Environmental Risk is Real! And Environmental Risk Management is Needed!!
30 years in the environmental industry with national recognition and NYC being my backyard, qualifies me as an NYC environmental industry expert. With age comes wisdom, so when I look into the future of the environmental industry, what do I see? A substantial amount of environmental risk all around NYC!!! An aged city, over-regulated with agency violations and litigation, followed by a media fear factor! My proposed solution: A legitimate and active Environmental Risk Management Program!!! No Joke!!!
Today, there is an abundance of complicated NYC environmental regulations and numerous others (city, state & federal) that are constantly changing requirements for compliance! The city struggles to manage itself, is too political, and has too many litigious occupants.
Costs of environmental non-compliance can be overwhelming, costs of violations, legal counsel, court hearings, internal staff/management time, negative press, and let’s not forget about emotional costs. Even when right, you can still be wrong in NYC!
One example started in 2018 with NYCHA. The Executive Director (ED), based on staff knowledge, executed a HUD compliance document stating all was compliant. Unbeknown to the ED, her staff was lying! This caused a media frenzy, a resident uprising, plenty of litigation, enforcement actions, followed by new NYC regulations. Consequently, the mayor and city council passed a series of amendments to NYC LL1 of 2004. One amendment was directed at the DOHMH by creating a new definition, “Unsafe Lead Paint (ULP)”, which lowered the action level for the issuance of a DOHMH lead-based paint violation to 0.5mg/cm2. Even though city and federal levels for compliance remained at 1.0mg/cm2.
NYC DOHMH has already been issuing violations at this newly established Unsafe Lead Paint of 0.5 mg/cm2. Over the past two decades, many landlords responsibly decided to test their units in compliance with the 1.0mg/cm2 action level and applied for exemption status; an exemption status that many believed was received presuming HPD did not send them any notice of deficiency or otherwise revoke based on the language of the exemption application at that time.