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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

2016-04-22-Flint_waterJust three months after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced his intent to investigate the circumstances surrounding Flint, Michigan’s water crisis, the state filed criminal charges on Wednesday against two state environmental quality officials and a city utilities administrator for their apparent roles in the crisis. Specifically, the state claims the workers, among other things, tampered with evidence contained in reports on lead levels in city water, conspired to tamper with monitoring reports and violated the Safe Drinking Water Act. The charges filed by the state are serious and carry stiff penalties, including up to two to five years in prison. Even so, Attorney General Schuette, in announcing the charges, maintained that “[t]hese charges are only the beginning” and “there will be more to come – that I [Schuette] can guarantee you.” Continue Reading Flint Water Crisis Produces Criminal Charges Against State and Local Officials

The New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) released a new guidance document to clarify questions and concerns about asbestos in vermiculate-containing materials (July 9, 2013 Guidance Letter”).  Previously, the DOH issued a list of FAQs concerning fiber analysis and asbestos-containing materials (“ACM”); FAQ #10, which discussed vermiculite-containing materials, was subsequently updated to address, among other things, testing protocols (“June 22, 2012 Guidance letter”).  This update, however, lacked sufficient clarity and simply led to greater confusion about standards and methods that may be used to properly test for asbestos in vermiculite-containing materials.  Consequently, the DOH released the July 9, 2013 Guidance Letter to alleviate previous concerns, and it now “supersedes and replaces FAQ #10, as well as the June 22, 2012 [G]uidance [L]etter.” Continue Reading Asbestos/Vermiculite Guidance