The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) recently issued an enforcement discretion letter stating that it will exercise its enforcement authority with respect to certain provisions of the recently revised Solid Waste Management Program. As we previously reported, the final version of the comprehensive revisions, codified in Title 6 of New York Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations (“6 NYCRR”), took effect in November 2017. Continue Reading DEC to Exercise Enforcement Discretion over Problematic Part 360 Provisions

The 2015 amendments to New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) made a number of substantive changes to the program, including changes to the refundable tax credits, their amount and how they are calculated. The 2015 amendments create “Generation 3” of the BCP. As it relates to sites that entered the BCP before June 23, 2008 (Generation 1 sites), the 2015 amendments required issuance of the site’s Certificate of Completion (COC) by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) on or before December 31, 2017; failure to obtain a COC by that date would allow NYSDEC to amend the Brownfield Cleanup Agreement (BCA) and migrate the site to the Generation 3 program. Among the differences between Generation 1 and Generation 3 programs are significantly different (and in many instances lower) Tangible Property tax credits. Continue Reading Old Brownfields Become “New” BCP Sites

Released in November, the Federal Government’s Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) concluded that “it is extremely likely that human activities… are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” Unsettling climate-related weather events have become increasingly common over the last few years, and according to the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), these trends are expected to continue in the coming decades. Thousands of studies have been conducted around the world that document a wide array of changes in the environment, and conclusions reached in the CSSR are based on extensive evidence. This report directly contradicts the Trump administration’s stance on the issue, as the recently released National Security Strategy did not include climate change as a major threat to the U.S. Continue Reading A Look at the CSSR and What to Expect in 2018

On Tuesday, October 10, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would effectively repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP or “rule”). The CPP focused on reducing carbon emissions from electric-generating power plants to combat global warming. As we previously reported, the Supreme Court granted an unprecedented stay of the rule in early 2016 after several challenges by states and industry groups. Interestingly, as Oklahoma Attorney General, Administrator Pruitt was one of 27 attorney generals to challenge the rule. Continue Reading EPA Announces Repeal of Clean Power Plan; New York AG Will Sue

The much-anticipated final version of the comprehensive revisions to New York’s Solid Waste Management Program was released on September 20, 2017. Initially proposed in early 2016 after two rounds of public comments, multiple hearings, and a second round of revisions issued over the summer, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“NYSDEC’s”) new rules are set to take effect on November 4, 2017. Besides expected changes for solid waste landfills and waste transporters, noteworthy changes include stricter Continue Reading A 360 for NY’s Part 360 Regulations: Overhauled Solid Waste Program to Take Effect November 2017

Despite condoning a 34 percent cut to his agency’s funding for fiscal year 2018, U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt this week announced a seemingly ambitious plan to expedite the federal Superfund process to address the roughly 1,300 sites listed on the National Priorities List. Characterizing these sites as “languishing,” Pruitt promised that the “days of talking are over,” and that EPA would take immediate action to accelerate cleanup efforts nationwide. Continue Reading EPA Administrator Takes Aim at Aging Superfund Sites

ExcavatingmachineA preview of at least some of the proposed revisions to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“NYSDEC”) regulations for the Brownfield Cleanup Program (“BCP”) (6 N.Y.C.R.R. Part 375) was revealed in May 2017, with official release anticipated later this year. Key changes are expected to include new program and tax credit eligibility requirements as well as clarifications to aspects of program implementation, all in an effort to provide more consistency across remedial programs and to generally update the BCP, now over a decade old. Continue Reading NYSDEC Set to Propose Revisions to the Brownfield Cleanup Program: A Preview of Changes

Four years after beginning the process, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) issued its proposed amendments to the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) regulations (“SEQRA Regulations”). According to NYSDEC, the “principal purpose of the amendments is to streamline the SEQR[A] process without sacrificing meaningful environmental review.” Continue Reading Significant Changes Proposed for NYSDEC’s SEQRA Regulations

Lightbulb-evolutionConsiders Full-scale Regulation, Tariffs and Voiding Existing Contracts

On December 2, 2016, the New York Public Service Commission issued a Notice of Evidentiary and Collaborative Tracks and Deadline for Initial Testimony and Exhibits, which initiates a new round in the agency’s regulatory investigation of New York’s retail energy markets. The proceeding will examine measures that may be taken to ensure customers are receiving “valuable services and paying just and reasonable rates for commodity and other services” from Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Continue Reading New York PSC Opens Evidentiary Hearing on ESCO Markets

LSE Obligation Deadlines ApproachEnergySourcesing

In August 2016, the Public Service Commission (“Commission”) issued the Clean Energy Standard Order to set the framework for accomplishing two goals: achieving 50 percent renewable generation by 2030 and preserving the economic viability of three zero-emissions nuclear power plants as a bridge to the clean energy future. To meet the first goal, the Commission directed each Load Serving Entity (“LSE”) to purchase Renewable Energy Credits (“RECs”) from new renewable sources built after January 1, 2015. LSE’s are required to meet their obligations in one of three ways: (1) by purchasing RECs from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”), (2) purchasing RECs from other eligible sources, or (3) making Alternative Compliance Payments (“ACPs”) to NYSERDA. Continue Reading New York Public Service Commission Clarifies REC and ZEC Obligations