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A06221 Summary:

BILL NOA06221B
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSORAbinanti
 
COSPNSRSkoufis
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd 15-2901, 15-2903, 15-2905, 15-2907, 15-2909, 15-2911 & 15-2913, add 15-2904 & 15-2915, En Con L
 
Expands the water resources planning council to include regional representatives and requires reports from the council.
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A06221 Actions:

BILL NOA06221B
 
02/28/2017referred to environmental conservation
03/08/2017amend and recommit to environmental conservation
03/08/2017print number 6221a
01/03/2018referred to environmental conservation
04/23/2018amend and recommit to environmental conservation
04/23/2018print number 6221b
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A06221 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A6221B
 
SPONSOR: Abinanti
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the water resources planning council   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill amends the environmental conservation law by expanding the membership and powers of the resources planning council to manage and oversee the water resources of the state to ensure that all residents have access to adequate, affordable, safe drinking water in perpetuity.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill amends environmental conservation law section 15-2901 to provide that: 1. The resources planning council shall consist of seventeen voting members and eight non-voting members. 2. The head of the council shall be the water commissioner, who shall be appointed by the governor, by and with the consent of the senate. The water commissioner shall hold no other public office and shall chair the council. The water commissioner shall receive an annual salary to be fixed by the governor within the amount available by appropriation, and shall be entitled to receive reimbursement for expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of his or her duties. Except for the chair, members shall receive reimbursement for expenses only. The water commissioner's duties shall include management and oversight of the water resources of the state. 3. Voting members shall include the heads of nine state departments, the chair of the council and seven members appointed by the governor which shall include at least two members with expertise in the science of water resources planning, at least two members with expertise in envi- ronmental science and/or engineering and one member with expertise in environmental justice. 4. Non-voting members shall represent each of the following regions: (a) New York City; (b) Long Island; (c) Lower Hudson Valley; (d) Capitol Region; (e) Upper Hudson and St. Lawrence River Watershed; (f) Central New York; (g) Southern Tier River basins; and (h) Great Lakes Regional Watersheds. 5. The water commissioner may request and receive from any department, division, board, bureau, commission or other agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof or any public authority, staff and other assistance, information or resources as will enable the water resources planning council to properly carry out its functions, powers and duties. Section 2 amends environmental conservation law section 15-2903, to provide that a majority of the voting members of the council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business or the exercise of any power of the council. Section 3 amends the environmental conservation law by adding a new section to set forth the duties and purpose of the council including that the council shall: 1. Manage and oversee the water resources of the state to ensure that all residents have access to adequate, affordable, safe drinking water in perpetuity. 2. When appropriate, consider opportunities for economic development in managing the water resources of the state. 3. Ensure the fair and equitable distribution of public water resources and ensure that every agency considers environmental justice standards in its decision making process and actions. 4. Create interstate partnerships for sharing resources and best prac- tices for water management. 5. Review and examine state and federal laws and regulations concerning the management, use, protection, conservation and provision of water which may affect the state and may comment on such laws and regulations as necessary. 6. Review the list of contaminants tested in state waters and make necessary recommendations to the departments of environmental conserva- tion and health or the United States environmental protection agency. Section 4 amends environmental conservation law section 15-2905 to provide that the chair shall cause to be prepared the inventory of existing significant deficiencies in water supply availability through- out the state. Such inventory shall be completed and transmitted to the governor and legislature by July first, two thousand nineteen. The summary of existing statutory and constitutional provisions relating to the provision and financing of water supply by local governments shall be completed and transmitted to the governor and legislature by January first, two thousand twenty. Section 5 amends environmental conservation law section 15-2907 to provide that no later than January first, two thousand twenty-one, the water resources planning council, with the participation of all voting members and whenever possible, non-voting regional members, develop and adopt a comprehensive statewide water resources management strategy. The statewide resources management strategy shall be made available on the council's website and submitted to the legislature within two weeks of its adoption. Section 6 amends environmental conservation law section 15-2909 to require that a public hearing be held in each of the regions represented by a non-voting member of the council. Section 7 amends environmental conservation law section 15-2911 to provide that after the conclusion of the hearings, but no later than January first, two thousand twenty-one; the council shall adopt the statewide water management resources management strategy, with modifica- tions, if any, based on the testimony and public hearing record. Section 8 amends environmental conservation law section 15-2913 to provide that at least once a year the council shall review the water resources management strategy and amend it if necessary. Every four years a new comprehensive statewide resources management strategy shall be developed and adopted by the water resources planning council. Section 9 amends the environmental conservation law by adding a new section 15-2915 to provide that not less than once each year, the water resources planning council shall submit a report to the governor, the majority leader of the senate and the speaker of the assembly on the status and quality of the water resources of the state. Section 10 is the effective date.   DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION: The bill was previously amended to provide that the water resources planning council commissioner shall be appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, and hold office at the pleas- ure of the governor. This amended section also provides that the water commissioner's salary shall be fixed by the governor within the amount available therefore by appropriation, and that the water commissioner shall be entitled to receive reimbursement for expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of his or her duties. Addi- tionally, the water commissioner may request and receive from any department, division, board, bureau, commission or other agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof or any public authority, staff and other assistance, information or resources as will enable the water resources planning council to properly carry out its functions, powers and duties. The bill has been further amended to update the dates required for completion of goals and reports and to provide for review by the council of the recommendations of the drinking water quality council.   JUSTIFICATION: Presently, the State's water resources management is governed by sepa- rate state and local agencies. No comprehensive strategy for water qual- ity or water resources management exists to ensure that state agencies work together, that state and local water resource issues are considered holistically and that all agencies are working together to properly manage all New York water. In 1988 the New York Water Resources Planning Council (WRPC) was estab- lished under Environmental Conservation Law § 15-2901 for that purpose. The 15 member panel included the heads of 7 state agencies as well as 8 others appointed by the Governor and was charged with developing a statewide strategy for water management, focusing on water for drinking, recreational use, industry and agriculture and economic development. That strategy was developed in 1988. While the WRPC continued to meet until the mid-1990's, there was no further update to the strategy. This bill will increase the membership of the WRPC to include regional representation and expand its duties and powers to ensure that the State has a comprehensive statewide strategy for water quality and water resources management on an ongoing basis. While regional water councils have successfully allowed for localized control of water resource development projects with municipal oversight, as water management has become a more pressing concern statewide, a more comprehensive statewide approach to water management is necessary. This legislation will provide the necessary framework for a water resources planning council that will facilitate cooperative and sustainable management of the water resources of the State including ensuring that all residents have access to adequate and safe drinking water.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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A06221 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         6221--B
 
