Tying Agencies in Knots

Environmental Advocates Strongly Opposes this Bill

Explanation: 

Though it has been amended since 2016, this legislation still severely hinders state agencies’ ability to adopt new regulations to protect public health and the environment. It requires a misguided “one in, one out” policy for new rules. By focusing only on the cost impacts on businesses, the bill completely fails to consider the benefits that strong standards have for our health, worker safety, and the environment.

The bill has a new provision to prevent agencies from repealing a rule or regulation that would “compromise or endanger the public health, safety or economy of the state or its citizens.” On its face the new text seems worthy, but this provision actually thwarts an agency from enacting any new rules since this provision would make it impossible to identify a rule under the “one-out” provision of the bill.

A lesson that we all should learn from the contaminated water crisis in Hoosick Falls and elsewhere is the need for strong, updated standards. We also need highly engaged state agencies that are not blocked from setting up-to-date standards.

Although some in the regulated community frequently complain that regulations are too cumbersome, it is regulations that protect public health, ensure families have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, and provide that polluters are held accountable for their pollution instead of placing that burden on New York communities. New York State would not be an attractive place to live, work, or do business without those protections.

The bill also unnecessarily duplicates what already is required under law. The State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) requires agencies to follow a rigorous procedure that provides for public review and opportunities to comment, thereby involving the public and affected industries throughout the rulemaking process. SAPA also requires agencies proposing regulations to consider using regulatory approaches to minimize costs on small businesses and local governments, and conduct additional outreach to solicit their involvement in the rulemaking. Furthermore, state agencies already must evaluate a proposed regulation’s potential impact on jobs and employment opportunities in New York State.

Summary: 

This bill amends the State Administrative Procedure Act to require all state agencies to amend or repeal at least one existing rule whenever a new rule is adopted that imposes a new administrative burden on a business, to offset the cost of the new rule.

Memo #: 

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