71 towns in non-rural counties where the population densities are less than 150 people per square mile. The proposed rules would apply statewide so they would apply to all rural areas of the State.

2. Reporting, Recordkeeping, Other Compliance Requirements, And Need For Professional Services

The proposed rules contain no substantive changes to requirements that would be imposed on subject facilities under existing statutory and regulatory authorities. The proposed rules would not impose requirements on facilities located in rural areas in a manner different from those imposed on facilities in non-rural areas. No different or additional professional services would likely be needed by facilities in rural areas by virtue of their rural location.

3. Costs

Under proposed section 598.12, operators and tank system owners must designate operators for every underground tank system or group of underground tank systems. There would be three operator classes (A, B and C) to enable training to be focused on the particular level of knowledge required.

Consistent with federal requirements, there would be three key components to the operator training program: training, assessment of knowledge, and verification. Under proposed section 598.12, training could be accomplished by any method selected by the operator (self-study, online, or in-person classes). The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) will develop training materials and an examination to allow operators to demonstrate their understanding of the equipment and practices necessary for the safe operation of underground tank systems. It is anticipated that the exam would primarily be administered online. The Department recognizes that online testing may not be a viable option for some operators and therefore proposes to provide in-person exam options.

There would be costs incurred by facilities subject to the operator training requirements of proposed section 598.12. Within 30 days of being designated, every Class A and B operator must adequately perform on an assessment of knowledge of regulatory requirements applicable to the relevant operator class. Before being designated, every Class C operator must be trained and tested by the Class A or B operator. Operators of tank systems that are not regulated under 40 CFR Part 280 are exempt from this requirement. Self-study can be conducted at no cost and training courses are optional. The Department will develop tests for Class A and B operators. The Department will also develop training materials and make them publicly available. There would be no charge for the training materials or for an operator to take the test. Costs for Class A and B operators would be limited to costs associated with the time to prepare and take the test. Retesting or new operator designation would be required within 30 days of a Department determination that the underground tank system is significantly out of compliance.

The proposed rules would not impose costs on facilities in rural areas that are different or additional to those incurred by facilities in non-rural areas. There would be no likely variation in costs incurred by public and private entities in rural areas.

4. Minimizing Adverse Impact

Since this rule making is a consolidation of existing requirements, the Department believes that the proposed rules would not cause an adverse impact on any rural area.

5. Rural Area Participation

The Department provides statewide outreach to persons who will be subject to the proposed rules, including persons residing or working in rural areas of the State, by posting relevant information on the Department's website. The website provides these persons with information regarding implementation of the existing rules for the Chemical Bulk Storage (CBS) program and copies of the proposed rules and explanatory material. The Department also maintains a listserv to which persons may subscribe so that they can receive information about new developments regarding the CBS program.

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