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    February 28, 2017
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of A. ABINANTI, SKOUFIS -- read once and referred to
          the Committee on Environmental Conservation --  committee  discharged,
          bill  amended,  ordered  reprinted  as amended and recommitted to said
          committee -- recommitted to the Committee on  Environmental  Conserva-
          tion  in  accordance  with  Assembly  Rule  3,  sec.  2  --  committee
          discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
          to said committee
 
        AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation  to  the
          water resources planning council
 
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section 1. Section 15-2901 of the environmental conservation  law,  as
     2  amended  by  chapter  83  of  the  laws  of  1995, is amended to read as
     3  follows:
     4  § 15-2901. Water resources planning council; organization.
     5    1. There is hereby established [within the department of environmental
     6  conservation] a water resources planning council. [It] The head  of  the
     7  council  shall  be the water commissioner, who shall be appointed by the
     8  governor, by and with the advice and consent of  the  senate,  and  hold
     9  office  at  the pleasure of the governor by whom he or she was appointed
    10  and until a successor is appointed and qualified. The water commissioner
    11  shall hold no other public office, and shall be the chief administrative
    12  officer of and in  sole  charge  of  the  administration  of  the  water
    13  resources  planning  council  and  shall  chair  the  council. The water
    14  commissioner shall receive an annual salary to be fixed by the  governor
    15  within  the  amount  available  therefor  by appropriation, and shall be
    16  entitled to receive reimbursement for expenses actually and  necessarily
    17  incurred  in  the  performance of his or her duties.  The commissioner's
    18  duties shall include management and oversight of the water resources  of
    19  the  state.  The  water  resources  planning  council  shall  consist of
    20  [fifteen]  seventeen voting members[, including]  and  eight  non-voting
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD09825-05-8

