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NYS DEC Proposes Self-Audit Policy

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released for public comment a policy designed to encourage businesses to audit themselves, and voluntarily report any problems to the DEC. The goal is prevent pollution and improve compliance with environmental laws.

The DEC policy states it wants to encourage regulated entities to audit their operations and adopt effective approaches to prevent violations, thereby improving compliance with environmental laws statewide and protecting public health and the environment. Ned Sullivan is the president of Poughkeepsie-based environmental group Scenic Hudson. He says such a policy has the potential to drive businesses to become greener above and beyond basic requirements.

Tom Phillips is the executive director of Newburgh-based Hudson Valley Technology Development Center. The center is listed in the proposed policy as a technical resource in the Hudson Valley to help reduce and prevent pollution.

Scenic Hudson’s Sullivan says the policy is an opportunity for businesses to lead the way, environmentally.

Companies with a history of failing to comply with environmental regulations are not eligible. Certain violations are excluded from the policy, including recurring violations, criminal activity or actual harm to people or the environment. The policy also identifies incentives for regulated entities to go "beyond compliance" by agreeing to evaluate and incorporate environmental management and pollution prevention into their systems. All comments on the proposed policy must be submitted to the DEC by April 22.

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