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oil and gas spills Archives

Basics of the "Oil Spill Act," Article 12 of the New York Navigation Law

New York's Oil Spill Act, Article 12 of the New York Navigation Law, assigns strict liability to any person who has discharged petroleum, for all cleanup and removal costs associated with the cleanup of the petroleum, as well as all direct and indirect damages, such as attorney's fees. N.Y. Navigation Law (1). A discharge of petroleum, sufficient to incur liability under the Oil Spill Act, includes any intentional or unintentional action or omission resulting in a release of petroleum into water, or into soil from which the petroleum could flow or drain to water. NL 172(8). New York generally interprets any and all spills of petroleum onto soil as falling within the jurisdiction of the Oil Spill Act, without any demonstration that the petroleum will actually find its way to the waters nominally protected by the Act.

N.Y. Navigation Law Sec. 176. Removal of prohibited discharges. Sections 1 - 3

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.

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