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Legislature approves invasive species bill

June 27, 2012

ALBANY, NY — Both New York State legislative houses have approved legislation that will ban the sale and possession of ecologically altering invasive species throughout New York. The law was sponsored by Senator Betty Little (R-C-I, Queensbury).

The legislation would require the Department of Environmental Conservation, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, to restrict the sale, purchase, possession, introduction, importation and transport of invasive species. Working in consultation with the Invasive Species Council, the state agencies would develop regulations dealing with the disposal and control of invasives, including a list of prohibited species that would be illegal to knowingly possess with the intent to sell, import, purchase or transport.

Penalties would range from a warning for a first violation to fines of not less than $250 for subsequent violations. Financial penalties would be greater for nursery growers, operators of public vessels and commercial fishing vessels.

As part of the regulatory process, the legislation directs the agencies and council to consider establishing grace periods for prohibited and regulated species so businesses can plan the management of existing stock. Public hearings are also required as the regulations are developed.