        A. 6221--B                          2
 
     1  members.  (a)  Voting members shall include the chair, the commissioners
     2  of agriculture and markets, economic development, environmental  conser-
     3  vation,  health,  transportation,  human rights, the chair of the public
     4  service  commission, president of the New York state energy research and
     5  development authority, secretary  of  state  and  seven  members  to  be
     6  appointed  by  the  governor including at least [one member] two members
     7  who shall have expertise in the  science  of  water  resources  planning
     8  [and],  at  least  two members who shall have expertise in environmental
     9  science and/or engineering and one member [selected from a list proposed
    10  by public interest or environmental citizens  organizations]  who  shall
    11  have  expertise  in environmental justice. These seven members appointed
    12  by the governor shall serve terms of [four] five years each. Two of  the
    13  members  appointed by the governor shall be appointed upon the recommen-
    14  dation of the majority leader of the  senate  and  two  of  the  members
    15  appointed  by the governor shall be appointed upon the recommendation of
    16  the speaker of the assembly. [The governor shall  select  a  chair  from
    17  among  the  members.] (b) Non-voting members shall represent each of the
    18  following regions: (a) New York City; (b) Long Island; (c) Lower  Hudson
    19  Valley;  (d)  Capitol  Region;  (e)  Upper Hudson and St. Lawrence River
    20  Watershed; (f) Central New York; (g) Southern Tier River basins; and (h)
    21  Great Lakes Regional Watersheds. Meetings of the council shall be called
    22  by the chair. [Members] Except for  the  chair,  members  shall  receive
    23  reimbursement for expenses only.
    24    The  water  commissioner  may request and receive from any department,
    25  division, board, bureau, commission or other agency of the state or  any
    26  political  subdivision  thereof or any public authority, staff and other
    27  assistance,  information,  and  resources  as  will  enable  the   water
    28  resources  planning  council to properly carry out its functions, powers
    29  and duties.
    30    § 2. Section 15-2903 of the environmental conservation law, as amended
    31  by chapter 307 of the laws of 1986, is amended to read as follows:
    32  § 15-2903. Water resources planning council; quorum, bylaws.
    33    A majority of the voting members of the  council  shall  constitute  a
    34  quorum  for the transaction of any business or the exercise of any power
    35  of the council. The commissioners of agriculture and markets, [commerce]
    36  economic development, energy, environmental conservation, health, trans-
    37  portation, human rights, the [chairman]  chair  of  the  public  service
    38  commission  and  secretary  of state may, by official authority filed in
    39  their respective agencies, and with the water resources  planning  coun-
    40  cil,  designate  a deputy or other officer to exercise his or her powers
    41  and perform his or her duties, including the right to vote, on the coun-
    42  cil. The council may also establish for itself bylaws for the conduct of
    43  its affairs.
    44    § 3. The environmental conservation law is amended  by  adding  a  new
    45  section 15-2904 to read as follows:
    46  § 15-2904. Water resources planning council; duties and purpose.
    47    1.  The  council  shall  manage and oversee the water resources of the
    48  state including facilitating cooperative and sustainable  management  of
    49  water  resources  to  ensure that all residents have access to adequate,
    50  affordable, safe drinking water in perpetuity.   When  appropriate,  the
    51  council  shall consider opportunities for economic development in manag-
    52  ing the water resources of the state. The council shall ensure the  fair
    53  and  equitable  distribution  of public water resources and shall ensure
    54  that every agency considers environmental justice standards in its deci-
    55  sion making process and actions. The  council  shall  create  interstate

