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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

The New York State Public Service Commission (“PSC”) recently issued an order that will shape New York’s energy portfolio for years to come. The Clean Energy Standard (“CES”), issued and effective August 1, 2016, is a bold initiative that mandates renewable energy supply 50 percent of the State’s electricity needs by 2030. New York seeks to achieve this goal by focusing on three major areas: (1) large utility scale solar, wind and other renewables; (2) offshore wind; and (3) subsidized nuclear power. The expectation is that by 2030, New York greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 40 percent from 1990 levels. Continue Reading New York’s Clean Energy Standard and its Impact on the State’s Energy Portfolio

On June 23, 2016, we wrote about legislation that had passed both the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate that would allow people to bring a timely personal injury claim arising from claimed exposure to contaminants within three years of a site’s designation as either a Federal or New York State Superfund Site. Continue Reading Reset of New York Toxic Tort Statute of Limitations Signed into Law

CA-2016-07-19Through an interim final rule effective August 1, 2016, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is increasing the maximum daily penalties it may assess for environmental violations that occurred any time after November 2, 2015. Any violation of an environmental statute enforced by the EPA, i.e., Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, TSCA, RCRA, CERCLA and EPCRA, may now have a penalty that is up to 150 percent higher than the previous daily maximum. For example, a Class I violation of EPCRA carries a statutory maximum penalty of $25,000 under 42 U.S.C. 11045(a). Now, the maximum daily civil penalty for that violation is $53,907. Continue Reading Maximum Civil Penalties for Environmental Violations Set to Dramatically Increase

Phillips Lytle Environment Client Alert June 2016By two letters dated June 14, 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) initiated two information requests to businesses across the State to identify the use of certain perfluorinated compounds (“PFCs”). The letters were sent to chemical bulk storage facilities, petroleum bulk storage facilities, major oil storage facilities, fire departments and airports. NYSDEC added certain PFCs to New York’s list of hazardous substances by emergency regulations on January 27, 2016, and added other PFCs on April 25, 2016. Final rulemaking regulating these substances is ongoing, with the public comment period closing July 8, 2016. Continue Reading NYSDEC Requests Information About PFCs

New York State Senator Kathleen Marchione, a Republican from New York’s 43rd Senate District, introduced the “Hoosick Falls” bill ostensibly in response to her constituents’ ongoing water supply contamination concerns. This legislation, however, is not a rifle shot to address the Hoosick Falls situation. Rather, it has significant, long-term Statewide implications for many companies and potentially responsible parties (PRPs). The bill, S6824A, passed both the New York State Assembly and the Senate by wide margins, and would add Section 214-f to the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules (CPLR.). If signed into law, this will allow people to bring a timely personal injury claim arising from claimed exposure to contaminants within three years of a site’s designation as a Superfund site or within the period authorized under CPLR Section 214-c, whichever is later. Continue Reading Legislation to Reset Statute of Limitations for Toxic Exposure Claims in New York

In support of its commitment to increase the use of renewable energy resources to 50% by the year 2030, New York is creating a $5 billion Clean Energy Fund. As reported in Fortune Magazine, New York’s commitment to spend $5 billion over 10 years on infrastructure and clean energy related projects is a significant development, with the goal of leveraging an additional $29 billion in private investment. The framework for the plan, which has been in discussion for some time, was approved by the New York Public Service Commission on January 21, 2016. The fund will operate with four major components: Continue Reading New York Rolls Out $5 Billion Clean Energy Fund

In a recent blog we reported on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s unfortunate veto of legislation to extend New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). In a strongly worded editorial, The Buffalo News today encouraged the governor to act quickly to address the pending December 31, 2015, sunset of the BCP and to make sure the program continues to be a key driver of economic development in Upstate New York. It remains to be seen what changes to the BCP, if any, the governor and the legislature agree to, and the all-important timing of these actions.

In a veto message dated December 29, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed legislation passed by both houses of New York’s legislature earlier this summer that would have extended New York’s very successful Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) through March 31, 2017. By vetoing this legislation, the December 31, 2015, sunset for the Program remains in place, jeopardizing brownfield projects already underway and assuring very few, if any, new BCP projects will be entered into the Program. Continue Reading New York Brownfield Cleanup Program Extender Unexpectedly Vetoed, Leaving the Program Adrift

Following through on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s promise, the Acting New York State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, released the findings of his department’s long delayed health study of hydraulic fracturing in New York State.  According to Dr. Zucker, hydraulic fracturing poses serious concerns to public health and data that proves otherwise does not exist.  As a result, and as others have noted, Dr. Zucker concluded that he “cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York.” Continue Reading High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Banned in New York State