Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced today that one of two bills she introduced related to chemical spills in Endicott, NY has now become law. Lupardo announced the status of the bills at 1412 North Street, Endicott, at 11:00am.
The new legislation (A.10757/S.7307), effective immediately, will require the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to notify the public within 48 hours of any spill that may pose potential health hazards to the community. This January, the DEC was notified of an ethylene glycol spill in the Village of Endicott that eventually ended up in the Susquehanna River, but the public was not made aware of the spill until April 8, 2006.
This bill will greatly improve communication between government and the public, while helping to prevent any misinformation and confusion, said Lupardo. It is important that communities be aware of any potential health risks and environmental hazards.
The other bill introduced by Lupardo (A.10120/S.7301) was vetoed last night by Governor Pataki. It would have required landlords to disclose vapor intrusion problems to their tenants, beginning this October. While there are requirements to inform property owners of certain environmental threats, there was no system in place for renters. In the Village of Endicott and other areas across the state, renters have been unknowingly exposed to potential carcinogens, such as Trichloroethylene (TCE), even though landlords were notified about the contamination.
Vapor intrusion poses serious health concerns, Lupardo said. This new law would have helped close the loopholes that have allowed landlords to leave renters uninformed of known or suspected environmental contamination. Governor Patakis veto is completely unacceptable.
The legislation was passed unanimously by both the Assembly and Senate in June, 2006. The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senator Thomas Libous (R-Binghamton).
Lupardo is a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee in the Assembly.