Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced several measures in the 2013-2014 state Budget that aid disaster prevention and recovery. They include the implementation of the Moreland Commission recommendations for state utilities, new emergency generator requirements for certain gas stations, and funding for natural infrastructure projects to mitigate the impact of violent storms and flooding due to climate change.
"I saw first-hand how failures in disaster prevention and response can cripple a community," said Silver. "These measures will help preserve our natural resources and improve the emergency response plans of our utilities and gas stations. Mitigating the damage caused by disasters is a crucial objective for the state. I welcome these actions and know this will remain an Assembly priority."
Following the recommendations passed down by the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response established by the Governor following Superstorm Sandy, the 2013-2014 state Budget includes reforms to strengthen oversight of major gas and electric utility companies by increasing the maximum amount of fines that can be assessed by the Public Service Commission for failure to reasonably restore service during an emergency and other safety violations.
Under the Budget, certain downstate gas stations are required to wire their stations to accept generators to be set up and used after a fuel emergency is declared. Following Sandy, gas stations that lost power contributed to the fuel shortage across the affected area.
The Budget also includes $4 million in the Environmental Protection Fund to be used for natural infrastructure projects for flood and climate change mitigation to be distributed to municipalities via a competitive grants process.