This text is taken from P.26 of the House Record for Friday, Feb 2, 2018, No. 5
It is the statement voicing the view of the majority of the committee, which voted this bill inexpedient to legislate.
Rep. Andrew Renzullo for the Majority of Resources, Recreation and Development. This bill would enact laws assessing a penalty against anyone found to have violated any one of nine environmental statutes and the rules thereof. The penalty assessed would be a surcharge of 50% of the costs the person or business would pay for containment, cleanup, and remediation of water, air and soil pollution. So an occurrence which might not even elicit a minor fine, like an accidental fuel spill or a sewage leak, could end up costing the individual or business an additional 50% over and above the cost of containment, cleanup and remediation. Fixing the failed sewage system that might have cost $20,000, will now cost an additional $10,000. And where would that additional money go? Into the general fund, of course. There are already significant penalties associated with these statutes to ensure compliance, including criminal penalties and $25,000 per day fines. The draco- nian penalty enumerated in this bill is anti-business and counterproductive to the role of the Department of Environmental Services in that it immediately creates an adversarial atmosphere between the department and the individual or business involved. It would also create an incentive for individuals and businesses to do as cheap a remedy as possible because a better job would actually increase the penalty. In addition, many businesses insure against accidental spills or occurrences. The penalty in this bill would probably not be covered. And finally, all (save one) of the blue sheet signers are against the bill. They represented various business interests, including contractors and timber. The sole signer in favor was a co-sponsor. Vote 15-4.
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