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General Laws

Section 8. For the purpose of the administration and enforcement of this chapter and for the protection of public health, safety, or welfare, or the environment, authorized personnel, agents and contractors of the department may enter any site, any vessel, or any location to be investigated as a possible site at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, to investigate, sample and inspect any records, conditions, equipment, practice or property. Where necessary to ascertain facts relevant to, or not available at, such location, site or vessel where oil or hazardous material is or might be located, any person shall, upon request of any officer, employee or duly authorized representative of the department, furnish information relating to said oil or hazardous material and shall permit said officers, employees or authorized representatives to have access to, and to copy, all records relating to said oil or hazardous materials. In the event that the department reasonably determines as a result of such investigation, sampling or inspection that there has been a release or that there is a threat of release of oil or hazardous material from or at such location, site or vessel, the department and its authorized personnel, agents, representatives or contractors may enter such location, site or vessel and areas proximate thereto and undertake such actions pursuant to section four and the Massachusetts Contingency Plan relative to the assessment, containment and removal of oil or hazardous material as it reasonably deems necessary. The authorized agents or contractors of a person who is, or who is potentially, a person described in paragraph (a) of section five, may, with the approval or on the order of the department, and subject to any terms, conditions and requirements that the department may impose on such approval or order, enter any site, any vessel, or any location to be investigated as a possible site not owned or operated by him for the purposes of performing response actions in accordance with the Massachusetts Contingency Plan and an order or approval of the department.

In the event that it has reason to believe that an owner or operator of a site or vessel, a fiduciary, a city or town, a redevelopment authority, a redevelopment agency, a community development corporation, an economic development and industrial corporation, an eligible person or secured lender that has title to or possession of a site or vessel, an eligible tenant that acquires occupancy or possession of a site or a portion thereof, or a person asserting downgradient property status pursuant to section 5D has made fraudulent representations to the department or has destroyed or concealed evidence relating to a release or threat of release or to the assessment, containment, or removal of a release or threat of release, the department may seize any records, equipment, property, or other evidence it deems necessary. During the course of any assessment, containment, and removal actions, the department may restrict and deny entry to the site or vessel and proximate property to protect the public health, safety, welfare and the environment and to provide for the efficient, expeditious and safe conduct of such actions; such restriction and denial shall not preclude access by an owner or operator of such site or vessel, fiduciary, city or town, redevelopment authority, redevelopment agency, community development corporation, economic development and industrial corporation, eligible person or secured lender that has title to or possession of such site or vessel, eligible tenant that acquires occupancy or possession of a site or a portion thereof, or person asserting downgradient property status pursuant to section 5D that acquires occupancy or possession of a site or a portion thereof; provided, however, that such owner, operator, fiduciary, city or town, redevelopment authority, redevelopment agency, community development corporation, economic development and industrial corporation, eligible person, secured lender, eligible tenant or person asserting downgradient property status pursuant to section 5D complies with all safety and operational protocols and requirements imposed by and to the satisfaction of the department; and provided, further, that such owner, operator, city or town, fiduciary, redevelopment authority, redevelopment agency, community development corporation, economic development and industrial corporation, eligible person, eligible tenant, secured lender or person asserting downgradient property status pursuant to said section 5D does not interfere with the efficient, expeditious and safe conduct of the department’s assessment, containment and removal actions.

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