State Agency Environmental Audit & MS4 Reports
The State Agency Environmental Audit is an annual report of the environmental compliance status of all New York State agencies.
In 1988 the New York State Legislature enacted the State Agency Environmental Audit Law (Section 3-0311 of the Environmental Conservation Law). This law requires all New York State agencies and certain public authorities and public benefit corporations (approximately fifty agencies) to conduct environmental self-audits of their operations for each State Fiscal Year (April through March). The State Agency Environmental Audit Law was subsequently amended in 1991. In amending the Law, the Legislature declared that:
"The operation of state entities should set an example for the state municipalities, private citizens, and businesses by strictly adhering to the provisions of the environmental conservation law."
The State Agency Environmental Audit Law requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to develop guidelines for the preparation of environmental audits by State agencies including the ranking of each violation based on the threat that it poses to public health or the environment. This guidance also provides an updated summary of DEC laws and regulations. The guidance defines the four-tier hierarchy of rankings that agencies use to classify the violations. The hierarchy ranges from N1 to N4 violations with the most serious violations being N1 and the least serious being N4, as follows:
N1 - Poses an imminent substantial threat to the public health or the environment
N2 - Poses a potential substantial threat to the public health or the environment
N3 - Poses a discernible but not substantial threat to the public health or the environment
N4 - No evidence of discernible threat to the public health or the environment
Each year, DEC is required by the State Agency Environmental Audit Law to compile information that it receives from the State agencies and by September 1 to submit a report to the Governor, the Director of the Budget, and the two houses of the State Legislature. DEC coordinates this process, including providing programmatic and interpretative assistance to the State agencies as well as producing and distributing the summary report.
The State Agency Environmental Audit Report summarizes the audit information including listing every violation by agency at each of its facilities, projects, or operations, and indicating for each violation which section of the law or regulation was violated. In addition, DEC is required to assess whether the agencies' proposed rankings for violations are accurate and appropriate, to change them if they are not, and to evaluate the adequacy of each agency's proposed remediation plans.
Environmental Audit Reports
- 2009-10 Environmental Audit Report - Full report (PDF)
- 2008-09 Environmental Audit Report - Full report (PDF)
- 2007-08 Environmental Audit Report - Full report (PDF)