        A. 6221--B                          3

     1  partnerships  for sharing resources and best practices for water manage-
     2  ment.
     3    2. The council shall review and examine all state and federal laws and
     4  regulations concerning the management, use, protection, conservation and
     5  provision  of  water  which  may affect the state. The council may issue
     6  comments on any proposed state and federal  legislation  or  regulations
     7  affecting  water. The council shall review and may issue comments on any
     8  recommendations of the drinking water quality council established pursu-
     9  ant to section eleven hundred thirteen of the  public  health  law.  The
    10  council shall review the list of contaminants which are tested in waters
    11  of  the  state  and  make necessary recommendations to the department of
    12  environmental conservation, the department  of  health,  or  the  United
    13  States environmental protection agency.
    14    §  4.  Section 15-2905 of the environmental conservation law, as added
    15  by chapter 509 of the laws of 1984, is amended to read as follows:
    16  § 15-2905. Statewide inventory of existing significant  deficiencies  in
    17               water supply systems.
    18    The  [commissioner,  in  consultation  with the commissioner of health
    19  and] chair, utilizing information requested from the  responsible  local
    20  officials as well as relevant information developed through titles elev-
    21  en and thirteen of this article, shall cause to be prepared an inventory
    22  of  existing  significant  deficiencies  in  water  supply  availability
    23  throughout the state, including specific needs for improvement, rehabil-
    24  itation and establishment of water supply, distribution and transmission
    25  facilities. Such  inventory  shall  also  identify  those  water  supply
    26  systems  affected  or threatened by intrusions of hazardous materials or
    27  wastes and the nature of remediation required. Such inventory  shall  be
    28  completed  and  transmitted to the governor, legislature and the council
    29  by July first, [nineteen hundred eighty-five] two thousand nineteen.
    30    The [commissioner] chair in consultation with the secretary of  state,
    31  shall  also cause to be prepared a review and summary of existing statu-
    32  tory and constitutional provisions relating to the provision and financ-
    33  ing of water supply facilities  by  local  governments,  including  such
    34  provision and financing through inter-local cooperation. Such review and
    35  summary  shall  also  identify any existing statutory and constitutional
    36  constraints against the  effective  and  efficient  provision  of  sound
    37  financing, on a revenue or general obligation basis, of such facilities.
    38  Such review and summary shall be completed and transmitted to the gover-
    39  nor,  legislature  and  the  council by January first, [nineteen hundred
    40  eighty-six] two thousand twenty.  At such time and based upon the  above
    41  inventory  and  review  and summary, the [commissioner] chair shall also
    42  cause  to  be  prepared  a  compilation  of  those  instances  in  which
    43  correction of existing significant deficiencies appears to be beyond the
    44  reasonable financial capabilities of the affected communities.
    45    § 5. Section 15-2907 of the environmental conservation law, as amended
    46  by chapter 214 of the laws of 1991, is amended to read as follows:
    47  § 15-2907. Water resources management strategy; development purpose.
    48    Not  later  than  January  first,  [nineteen hundred eighty-seven, the
    49  department of environmental conservation, with the participation of  the
    50  department of health] two thousand twenty-one, the water resources plan-
    51  ning  council, with the participation of all voting members and whenever
    52  possible, [regional planning and development boards] non-voting regional
    53  members, shall develop and [submit]  adopt  a  [complete]  comprehensive
    54  statewide  water  resources  management strategy [to the water resources
    55  planning  council  for  its  review  and  adoption].  [This]  The  water
    56  resources  management  strategy  shall  be  composed  of  substate water

        A. 6221--B                          4
 
     1  resources management strategies which recognize the  natural  boundaries
     2  of  the  water  resource  basins,  watersheds, and aquifers and existing
     3  significant deficiencies of water supply, and which  organize  these  in
     4  the most practical and manageable manner. Each substate management stra-
     5  tegy shall analyze the present and future demographic, natural resource,
     6  economic  development,  water  quality, and conservation requirements of
     7  public and private water systems and develop regional management strate-
     8  gies to meet the water resources requirements of  residential,  agricul-
     9  tural,  industrial  and  commercial  users as well as assure the highest
    10  possible quality and quantity of these resources.
    11    Strategies shall analyze the efficiency and capacity of existing water
    12  supply sources and facilities  and  shall  contain  recommendations  for
    13  appropriate  modifications, restoration, and expansion or development of
    14  new sources or facilities. Such strategies  shall  also  include  evalu-
    15  ations  and recommendations as to the feasibility of including or remov-
    16  ing hydroelectric energy generation facilities as part of the  modifica-
    17  tions,  restoration,  and  expansion  or  development of new or existing
    18  resources or facilities and/or returning rivers  and  streams  to  their
    19  natural  flow. The strategy shall also contain recommendations regarding
    20  implementation of these strategies by  the  department  of  health,  the
    21  department  of environmental conservation, other appropriate state agen-
    22  cies, local governments and  special  districts.  Where  necessary,  the
    23  strategy  shall  include  review  and assessment of all interstate water
    24  management agreements or agreements with  municipalities.  In  addition,
    25  the  departments  shall  submit  to the council substate water resources
    26  management strategies as soon as  such  strategies  are  developed.  The
    27  departments  shall  also report regularly to the council on the develop-
    28  ment of the strategies and receive  the  council's  recommendations  and
    29  directions.  [Such  substate]  The  statewide water resources management
    30  strategy shall be made available to the public on the council's  website
    31  and  submitted  to  the  legislature  within  two weeks of its adoption.
    32  Substate strategies shall also be available [for  public  inspection  as
    33  soon  as]  to  the public on each department's and the council's website
    34  within two weeks of the submission of such strategies [are developed] to
    35  the council.
    36    § 6. Section 15-2909 of the environmental conservation law,  as  added
    37  by chapter 509 of the laws of 1984, is amended to read as follows:
    38  § 15-2909. Water resources management strategy; hearings.
    39    Upon [receipt] adoption of the comprehensive statewide water resources
    40  management  strategy [from the department of environmental conservation]
    41  by the water resources planning  council,  the  council  shall  promptly
    42  publish once a week for three consecutive weeks in newspapers of general
    43  circulation  and post on the council's website notice of public hearings
    44  thereon. Public hearings shall be conducted in  each  of  the  [substate
    45  areas]  regions  represented [in the statewide strategy] by a non-voting
    46  member of the council, and  shall  be  in  accordance  with  regulations
    47  adopted  by  the  [department,  subject to modification by the] council.
    48  Such regulations shall, at a minimum, require a hearing  on  the  record
    49  with  sworn  witnesses  and shall afford interested parties a reasonable
    50  opportunity to sponsor witnesses and to question witnesses sponsored  by
    51  others, including department staff, consistent with the need to conclude
    52  the  hearings  expeditiously  so that a state water resources management
    53  strategy can be adopted in a timely manner. The hearings  shall  not  be
    54  considered part of an adjudicatory proceeding, as defined in subdivision
    55  three  of  section one hundred two of the state administrative procedure

