Category Archives: Environment

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The Proposed Pennsylvania Budget, New Oil and Gas Regs, and the Fear of Fracking

In early March, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf submitted his proposed budget.  The Department of Environmental Protection issued a new iteration of proposed revisions to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Regulations that has since appeared in the April 4 Pennsylvania Bulletin, 45 Pa. Bull. 1615.  Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley reportedly stated the Administration’s support for the Delaware River … Continue Reading

2014 Environmental Cases in the Pennsylvania Appellate Courts

My column this month in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly summarizes most (maybe all) of the decisions of the Pennsylvania appellate courts with an environmental dimension in 2014.  Read A Review of 2014 Environmental Cases in Pa.’s Appellate Courts, 38 Pa. L. Weekly 28 (Jan. 13, 2015), by clicking here.  If I have left something out, … Continue Reading

A New Pennsylvania Environmental Rights Amendment Opinion . . . In Dissent

In Hess v. Pa. Pub. Util. Comm’n, No. 1370 C.D. 2013 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Dec. 22, 2014), the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court en banc considered a petition for review of an order of the Public Utility Commission granting approvals for a transmission line crossing the Susquehanna River.  The majority opinion mostly addresses reliability and what constitutes public … Continue Reading

Environmental Policy as Part of Integrated Overall Policy

Environmental quality is important, but it is just one set of the objectives of public policy.  Is it possible to think about the incentives set by environmental regulatory decisions and the outcomes they induce as part of a more integrated policy? Perhaps not. Consider Michigan v. EPA, No. 14-46 (U.S. Nov. 25, 2014).  Last month, … Continue Reading

Environmental Regulation and Investor State Dispute Settlement Clauses – OceanaGold and El Salvador

Investor state dispute settlement (“ISDS”) clauses in bilateral and regional investment treaties enable foreign corporations to sue a host country regarding regulations, policies, or court decisions. ISDS clauses were originally included in trade agreements and investment treaties in order to protect businesses that invest in foreign jurisdictions where legal and political systems are not robust. … Continue Reading

CERCLA Preemption of State Law Contribution Claims under Pennsylvania HSCA

The federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) allows private parties that incur cleanup costs to reallocate those costs to others through a cost recovery claim under section 107(a)(1-4)(B) or a contribution claim under section 113(f)(1) or (3)(B).  So do some state statutes and state common law.  There can only be one allocation … Continue Reading

US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change

from the GT Climate Change Group You may have read in the press that President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly announced an agreement on greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and other climate change measures.  The U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change and an accompanying fact sheet have been released by the White House.  This perhaps breaks the rhetorical logjam of discomfort among … Continue Reading

2014 Voters Address State, Local Infrastructure Funding Proposals

Written by Robert S. Brams, Alais L. M. Griffin‡, Jennifer R. McEwan˘, Jamey L. Tesler and David Veator. On Nov. 4, 2014, voters across the country addressed a series of state and local infrastructure funding proposals that will have substantial ramifications for transportation and infrastructure finance in many major states. As these results will impact the … Continue Reading

Thinking About Natural Resource Damages

My column this month in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly considers natural resource damages and their measurement.  NRDs are available under a number of federal programs.  To my knowledge, however, Pennsylvania state trustees have only sought to recover NRDs twice. We have to think about whether that might change.  The Supreme Court’s plurality opinion in Robinson … Continue Reading

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
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