The Suffolk County Water Authority, elected officials and environmentalists today hailed a law signed by Governor Kathy Hochul late last week that will ensure that companies that pollute drinking water supplies are held fully responsible for their actions. Polluters in the past were able to offset their court-ordered damages with New York State grant money allocated to water suppliers or municipalities for remediation. Under the new law, polluters would be barred from this practice and any funds allocated by the state for a water infrastructure project to remove contaminants must be returned to state coffers in the event of a judgement requiring polluters to pay the cost of the project.
“Great thanks to Governor Hochul as well as Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. and Senator Jim Gaughran, who sponsored the legislation, for protecting our rights as drinking water providers to hold accountable those responsible for contaminating our groundwater,” said SCWA Chairman Patrick Halpin. “Polluters, not ratepayers and New York taxpayers, should be required to pay for the costs of cleaning up their pollution, and this new law will ensure that they will.”
"Every New Yorker deserves clean, safe drinking water," Governor Hochul said. "By signing this legislation, which holds polluters accountable for contaminating drinking water, we are prioritizing the health and wellbeing of our communities."
“I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing this critical legislation into law,” Gaughran said. “New Yorkers shouldn’t have to wait for litigation to get pollution cleaned up, and we shouldn’t be left to pay for a quick remediation. With this bill, New Yorkers can expect quick action and know that polluters will pay the costs of cleaning up their messes.”