Putting Teeth into Environmental Audits of State Agencies

June 16, 2009

On June 16, 2009, the Assembly passed Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh’s bill aimed at tightening requirements on State agencies to reduce their impact on the environment, by strengthening the State’s environmental audit process.

One of our biggest polluters is the State government itself, partly because of the enormous scope of activity of State agencies in their normal course of business. Unfortunately, although they are required by law to audit their environmental impact and mitigate any excessive pollution, agencies often fail to complete the audits or follow through on mitigation.

In response, Kavanagh’s bill, A.00561, would empower the Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner to hold hearings when agencies fail to take steps to clean up their operations and to impose penalties when necessary. This would pressure agencies to complete mandated remediation plans by adding public scrutiny and accountability. The bill is sponsored in Senate by Senator Liz Krueger.