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September 10, 2008

 

DiNapoli: Oil Spill Fund Paid $34 Million In Clean-Up Costs During 2007-08 Fiscal Year


Comptroller Cites Prevention as Key to Reducing Petroleum Contamination

New York State’s Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund (Oil Spill Fund) processed more than 6,000 clean-up vouchers worth nearly $34 million, according to the Fund’s annual report, released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Even with an increase in the number of vouchers processed over last year, New York continues to experience more than 14,000 petroleum-related spills annually.

“Petroleum spills hurt our environment and damage our supply of clean drinking water,” DiNapoli said. “Since its creation in 1977, the Oil Spill Fund has enabled New York to react quickly to spills – but we need to be proactive. The recent enactment of the ‘Red Tag’ law was an overdue step toward preventing more spills. By adding more teeth to the Environment Conservation Law, the new law should enable us to decrease the number of spills and more efficiently pursue cost recovery from those responsible for the discharge.”

Specifically, provisions in Chapter 334 of the laws of 2008 authorize the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to prohibit deliveries of petroleum and to “red tag” any tank that is leaking or where a leak appears probable. It also authorizes DEC to establish design standards for new and existing storage facilities and updates the lists of hazardous substances to conform to various federal pollution control acts.

When prevention fails, the Oil Spill Fund pays for the clean-up and removal of petroleum spills - activities that are conducted with the technical assistance and oversight of DEC. The Oil Spill Fund also seeks recovery of the costs disbursed for clean-up, removal and claims as well as assessed penalties from petroleum dischargers with the assistance of the Office of the Attorney General.

According to the DiNapoli report, the Oil Spill Fund was able to collect $12.3 million from spillers during the 2007-08 fiscal year, a 22 percent increase over last year. The Fund also collected $23.1 million in license fees leaving it with a positive balance of more than $1.7 million for the fiscal year. License fees are charged on each barrel of petroleum sold in New York State, currently $.08 per 42-gallon barrel.

Among the Oil Spill Fund’s key successes during the 2007-08 fiscal year, was the Fund’s final payment in August 2007 of $1.2 million to Long Island’s West Hempstead-Hempstead Gardens Water District for the clean-up of four public wells contaminated by methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MtBE). In January 2008, the Comptroller announced the completion and successful testing of a seven-mile water pipeline extension enabling the Jefferson County Hamlet of Redwood to have permanent access to safe drinking water.

Click here for a copy of the Oil Spill Fund’s Annual Financial Report.

Click here for a copy of the Oil Spill Fund’s Financial History.

About the Oil Spill Fund
According to Department of Environmental Conservation estimates, there are more than 14,000 petroleum spills annually in New York State. The New York Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund is administered by the Office of the State Comptroller and pays for the remediation of petroleum spills conducted with the oversight of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. When the party responsible for a petroleum spill is identified, the Oil Spill Fund pursues reimbursement from that party for cleanup, removal and claims paid in relation to that particular spill.


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