New revisions to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) have been enacted as part of the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2018 (“BUILD Act”). Key changes include extension of the Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (“BFPP”) defense to tenants, increased funding for remediation grants and new authorizations for federal and state funding through 2023. Continue Reading CERCLA Changes Bring More Funding for Cleanups and Comfort for Tenants

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

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

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

BeakerExciting and expected news announced from the White House this week: The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which provides for common-sense amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), was signed into law by President Barack Obama after bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. Continue Reading Toxic Substances Control Act Reform Passes with Bipartisan Support

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

smokestacksWe previously reported on the Obama administration’s release of the final version of the Clean Power Plan (“Plan”), a set of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations designed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric power generating plants. Under the Plan, states are responsible for developing individualized compliance policies by September 2016, with the ultimate goal of a 32% decrease from 2005 levels in carbon emissions from existing power plants by 2030. Continue Reading Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan