The state Department of Environmental Conservation is warning residents who reported oil spills after superstorm Sandy about a letter from a Bay Shore company stating homeowners face steep fines if they don't clean up their property.
The letter from G. C. Environmental, Inc. uses a logo similar to the DEC's, offers free cleanup estimates and purports to come from the "Department of Environmental Remediation."
The DEC has a Division of Environmental Remediation, which handles spill reports and response; not a department.
In the letter, G.C. Environmental reports the family-owned company "can rectify the spill violation in a timely cost effective manner to avoid fines," which it cites as much as $25,000 per day.
The DEC will not fine homeowners for oil spills or delayed cleanup, officials said Wednesday in a news release.
"It is unconscionable that a company would try to take advantage of hurricane victims by threatening fines and then promoting the company as a solution," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in the release.
The agency does not license, certify or endorse environmental cleanup contractors.
The state attorney general's office and the Department of Financial Services are investigating the mailings.
Gregory Collins, president and owner of G.C. Environmental, said in an email that "an outside marketing consultant" sent the letter for the company. "It was not our intention to cause concern or unnecessarily alarm the property owners but merely sought to advise the owners of . . . the services of our firm," he said.
The company website indicates the business was created in 1989 and offers consulting, engineering, contracting and other services related to environmental assessment, management and remediation.
The letters cite state spill report numbers linked to a specific address -- information found in a public DEC database.
"To a homeowner, I think it could be alarming," said Richard Groh, Babylon Town's chief environmental analyst. "It kind of appears like a government agency sending that letter."
More than 4,600 oil spills were reported statewide after Sandy hit on Oct. 29, with 2,446 of them on Long Island, according to the DEC.