A measure that allows public water authorities to file lawsuits against polluters was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The new law is meant to give public water authorities more power to collect damages when a water supply is found to have been contaminated.
State lawmakers and environmental advocates who backed the legislation hope it will create needed revenue for communities when treating contaminations 1,4 dioxane, PFOA and PFOS.
“This law will equip public water authorities with a desperately needed tool to hold corporate polluters accountable for contaminating our drinking water and ensure these deep-pocketed polluters, not ratepayers, pay the costs of removing contaminants like 1,4-dioxane from our drinking water,” said Sen. Jim Gaughran, a Democrat from Long Island where water quality issues have been especially key for voters.
The measure is meant to address, in part, what is considered ambiguity in the law over lawsuits against polluters due to the ambiguity over when the date of contamination occurred. The measure clarifies that the statute of limitations begins within three years of the detection of contamination. It’s a change from when the contamination is alleged to have occurred.
“Protecting drinking water is becoming more expensive as we grapple with the legacy of industrial pollution,” said Julie Tighe, the president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Giving water suppliers more legal flexibility to hold polluters accountable will help ensure that cleaning up our drinking water is paid for by the people responsible for contaminating it, not ratepayers and taxpayers.”