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Firefighters want to recoup road spill costs

A gasoline tanker overturned about 2:15 p.m. Friday

A gasoline tanker overturned about 2:15 p.m. Friday on the south service road along Sunrise Highway near Locust Avenue in Bohemia. The accident caused a gasoline spill. Police closed the service road and the eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway. Fire departments from West Sayville and several surrounding communities responded to the scene as well as the Islip fire marshal, hazardous materials units and Suffolk police. There were no reported injuries and the road was expected to be closed until the remaining fuel could be transferred to another tanker. (May 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Photo by David Rubin

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York is calling on its members to reach out to the governor’s office to get a bill signed into law that would reimburse municipal agencies, including fire departments, for the cost of hazardous road spill cleanups.

The bill, sponsored by Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) and Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), would require private trucking companies whose drivers are responsible for spills on roads to reimburse up to $10,000 of the costs of materials, including one-time boots and suits, foams and berms purchased by the emergency services agencies.
The bill, part of the environmental conservation law, passed both the Senate and Assembly, and awaits the governor’s signature.

“This legislation is important protection for the taxpayers and community emergency services,” Sweeney said.

An earlier version of the bill was vetoed by former Gov. David A. Paterson but items of concern were fixed, Sweeney said. One change was in the provision that required the Department of Environmental Conservation and state fire officials to find funding when responsible parties could not be located, a Sweeney spokesman said.

All reimbursement forms must first be approved by the state fire administrator.

“This legislation lifts a large undue burden from our localities, fire districts and ultimately the taxpayers. They should not be held liable for an accident or spill that they did not create,” Zeldin said in a news release.

A spokesman for Teamsters Local 16 from New York City, which represents truckers, said it has not taken a position on the bill.


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