Wednesday, June 17, 2020

PACNY's Environmental Conference Day Three - A NYSDOL Surprises with Fast Track Variances!

The last day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 24th annual Environmental Conference was held at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York on Friday, February 28, 2020.  The last day started similar to the first day with opening remarks from Ms. Deb Sanscrainte, of ARAMSCO and the conference chairwoman, and Timothy Thomas of Tetra Tech and President of PACNY.  These remarks included a change in the program because a snowstorm caused the originally scheduled speaker unable to attend the conference.  The beginning presentation was by Martin S. Rutstein, Ph.D., President of Ecological Consulting & Management Services, Inc. discussing talc litigation.  Followed by Brent Kynoch of the Environmental Information Association (EIA) discussing the benefits of joining the EIA.  The Regulatory Day of the conference includes the last chance of visiting the Vendor Exhibit Hall with a continental breakfast and visit the 30 vendors to get a chance to win the vendor gift cards/prizes.

Dr.Rutstein speaking about talc litigation

After the two morning presentations, and a short break in the Vendor Exhibit Hall, the New York State Department of Labor's (NYSDOL's) Panel with a question and answer session began.  The panel included  Dr. Eileen Franko, the Director; Mr. James Meacham Program Manager, Asbestos Control Bureau; Mr. Kirk Fisher, Program Manager, Licensing & Certification; and Mr. Ed Smith, Program Manager, Engineering Services Unit.  Questions and answers session was moderated by Mr. Tim Thomas of Tetra Tech Engineering.

NYSDOL Panel Discussion

The panel started with some opening remarks by Dr. Eileen Franko which included announcing her retirement in March 2020.  Making this the last year she will be on the panel.  Those of us who have gotten to know Dr. Franko through the years will miss her leadership and her willingness to listen to the industry and work with the industry to better things for all contractors and consultants.  As usual, the discussion of a new industrial code came up and it is still being worked on.  Mr. Smyth announced, to everyone's surprise, that they had launched a pilot program for certain site-specific variances (SSVs).  This pilot program is called Fast Track Variances.  These variances are common variances that are issued regularly by NYSDOL.  The purpose of this program is to speed up the review process for these routine variances and reduce the workload.  Currently, SSVs can take two to three weeks to turnaround.  Fast Track Variances can potentially be issued within the same day they are received.  There are 10 Fast Track Variances available and can be found at NYSDOL's Division of Safety and Health (DOSH) Engineering Services Unit's website.  Mr. Meacham discussed enforcement regarding Article 32 the NYS Mold Law.  NYSDOL has received 175 complaints and has issued 30 violations.  Most of the complaints are tenant-landlord complaints which do not apply to the law.

Future Environment Designs was a Gold Sponsor of PACNY's Environmental Conference

Another conference has ended and another successful year for PACNY with over 600 people attending the conference with 30 vendors exhibiting in the Vendor Exhibit hall both increases versus last year.  Though we are happy for Dr. Franco and wish her all the best, the industry will miss her.  Though she does leave us with a solid group of professionals running the various divisions that matter to the asbestos and mold industries.  Hope to see you next year!  

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