Ramos Power Plant Emissions Bill Passes Assembly

May 12, 2004
Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) announces Assembly passage of his legislation requiring power plant owners to provide swift notification to the public when air emission limits are exceeded (A.9574).

Ramos noted that reports by the Department of Health have shown that Suffolk County suffers from disproportionate rates of breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers. In fact, last year the Department of Environmental fined the New York Power Authority $550,000 for exceeding acceptable levels of ammonia, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide at the Brentwood facility located at the Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center.

"The New York Power Authority has been fined for repeatedly exceeding emissions limits and jeopardizing the health of families across Long Island and New York City," Ramos said. "Citizens in our community and across the state have a right to know when air emission standards are violated and how their health is being threatened."

Ramosí bill calls for notification to the DEC and the public within 24 hours in instances where limits were exceeded for a second or subsequent time. The Department of Health would then be required to perform a study identifying the health implications of those emissions. The study would have to be completed within 90 days of the notification and then made available to the public. Another component of the bill is that fines collected by the DEC would be spent on an environmental project within five miles of that violation.

"Itís only fair that these fines help the very communities they harm, and itís right that the community should be informed when itís being polluted and put at risk," Ramos said. "Itís time the New York Power Authority and the DEC were required to report unsafe levels of pollution to our community. I strongly urge the Senate to pass this bill, and the governor to make it law. "