NY State Legislature Passes Two Major Environmental Bills
July 26, 2019
In June, the New York State Legislature passed two of the most significant environmental bills in recent memory. The two bills, Senate Bill S439A and Senate Bill S6599, will affect New York State residents, property owners, developers, businesses, local governments, and other entities and institutions in the state in large and small ways.
The chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are fluorinated organic chemicals that are part of a larger group of man-made substances called PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals. Resistant to water, grease, and stains, PFOS and PFOA were widely incorporated in carpets, clothing, furniture fabric, food packaging, and firefighting foam used at airfields. They have been found in water supplies across the state, as I have previously discussed in these pages. See Charlotte A. Biblow, “Addressing Concerns Over Chemicals in Drinking Water,” NYLJ Sept. 22, 2016, and “State’s Battle Against Firefighting Foam Intensifies,” NYLJ July 26, 2018.
In recent years, many companies agreed to phase out their use of PFOA and PFOS. Efforts also have been made on both the federal and state levels to regulate PFOS and PFOA. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued provisional health advisories for PFOS and PFOA in 2009, although it has not yet established national drinking water standards for PFOS or PFOA. A bill pending in the U.S. Congress, S1509-116th Congress, PFAS Release Disclosure Act, would require the EPA to promulgate PFAS federal drinking water standards within two years of its enactment.
Charlotte A. Biblow, a partner in the environmental, land use and municipal law and litigation departments of Farrell Fritz, can be reached at email@example.com.
Reprinted with permission from New York Law Journal, Thursday, July 25, 2019, Vol 261 – No. 18.
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