Category Archives: State Regulation

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New York State Adopts Law Mandating Consideration Of Impacts From Climate Change In Governmental Decision Making

Climate change, or the alteration of global climate patterns due to increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, continues to generate passion among members of the electorate.  Environmental activists and politicians push for new policies specifically aimed at limiting the causes of increasing global temperature or mitigating its adverse consequences.  In the wake of … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Invalidates PUC Review of Local Natural Gas Regulation

In February 2012, Pennsylvania adopted comprehensive revisions to its Oil and Gas Act known as “Act 13.”  Among the changes was an expanded preemption of local regulation of oil and gas activities. Prior law prohibited municipalities from regulating “how” oil and gas development would proceed, but permitted zoning control over “where” development could occur. Act … Continue Reading

MassDEP Finalizes Important Revisions to Contaminated Site Cleanup Regulations

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) recently finalized a substantial overhaul of its contaminated site cleanup regulations, the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP), 310 CMR 40.0000.  These revisions significantly modify the regulatory process for reporting and remediating contaminated properties in Massachusetts. Initially promulgated in 1988, the MCP has evolved considerably in the intervening 25 years.  … Continue Reading

New York Legislature Votes To Extend Brownfield Tax Credits For Additional 15 Months

The New York legislature passed an extension of the popular New York Brownfield credits as this year’s legislative session came to a close last week.  Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders had been hoping to pass a longer extension in conjunction with significant changes to the eligibility rules for the lucrative tangible property Brownfield credit, … Continue Reading

Miami-Dade County, Florida, Proposes Comprehensive Changes To Potable Water Supply Ordinance

On May 24, 2014, Miami-Dade County announced its proposal to amend its Potable Water Supply Wellfield Protection Ordinance and associated maps for the Northwest Wellfield and the West Interim Wellfield protection areas. The County’s announcement was preceded by a May 19, 2014, technical workshop on the proposed changes, with presentations by U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) and the … Continue Reading

Koontz-Inspired State Legislation Would Expand Supreme Court’s Ruling in Permitting Context

Companion bills (H.B. 1077 and S.B. 1310) have been filed in the Florida Senate and House  that would prohibit local governments from imposing permit conditions or “development exactions” on a project that extend “beyond the direct impact of a proposed development.”  This legislation builds upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water … 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

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

Robinson Township: Pennsylvania Act 13 Zoning Preemption for Oil & Gas Invalidated

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced its decision in Robinson Township v. Pennsylvania Pub. Util. Comm’n, No. 63 MAP 2012 (Pa. Dec. 19, 2013), holding several provisions of “Act 13,” the 2012 Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act Amendments, 2012 Pa. Laws 87 (Feb. 14, 2012), codified at 58 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 2301-3504, … 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

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

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

One Step Forward, One Step Back – NY Moves Forward on Its Environmental Self-Audit Policy as EPA Looks to Retreat

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently proposed an environmental “audit incentive” policy, which is similar to the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long standing self-audit policy. In its draft policy, DEC encourages participation by waiving or reducing penalties for environmental violations that regulated entities discover through an environmental audit, and expeditiously report … Continue Reading

Carbon Claustrophobia — Significant Changes Coming to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiatives Cap and Trade Program

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in conjunction with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is currently accepting public comments on several proposed changes to the DEC’s regulations governing New York’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). DEC’s proposed changes, which are based on updates to … Continue Reading

EPA & Florida Reach Agreement on Disputed Nutrient Standards for Florida’s Waterways

On Friday, March 15, 2013, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced an Agreement in Principle with the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency on the new criteria for Florida’s waters that would limit nitrogen and phosphorus, two nutrients commonly blamed for algae blooms and other water quality problems.  The EPA Agreement in Principle is intended to resolve a lengthy and contentious dispute between EPA and environmental advocacy groups … Continue Reading

Governmental Cost Recovery Under the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act

Section 613 of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act (“SWMA”), Pa. Stat. Ann. tit. 35, § 6018.613, allows the Commonwealth or any municipality to recover the “costs of abatement” of “a public nuisance” under SWMA from a person who “causes a public nuisance” if the plaintiff government has in fact abated the nuisance.  This provision … Continue Reading

Litigation Over Groundwater Impacts of Natural Gas Wells in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has been making news recently for being friendly to natural gas development, or at least more friendly than New York.  However, examination of recent decisions suggests that the courts may be a little more plaintiff-friendly than, for example, the current administration.  I look at some litigation issues arising from natural gas development in my … Continue Reading

Natural Gas and Zoning Preemption in Pennsylvania

The Commonwealth Court, one of Pennsylvania’s two intermediate appellate courts, invalidated provisions of the Oil and Gas Act Amendments of 2012 (“Act 13″) intended to limit local regulation of natural gas development, particularly development of the Marcellus Shale.  The court issued its opinion in Robinson Township v. Public Utility Comm’n, No. 284 M.D. 2012, on … Continue Reading

Florida Businesses and Industries to Benefit From 2012 Energy Policy, Environmental & Growth Management Legislation

from Reggie L. Bouthillier, Kenneth Metcalf*, Maribel N. Nicholson-Choice, and Todd Sumner of GT Tallahassee The 2012 Florida Legislative Session focused on the redistricting process and passage of the State budget. Despite these challenging priorities, the Legislature passed several bills addressing energy policy, environmental regulation and growth management that are intended to benefit businesses and industries throughout Florida. … Continue Reading
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