Legislation Sponsored by Assemblyman Thiele to Prevent Polluters from Benefiting from State Assistance Payments Approved by Governor Hochul

Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) announced that Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation he authored with Senator Gaughran to ensure that polluters do not benefit from state assistance payments/grants made by the Environmental Facilities Corporation to municipalities and recipients.

The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) currently provides state assistance payments/grants for eligible municipal water supply projects designed to comply with federal and state drinking water goals and standards, which are often exceeded due to the acts of polluters or other responsible parties. When a municipality seeks damages from a party legally responsible for causing contamination of public water supplies, any state assistance payment made to the municipality may be considered a collateral source of payment and the amount of any award recoverable from a responsible party may be reduced by the amount of such state grant. Thus, prior to the enactment of this legislation, it was the responsible party that ultimately benefited from the state assistance payment/grant to the municipality at the expense of the taxpayers.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. said, “Polluters should never benefit from state taxpayer dollars. Rather, it is polluters, not ratepayers or municipalities, that should be held accountable for the damage they cause to our precious drinking water. This law guarantees that damages paid by polluters is not reduced by the amount of a state grant received by a municipality. I was glad to work with the Suffolk County Water Authority and Senator Gaughran to pass this crucial piece of legislation. I am thankful to the Governor for approving it.”

“Great thanks to Governor Hochul as well as Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. and Senator Jim Gaughran, who sponsored the legislation, for protecting our rights as drinking water providers to hold accountable those responsible for contaminating our groundwater,” said SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Szabo. “Polluters, not ratepayers and New York taxpayers, should be required to pay for the costs of cleaning up their pollution, and this new law will ensure that they will.”