1. Any person discharging petroleum in the manner prohibited by section one hundred seventy-three of this article shall immediately undertake to contain such discharge. Notwithstanding the above requirement, the department may undertake the removal of such discharge and may retain agents and contractors who shall operate under the direction of such department for such purposes. The commissioner shall develop a system of immediate response type contracts with appropriate agents and contractors. Such contracts shall be subject to the approval of the state comptroller in accordance with section one hundred twelve of the state finance law, however, such approval shall not obligate to any particular contract any specific amount of monies from the fund but shall obligate from the fund on an individual basis as such contracts are utilized the actual amount required to effectuate any contract or any portion thereof. Any necessary approvals of availability of funds for a particular project in accordance with any provision of the state finance law shall be undertaken as soon as practical after clean up and removal procedures are undertaken, or such procedures are ordered by the commissioner.2. (a) Upon the occurrence of a discharge of petroleum, the department shall respond promptly and proceed to cleanup and remove the discharge in accordance with environmental priorities or may, at its discretion, direct the discharger to promptly cleanup and remove the discharge. The department shall be responsible for cleanup and removal or as the case may be, for retaining agents and contractors who shall operate under the direction of that department for such purposes. Implementation of cleanup and removal procedures after each discharge shall be conducted in accordance with environmental priorities and procedures established by the department.
(b) Section eight of the court of claims act or any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the state shall be immune from liability and action with respect to any act or omission done in the discharge of the department’s responsibility pursuant to this article; provided, however, that this subdivision shall not limit any liability which may otherwise exist for unlawful, willful or malicious acts or omissions on the part of the state, state agencies, or their officers, employees or agents or for a discharge in violation of section one hundred seventy-three of this article.
3. Any unexplained discharge of petroleum within state jurisdiction or discharge of petroleum occurring in waters beyond state jurisdiction that for any reason penetrates within state jurisdiction shall be removed by or under the direction of the department. Except for those expenses incurred by the party causing such discharge, any expenses incurred in the removal of discharges shall be paid promptly from the New York environmental protection and spill compensation fund pursuant to section one hundred and eighty-six of this article and any reimbursements due such fund shall be collected in accordance with the provisions of section one hundred and eighty-seven of this article.