Section: State treasurer; enforcement; powers
2. The Legislature finds and declares that thousands of tons of a multitude of hazardous substances, the environmental and health effects of which are largely unknown, are discharged into the environment of the State each year; that most of these hazardous substances are legally discharged under the terms of air pollution, water pollution, and hazardous waste management permits that allow discharges of up to certain stipulated amounts; and that the discharge of these hazardous substances into air and water, onto the land, and into the workplaces and neighborhoods of the State constitutes an unnecessary risk to the environment and to occupational and public health.
The Legislature further finds and declares that for the past two decades the State's major environmental regulatory efforts, to wit, the air pollution, water pollution, and hazardous waste management programs administered by the Department of Environmental Protection as directed and mandated under federal and State law, have focused on controlling or managing discharges of hazardous substances through permit systems and the installation of pollution control technologies; that the traditional system of separately regulating air pollution, water pollution, and hazardous waste management constitutes a fragmented approach to environmental protection and potentially allows pollution to be shifted from one environmental medium to another; and that while the traditional system has produced palpable improvements in the State's environmental quality, it does not adequately address the impact of the use of hazardous substances upon occupational health in pollution-generating industrial processes.
The Legislature further finds and declares that the inherent limitations of the traditional system of pollution control should be addressed by a new emphasis on pollution prevention, including the reduction of the use of hazardous substances in industrial and manufacturing processes; that a rigorous accounting of the use of hazardous substances, the generation of hazardous substances as nonproduct output, and the multimedia environmental release of hazardous substances at each step of an industrial process will identify the points at which, and the procedures by which, pollution can be prevented; that pollution prevention can be achieved through a more efficient and rational use of hazardous substances, or through the use of less hazardous substitute substances or processes less prone to produce pollution; and that a soundly planned pollution prevention program can be implemented without adversely affecting the State's economic health or the livelihood of those employed by industries that use and discharge hazardous substances.
The Legislature therefore determines that it is in the interest of the environment and public and occupational health, and in the general public interest of all residents of the State, to transform the current system of pollution control to a system of pollution prevention; that it is in the public interest to propose as a State public policy goal a significant reduction over five years after the preparation of the pollution prevention plans required by this act, calculated on the basis of 1987 amounts, in the use of hazardous substances at industrial facilities, and a 50% reduction over five years after the preparation of the pollution prevention plans required by this act, calculated on the basis of 1987 amounts, in the generation of hazardous substances as nonproduct output; that an Office of Pollution Prevention should be established in the Department of Environmental Protection, charged with implementing a comprehensive pollution prevention program and integrating the air pollution, water pollution, and hazardous waste management programs into the pollution prevention program; and that certain industries or facilities should be required to prepare and implement pollution prevention plans, pollution prevention plan summaries, and pollution prevention progress reports for the purpose of making pollution prevention a primary technique in the control of hazardous substances and their environmental and health effects.
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