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Land Use Law 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 Issues New York State's Official Rationale for Fracking Ban

DEC has issued its long-awaited environmental impact study for high volume horizontal fracturing, or fracking, in New York State. This document contains the state's official findings on the environmental and human health impacts of fracking, namely, that too much uncertainty surrounds the impacts of the process to proceed with issuing permits for fracking.

New State Legislation Requires Increased Climate Resilience for New York Infrastructure

As in other areas of environmental policy, New York State is a leader in grappling with global climate change. Since 2009, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has had a policy in place that requires it to consider energy use and greenhouse gas emissions when it prepares or reviews an Environmental Impact Statement under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

New York's Highest Court to Weigh in on Who Bears the Cost of Regulatory Inaction on Fracking

Fresh off its hotly anticipated August 2014 decision upholding the right of municipalities to zone oil and gas extraction operations out of their towns, the New York State Court of Appeals is set to weigh in on another oil and gas extraction issue. This latest matter arrived at the Court of Appeals through a somewhat unusual route, but promises to decide whether landowning lessors or industry lessees bear the cost of state level regulatory inaction on high volume hydraulic fracturing of shale with horizontal drilling (also known as fracking). 

Yet Another Legal Challenge to the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station Fails

A marine transfer station operated on the East River at 91st Street for nearly six decades, temporarily storing municipal waste along the East River before loading it onto barges for disposal outside of Manhattan. But in 2004, the New York City announced plans to build a newer, larger MTS on the site as part of a new City-wide Solid Waste Management Plan. The City wanted to move even farther away from its reliance on expensive and environmentally unfriendly truck-based disposal methods, but the proposal for East 91st Street quickly became embroiled in years of litigation. 

Local Fracking Bans Upheld in Dryden and Middlefield Cases

Proponents and opponents of hydraulic fracturing alike have been waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the Wallach v. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield cases. The wait is over - in late June, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the power of local governments to adopt zoning ordinances which restrict or ban oil and gas operations within their borders. 

New Rules Governing Hazardous Waste Storage in New York City are Coming Into Effect: Will Your Facility be Ready?

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New York City Council passed a flurry of laws designed to increase the resiliency of the City during future storm events. One of these laws, Local Law 143, requires operators of facilities that store hazardous substances to file additional information with the City under the Community Right to Know Program. Local Law 143, together with related amendments to the New York City Administrative Code, became effective March 30, 2014 and may change what your facility needs to report for 2015 reporting year. Will your facility be ready to comply with the new requirements? 

New York's Highest Court to Weigh in on Local Fracking Bans in Closely-Watched Dryden and Middlefield Cases

In a highly unusual move, the New York Court of Appeals has decided to hear an appeal despite an intermediate appeals court's unanimous ruling. It was no surprise that Norse Energy Corp. USA appealed that lower court ruling upholding the right of New York municipalities to regulate fracking through local land use laws. But court watchers in general, as well as fracking followers, were surprised by the high court's ruling, are looking forward to that court's ruling in Matter of Norse Energy Corp. USA, v. Town of Dryden et al., APL-2013-00245, that will offer the most authoritative state-level ruling possible on the fate of fracking in New York State. 

New York's Highest Court to Weigh in on Local Fracking Bans in Closely-Watched Dryden and Middlefield Cases

In a highly unusual move, the New York Court of Appeals has decided to hear an appeal despite an intermediate appeals court's unanimous ruling. It was no surprise that Norse Energy Corp. USA appealed that lower court ruling upholding the right of New York municipalities to regulate fracking through local land use laws. But court watchers in general, as well as fracking followers, were surprised by the high court's ruling, are looking forward to that court's ruling in Matter of Norse Energy Corp. USA, v. Town of Dryden et al., APL-2013-00245, that will offer the most authoritative state-level ruling possible on the fate of fracking in New York State. 

Appellate Division Upholds Right of New York Municipalities to Regulate Fracking through Zoning Ordinances

Municipalities in New York have received the green light to regulate fracking - even to the point of banning it - through local zoning ordinances. It's a second consecutive victory for municipalities in the New York courts, and an affirmation of New York's long history of vesting decision making powers in local governments through Home Rule. 

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