On July 19, 2023, the State published Notice of its Adoption of revised Petroleum Bulk Storage (6 NYCRR Part 613) and Chemical Bulk Storage (6 NYCRR Parts 596, 598, 599).
New Spill Report Requirements
The Proposed Regulations included new spill reporting requirements, discussed at length HERE. Despite receiving numerous comments, including OFFICIAL COMMENTS from the New York State Bar Association Environmental and Energy Law Section’s Petroleum Spill Committee, the State adopted the proposed spill reporting requirements.
The new spill reporting requirements state:
613-2.4 Reporting, investigation, and confirmation.
(a) Reporting responsibilities. The reporting requirements of subdivisions (b) and (e) of this section apply to the following persons:
(1) the facility owner;
(2) the tank system owner;
(3) the operator;
(4) the carrier;
(5) any contractor in a contractual relationship with the facility owner, tank system owner, or operator;
(6) any other party and its contractors who have been retained as part of a business transaction relating to the facility;
(7) any person who causes a spill at the facility.
These new reporting requirements could potentially impact an attorney’s ethical obligations, and include any number of entities that are considered “contractors” or that are “in a contractual relationship,” with the facility – including those that the nature of the relationship has nothing to do with the petroleum on the site or environmental conditions.
The NOTICE OF ADOPTION acknowledges that numerous public comments were received about the new spill reporting requirements, and states that the addition of the new spill reporting requirements:
“was done to reduce the possibility of a spill going unreported due to confusion between these entities … ‘Contractors’ were included to highlight that such parties are acting on behalf of the owner/operator and are thus required to report spills though the term itself is meant to describe those engaging in activities related to the PBS tank systems at the facility.”
Whether this clarification in the Notice of Adoption will be sufficient to alleviate the broadness and vagueness of the new spill reporting requirements in 6 NYCRR 613-2.4 remains to be seen.
A copy of the final text can be found here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/remediation_hudson_pdf/part613pbstext.pdf. The revised regulations will be effective October 17, 2023.