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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 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

New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) is among the most successful brownfield programs in the nation, driving millions of dollars of investment across the state, and in particular, upstate cities that have benefited greatly from this important economic development tool.

The BCP is due to sunset at the end of 2015.  Given the lead time that most significant brownfield projects have, both houses of the New York State Legislature recognized the chilling effect this sunset date has had, and will continue to have, on critical development projects.  Accordingly, they passed bills early this summer to extend the BCP through March 31, 2017.
Continue Reading New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program In Limbo

The City of New York has its own Voluntary Cleanup Program (“NYC VCP”). The unique program is working well, particularly for parcels that may not be the right “fit” for New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. The program delivers real benefits for brownfield redevelopment in New York City, including liability releases and financial assistance. The NYC VCP is managed by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (“OER”), which is directed by Daniel C. Walsh.
Continue Reading Opportunity for NYC Brownfield Professional Certification