New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation (S6758-B/A10803a) on Dec. 15 to strengthen penalties against the illegal disposal of construction debris, demolition debris and other hazardous substances. The legislation also designates fraud schemes involving the disposal of solid waste as a new crime.
According to the governor’s office, these strengthened penalties will provide new tools to law enforcement to use as they work to stop unlawful waste dumping activities.
"Illegal dumping is a significant problem and too often its costs are unjustly passed on to the community," Gov. Cuomo says. "Not only does this legislation strengthen criminal penalties to ensure sanctions do not simply become another cost of doing business, but it further discourages large-scale illegal dumping by holding developers and waste haulers accountable for creating the problem in the first place."
With this signing, a number of technical changes to legislative language have been agreed to following negotiations with the state’s legislature. The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
New York Sen. Todd Kaminsky, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee says, "As Long Islanders have seen repeatedly, the previous criminal penalties did little to deter bad actors from dumping waste illegally. For too long, Long Island, and especially its minority communities, has been a dumping ground of hazardous waste from New York City's construction industry. It threatens the safety and the environment of the whole region. This bill will finally give prosecutors the tools they need to go after these very serious offenses. Thank you to Gov. Cuomo and [Suffolk County] District Attorney Sini for helping set new standards that protect our communities and its resources."
"Dumping of waste on Long Island has been a problem for a very long time,” New York Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation says. “It is particularly dangerous as many wastes are toxic and end up in our water supply. This new law creates new, tougher penalties including a felony to help deter this activity. I want to thank Senate Sponsor Todd Kaminsky, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini, and Gov. Cuomo for working together to bring this law across the finish line."