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Brownfields Cleanup Archives

Two Decades Later, New York Proposes First Major Amendments to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)

On January 17, 2017, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released proposed amendments to SEQRA - the department's first major revisions to such regulations in more than two decades. The proposed amendments follow recent efforts by the DEC to modernize SEQRA and are intended to streamline the process by, among other things, new environmental assessment forms along with the creation of workbooks and a spatial data platform on DEC's website (EAF Mapper). According to the DEC, the EAF Mapper "enables users in performing environmental assessments to access the same geographic information relied on by DEC staff.expanding the list of Type II actions that are not subject to SEQRA review."

DEC Did Not Act Outside of Its Authority in Promulgating Regulations that Required Cleanup of Contaminated Properties to "Pre-Disposal Conditions" under the State Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Act

The Court of Appeals of New York recently held that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") did not exceed its authority or act contrary to state law in enacting certain regulations with respect to remedial programs implemented to clean inactive hazardous waste disposal sites. 

EPA Issues Interim Guidelines for Urban Agriculture on Brownfield Sites

Urban agriculture is exploding in cities - large and small - throughout the nation. In many cities, local land use laws and zoning ordinances are being amended or drafted to support this new-found passion. But with precious "green" space in cities (and rooftops in limited supply), many urban farmers may be forced to turn to contaminated spaces, i.e., brownfields, for their farming needs. But can these farmers ensure that these brownfield spaces are clean enough; how clean should soil be to be clean for farming? 

DEC Reports Increase in Brownfields Applications and Approvals; NYS Bar's Efforts to Improve the Program Overall

The DEC reported that it received 46 Brownfields Cleanup Program ("BCP") applications during 2010-2011, an increase of 15% from the previous year. DEC approved 38 of those applications, up from 26 from the year before. This is good news both for developers and property owners, as well as for our communities and the environment. 

Update on Brownfields Program Eligibility: The First Department Upholds the Supreme Court's Rejection of DEC's Use of a "But-For" Test

Late last year, the First Department, in the Matter of East River Realty v. N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2009 NY Slip Op 9381, 68 A.D.3d 564 (N.Y. App. Div., 1st Dep't Dec. 17, 2009), upheld a Supreme Court ruling that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("NYSDEC") cannot use a "but-for" test in determining eligibility into its Brownfield program. We reported on the Supreme Court's decision in a prior post, and refer you there for a recitation of the relevant facts and reasoning of the Supreme Court. 

The First Department Upholds the Supreme Court's Rejection of DEC's Use of a "But-For" Test in Determining Eligibility under the Brownfield Program

The First Department, in the Matter of East River Realty v. N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2009 NY Slip Op 9381 (N.Y. App. Div., 1st Dep't 2009), recently upheld a Supreme Court ruling that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("NYSDEC") cannot use a "but-for" test in determining eligibility into its Brownfield program. We reported on the Supreme Court's decision in a prior post, and refer you there for a recitation of the relevant facts and reasoning of the Supreme Court. 

New York's Highest Court Overturns a DEC Brownfield Cleanup Program Eligibility Determination - Part II.

Continuing with our prior post, this post discusses the Court of Appeal's ruling in In the Matter of Lighthouse Pointe Property Associates, LLC v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2010 NY Slip Op 1377, 2010 N.Y. LEXIS 35, (Ct. App. Feb. 18, 2010), and the implications of that decision. 

New York's Highest Court Overturns a DEC Brownfield Cleanup Program Eligibility Determination - Part I.

On February 18, 2010, New York's highest court overturned the DEC's denial of an upstate New York development's application for admission into the State's Brownfield Cleanup Program ("BCP" or "Program"). In the Matter of Lighthouse Pointe Property Associates, LLC v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2010 NY Slip Op 1377, 2010 N.Y. LEXIS 35, (Ct. App. Feb. 18, 2010). As the first Brownfield Cleanup Act ("BCA") case to reach the Court of Appeals, this decision may have implications for how New York State courts interpret the BCA, how DEC makes eligibility determinations, and therefore for an easier entry into the Program. 

New York State Supreme Court holds DEC's use of "But-For" Test is Contrary to the Brownfields Cleanup Program Statute

The latest installment in the Brownfields Cleanup Program (BCP) eligibility saga involves a recent October 2008 case from the Supreme Court in New York County, East River Realty Company, LLC v. NYSDEC, __ N.Y.S.2d ___, 2008 WL 4694535 (Sup.Ct. New York Cty. 2008), holding that DEC cannot use a "but-for" test when determining whether environmental contamination at a site "complicates" the redevelopment of that site.

Recent Decisions from the New York State Supreme Court on Brownfield Cleanup Program Eligibility- Part II

In following our previous post concerning judicial review of DEC decisions to deny proposed developments entry into the Brownfield Cleanup Program, we discuss the New York County Supreme Court decision of HLP Properties, LLC v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, No. 08-115969, __ N.Y.S.2d __, 2008 N.Y. Slip Op. 28337 (N.Y.Sup.Ct. New York Cty. Sept. 12, 2008).

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