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Post date: April 20 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Celebrates Earth Week And Highlights Environmental Accomplishments In 2015

A.G. Has Worked Aggressively To Protect The Environment, From Cracking Down On Polluters On Long Island To Enforcing The Bottle Bill In Western New York

Schneiderman: Protecting The State’s Environment Is Important For The Future Health And Strength Of New York

NEW YORK – Kicking off Earth Week, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today showcased a variety of statewide environmental protection initiatives that his office has championed, and provided a map demonstrating the reach and impact of the Environmental Protection Bureau over the past year. 

"Having a healthy and sustainable New York is not only important for today’s residents, but also critical to ensuring the well-being and strength of our state for generations to come,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Just this year, my office has taken action against those who polluted our groundwater on Long Island, directed resources to improve water quality in New York City and defended the right of New Yorkers to navigate public waters in Adirondack Park. But while we have made great progress in safeguarding our environment, there is still work to be done. This Earth Week, we must continue to reaffirm our commitment to protecting and improving the natural resources in our state and on our planet.”

Recent environmental victories include: 

On Long Island

  • Obtained $5.31 million from owners of industrial facilities in the New Cassel Industrial Area in North Hempstead to recover the costs of the state’s investigation of groundwater pollution emanating from the site and related natural resource damages.  Toxic industrial chemicals from the site had reached local drinking water supply wells.
  • Resolved contempt of court charges against Gerald Cohen, the owner of a former aviation plant in Port Jefferson Station, related to the cleanup of petroleum and hazardous wastes dumped at the site. The settlement gives the state access to the site to perform cleanup, includes a fine and holds Cohen liable for costs. 

In New York City

  • With the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), awarded $11 million in grants from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, a community grant fund created from money obtained by the state in a 2011 settlement with ExxonMobil over its Greenpoint, Brooklyn oil spill.  The environmental improvement grants will be combined with $23.8 million in matching contributions from the recipients, bringing the total investment in Greenpoint to nearly $35 million.
  • Sued New York City landlord Florence Edelstein for widespread violations of state oil spill prevention laws that govern the safe handling and storage of heating oil at residential properties.  Edelstein had been found liable for 90 violations of state laws at 25 properties in the Bronx and Manhattan. 
  • Joined by the DEC, reached an agreement with New York City directing $960,000 to improving water quality in the upper East River and Long Island Sound.  The City’s payment is in partial resolution of penalties assessed by the State for falling behind on scheduled upgrades to nitrogen pollution controls at its Tallman Island wastewater treatment plant in Queens. 

In the Hudson River Valley:

  • With DEC, reached an agreement with Gary Prato, a Putnam County landowner, to clean up an illegal landfill that discharged pollution into the Croton Falls Reservoir – a waterbody that has historically provided drinking water to New York City. The agreement also requires Prato to pay $245,000 in penalties.
  • Joined the Attorneys General of Connecticut and Vermont in challenging recently-issued rules of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that govern the long-term storage of highly radioactive nuclear wastes on-site at more than 100 reactors around the country – including the three Indian Point reactors in Westchester County – for 60 or more years after the reactors close.

In Central New York:

  • Obtained a court order against a Cortland County property owner for allegedly causing the flooding of a cemetery leading to the desecration of grave sites, and the disinterment and reburial of several bodies. The order requires James C. Stevens, III of Cortlandville to cease diverting stormwater from his property unless he secures a DEC permit to do so. A previous suit filed by Attorney General Schneiderman alleged that Stevens was illegally diverting water from his property in violation of state environmental and public nuisance laws.
  • Resolved a suit brought against Triple Cities Metal Finishing Corp. Zurenda Enterprises, and Binghamton Realty for allegedly contaminating soils and groundwater in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Fenton in Broome County with hazardous substances.  The Consent Decree requires the companies to pay the State a total of $55,000. 
  • Won a case against the owners and operators of a car-crushing facility in Town of Volney in Oswego County who illegally discharged petroleum products, metals, PCBs and other chemicals into groundwater and an adjacent wetland
  • Settled a civil case against Gary A. Royce, Jr. for improperly installing septic systems in a subdivision located in the Town of Granby in Oswego County, resulting in odors and raw sewage seeping to a number of yards.  The settlement requires Royce to replace, at his own expense, approximately 35 septic systems in the subdivision. 

In The North Country:

In Western New York:

  • Reached a court-ordered settlement requiring The Juice Factory Corp., based in Monroe County, to pay the state nearly $80,000 for repeatedly violating multiple provisions of New York’s Bottle Bill.  Investigations revealed that, for more than two years, the company collected deposits on beverage containers it sold in Monroe and Erie counties but failed to pay the unclaimed deposits to the state, as required by law. 
  • Joined the DEC and Livingston County in reaching an agreement with Akzo Nobel addressing environmental impacts relating to the collapse of the company’s salt mine in The agreement requires the company to pay $20 million toward local environmental restoration projects, including drinking water supply protection, water supply infrastructure improvements, environmental monitoring, and other projects.