In New York, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is a state agency that is designed to protect and enhance the environment. The DEC conserves, improves, and protects New York’s natural resources and environment. It also prevents, abates, and controls water, land, and air pollution in order to enhance the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being. The DEC’s goal is to achieve environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity, and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.
The DEC is headed by a commissioner (“Commissioner”), who is assisted by executive managers. The DEC has 17 divisions and offices and is further organized into bureaus to fulfill the functions and regulations established by NY CLS ECL § 3-0103. The Commissioner from time to time creates, abolishes, transfers, and consolidates divisions, bureaus, field offices, and other units within the department, including those transferred to the department by chapter 140 of the laws of 1970, as s/he may determine necessary for the efficient operation of the DEC[i].
The DEC enters into contracts for commodities and services that are needed to fulfill its mission. The DEC also enters into contracts to provide State and local assistance funding to eligible recipients. All DEC procurements are conducted in accordance with State laws and procurement guidelines
The DEC is charged with the task of protecting the health and welfare of all citizens of New York. The following are the 12 divisions established under the DEC:
The Division of Air Resources -It strives to improve and maintain the air quality throughout the state.
The Division of Environmental Permits- It manages a system of permits known as the UPA permits. These permits, under the Uniform Procedures Act or UPA, protect New York’s air, water, mineral, and biological resources.
The Division of Environmental Remediatiation – It highlights accomplishments under those remedial programs and the spill response program, and progress made in pollution prevention under the bulk storage programs.
The Division of Lands and Forests- It manages public lands in New York State and provides leadership in forestry and forest management. The DEC cares for about four million acres of state owned land or 13 percent of the land area of New York State.
The Division of Forest Protection- It is composed of 134 uniformed Forest Rangers, including Lieutenants, Captains and Directors, stationed at locations across the State with the greatest numbers located in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. Forest Rangers play an important role in a variety of program areas within the DEC and are responsible for the preservation, protection, enhancement of the state’s forest resources, and the safety and well-being of those who use these resources.
The Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources -It conserves and enhances New York’s abundant and diverse populations of freshwater fishes, wildlife, and marine resources.
The Division of Mineral Resources – It is responsible for ensuring the environmentally sound and economic development of New York’s non-renewable energy and mineral resources for the benefit of current and future generations.
The Division of Operation- It provides technical services, facilities management, and maintenance of physical assets to insure effective and efficient operation of the department and safe public use of DEC lands and facilities.
The Division of Public Affairs and Education – It communicates with the public, promotes citizen participation, trains teachers and informs students, operates four environmental education centers and four summer environmental camps for youngsters, publishes print materials, produces broadcast and audio-visual communications, and develops and manages the DEC’s web site.
The Division of Law Enforcement- It is within the Office of Public Protection. Its mission is to protect the environment, natural resources, and people of the State of New York through law enforcement, education, and public outreach.
The Division of water -It conducts a wide variety of programs to protect and conserve New York’s waters.
The Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste Materials -It maintains control of hazardous waste from generation through handling and shipping to disposal. It also regulates the application of registered pesticides by certified applicators.
[i] NY CLS ECL § 3-0103.