Over the course of the past 18 months, D&B has provided support to the NYSDEC with development of it’s draft environmental audit policy. The concept of developing a new audit policy at the state level was somewhat spurred on by a paper written by Rich Walka and Ellen DeOrsay, published in the journal, “Environmental Law in New York,” as well as a presentation by Rich on the USEPA-Region 2 Self-policing/Audit Policy at the Business Council of New York (BCNYS), October 2011 Industry-Environment Conference. D&B was also asked to make an informational presentation on the subject to the NYSDEC Commissioner, Executive Staff and Regional Directors. Once the NYSDEC began development of a draft policy, the Department established a Stakeholders Group designed to provide a balanced, yet broad spectrum peer review of the policy as it developed. D&B was asked to participate in the Stakeholders Group, along with members of environmental groups and the regulated community, including business leaders from manufacturing, utilities and service sectors along with a BCNYS representative, local municipal governments, academia and various state governmental agencies.
Overall, the goal of the policy is to improve environmental compliance by offering incentives to the regulated community to conduct audits, identifying areas of non-compliance and disclose and correct violations in a timely fashion. In addition, the incentives are designed to encourage the regulated community to “go beyond compliance” by investing in Environmental Management Systems, as well as advancing Pollution Prevention initiatives that might not otherwise be required by typical regulatory requirements.
On February 22nd, Joseph Martens, Commissioner of the NYSDEC, announced the draft policy in a press release as an initiative to reward companies who perform environmental audits, report violations and prevent pollution. In response to a request by the Department for a reaction to the policy announcement, Rich remarked, “I applaud Commissioner Martens and his staff for advancing this important environmental policy. The policy provides the regulated community with an avenue to actually go beyond compliance by advancing Pollution Prevention and Environmental Management System initiatives. A job well done!” The public comment period for the draft policy has expired and the Department is currently responding to public comment.
For additional information on this draft policy please visit
www.dec.ny.gov/press/89367.html or contact Rich Walka at firstname.lastname@example.org/516-364-9890 ext. 3006.