        A. 6221--B                          5
 
     1  act, or as part of a rule-making proceeding held under  subdivision  one
     2  of section two hundred two of such act.
     3    §  7.  Section 15-2911 of the environmental conservation law, as added
     4  by chapter 509 of the laws of 1984, is amended to read as follows:
     5  § 15-2911. Water resources management strategy; approval.
     6    The water resources planning council shall, as expeditiously as  prac-
     7  ticable  following  the conclusion of its hearings, but in no case later
     8  than January first, [nineteen hundred eighty-eight] two  thousand  twen-
     9  ty-one,  [determine] adopt, based on the record, [whether] the statewide
    10  water resources management strategy [should be approved] with  modifica-
    11  tions  [or  disapproved,  and shall state in writing the reasons for its
    12  determination], if any,  based  on  the  testimony  and  public  hearing
    13  record.  [If the council has determined approval of the] The strategy [,
    14  it] adopted by the council shall be adopted by the departments of health
    15  and environmental conservation and other appropriate state agencies  [in
    16  the form determined by the council. If the council has determined disap-
    17  proval of the strategy, the department of environmental conservation, in
    18  conjunction  with the department of health, shall modify the strategy in
    19  accordance with the determination issued by the council and resubmit the
    20  strategy to the council for its action].
    21    § 8. Section 15-2913 of the environmental conservation law,  as  added
    22  by chapter 509 of the laws of 1984, is amended to read as follows:
    23  § 15-2913. Water resources management strategy; revision.
    24    From  time  to  time  and  at  least once every [two years] year, [the
    25  department of environmental conservation, with the participation of  the
    26  department of health] the water resources planning council, with partic-
    27  ipation  of all voting members and whenever possible, [regional planning
    28  and development boards] non-voting regional members,  shall  review  the
    29  strategy and shall either (a) prepare any amendments necessary to update
    30  the strategy, or (b) issue a determination that no amendments are neces-
    31  sary and the reasons supporting the determination. Any interested person
    32  may  seek  such  a review upon written application to the [department of
    33  environmental conservation] council for an amendment  to  the  statewide
    34  water  resources  management  strategy.  [Any  statement  issued  by the
    35  departments that no amendments are necessary shall be submitted  to  the
    36  council  for approval, modification or disapproval.] Amendments shall be
    37  adopted in the same manner as the strategy itself. Every four  years,  a
    38  new  comprehensive  statewide  resources  management  strategy  shall be
    39  developed and adopted by the water resources  planning  council  as  set
    40  forth herein.
    41    §  9.  The  environmental  conservation law is amended by adding a new
    42  section 15-2915 to read as follows:
    43  § 15-2915. Report to legislature and governor.
    44    From time to time, but  not  less  than  once  each  year,  the  water
    45  resources  planning  council  shall submit a report to the governor, the
    46  majority leader of the senate and the speaker of  the  assembly  on  the
    47  status  and quality of the water resources of the state. When requested,
    48  the water commissioner shall represent and provide testimony  on  behalf
    49  of the water resources planning council before the senate and assembly.
    50    § 10. This act shall take effect immediately.
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