Category Archives: Environment

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Cross-Border Renewable Energy Projects: Sustainable Development and Investor Protection

Cross-border renewable energy development is a rapidly growing share of the more than $200 billion per year renewable energy industry. Balancing the interests of investors seeking regulatory certainty with the interests of states in environmental protection is a significant source of potential conflict. In a joint publication by two committees in the ABA Section of Environment, … Continue Reading

NY Community Risk & Resiliency Act – Significant Step Forward or Much Ado About Nothing?

Written by Steven C. Russo and Robert M. Rosenthal On June 19th, the New York Legislature passed the Community Risk and Resiliency Act in both houses by wide margins. The Act would likely be submitted to the Governor in the next two months for signature.  The Act has a laudable goal, to seek to encourage … Continue Reading

Miami-Dade County Extends Period for Public Comment Regarding Proposed Amendments to the Wellfield Protection Ordinance

As we previously reported, on May 24, 2014, Miami-Dade County opened a period for receipt of public comments regarding its proposal to amend the County’s Potable Water Supply Wellfield Protection Ordinance and associated maps for the Northwest Wellfield and the West Interim Wellfield protection areas. The County has extended the comment period. The new deadline for … Continue Reading

Charities, Donated Land and Environmental Liability

This month’s column in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly addresses the contamination risk faced by charities that accept donated land.  I particularly treat the problem of charities whose very purpose calls for them to accept environmentally suspect property.  Perhaps it has been a vacant lot subject to fly dumping.  Perhaps the charity is specifically intended to locate in … Continue Reading

New 2-Year Statutory Extension for Certain Florida Environmental & Development Permits

By the adoption of CS/HB 7023, (Click Here for a copy of the pertinent section of Bill),  the Florida Legislature has again authorized a new 2-year extension of permits issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and water management districts and building permits,  including local government-issued development orders or certificates of level of service. The … Continue Reading

Communicating Basic Science in Environmental Cases

My column this month in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly takes on the challenging problem of communicating science from high school, even middle school in environmental matters.  One would think that it would be easy.  But some of these kinds of things are hard for courts, regulators, businesses, and the press: scientific induction requires hypothesis testing … Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Appeal Federal Court Order Allowing the State of Florida to Adopt Nutrient Standards For Its Waters — March 6, 2014

In a long-running controversy over nutrient standards for Florida waterways, five environmental groups filed a notice of appeal yesterday in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit challenging the order of U.S. district court Judge Hinkle.  Click here  for a copy of the notice of appeal.  Specifically, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the … Continue Reading

FTC Chops ‘Green’ Plastic Lumber Claims and Diaper Claims That Fail to ‘Pass the Smell Test’

Written by Justin J. Prochnow On October 1, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a revised version of its “Guides for the Use of Environmental Claims,” better known to many as the “Green Guides,”  which describe the types of environmental claims that the FTC may find deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act.  … Continue Reading

Claims for Common Law Waste

The recent decision in Bitler Investment Venture II v. Marathon Petroleum, No. 12-3722 (7th Cir. Jan. 27, 2014)(Posner, J.), offered an opportunity to consider claims for common law waste in this month’s Pennsylvania Law Weekly column.  Common law waste provides a claim by a lessor or a remainderman against a lessee or a life tenant … Continue Reading

New York State Issues Public Notice of Draft MS4 Permit for New York City

From Steven Russo of GT New York City and Robert Rosenthal of GT Albany. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) has issued public notice of a draft State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“SPDES”) permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (“MS4s”) owned or operated by the City of New … Continue Reading

New York Governor Proposes to Extend Brownfield Tax Credit With Major Revisions

From Steven Russo of GT New York City and Robert Rosenthal of GT Albany: The New York Governor proposed to extend the most significant tax credits associated with New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) as part of his Executive Budget.  The proposal tries to take a middle ground between the cheerleaders of the program, who contend … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment After Robinson Twp

Robinson Twp. v. Commonwealth, No. 63 MAP 2012 (Pa. Dec. 19, 2013), upended a lot of what we thought we knew about the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, Pa. Const. art. I, § 27.  My January column in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly / Legal Intelligencer addresses that aspect of the decision, one that affects much … Continue Reading

GT Air Update – Part II

By Adam Silverman. In part II of our Air Update we address the following recent developments related to the regulation of greenhouse gases: Massachusetts became the ninth—and most recent—state to adopt stricter air standards under the RGGI.  We wrote about New York’s adaptation earlier this year. European Parliament froze the number of pollution allowances in … Continue Reading

GT Air Update – Part I

By Adam Silverman Several recent developments in air regulations are likely to impact regional, national and international air pollution policy.  In part I of our Air Update we address several Clean Air Act topics: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issues two important Clean Air Act opinions, one clarifying a recent decision to uphold revisions … Continue Reading

Valuing Contaminated Property

If you know contaminated industrial property would be worth $X clean, what is the proper way to value the contamination?  Maybe it is just the “cost to cure,” but that does not capture any “stigma” that may stay with the property.  And then there is a wrinkle if the property is the subject of an agreement … Continue Reading

Construction Products and Environmental Marketing Claims

Many construction materials are marketed with claims of environmental friendliness or energy efficiency.  Many people may be familiar with the term “greenwashing,” but not everyone is familiar with the fact that the Federal Trade Commission has been regulating environmental marketing claims since the early 1990s.  More surprising may be the fact that the FTC’s regulatory … Continue Reading

NY Appellate Court Issues Important Decision for Municipal Stormwater Regulation

By Steve Russo and Adam Silverman Yesterday, the Appellate Division’s Second Department of the Supreme Court of New York issued an important decision relating to municipal stormwater control programs and the use of general permits under the Clean Water Act in Natural Resources Defense Council v. New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Nos. 2012-02913 … Continue Reading

New York City Proposes Expansion of Actions Exempt from CEQR

with Nicholas R. Williams of GT New York The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires actions that may have a significant adverse environmental impact to undergo review. The City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) contains the City of New York’s procedures for complying with SEQRA. The State statute lists certain kinds of “Type … Continue Reading

Climate Change Adaptation Update: Executive Order and Draft EPA Implementation Plans

Further to my recent column and post on this blog about the less controversial adaptation side of responding to climate change, the federal government took two actions today: President Obama issued an Executive Order on “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change” that directs executive agencies to have plans for taking adaptation and … Continue Reading

New York Issues Its Final Environmental Audit Incentive Policy

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently issued its final environmental audit policy, Commissioner Policy 59.  DEC encourages policy participation by waiving or reducing penalties for environmental violations that regulated entities discover through an environmental audit, and expeditiously report and correct.  Other incentives include avoidance of inspection priority, public recognition by DEC, … Continue Reading

Does Environmental Enforcement Against Individuals Make Sense?

As of September 8, 2013, 162 appeals had been filed in the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board.  Some are appeals by disappointed applicants for permits.  Some are third-party appeals of permits.  Some are appeals from enforcement orders.  Of those 162 appeals, 19 are appeals from enforcement orders issued to individuals.  Of those, at least some are … Continue Reading
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