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NY Environmental Statutes Archives

County Water Authority has Standing to Sue for Groundwater Contamination, but Timeliness is Governed by New York's Three Year Statute of Limitations

Fixed contaminant standards need not be reached, much less exceeded, in order to cause an injury that courts can recognize. An intermediate appeals court in New York has ruled that the Suffolk County Water Authority may sue chemical companies for groundwater contamination even where the contamination does not exceed an EPA drinking water standard known as a Maximum Contaminant Level. However, this may be a pyrrhic victory, as that same court also ruled that many of the SCWA's claims were too late under New York's three-year statute of limitations for injuries from latent effects of exposure to harmful substances. 

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. 

Key Limits Imposed on State Authority to Order RCRA Corrective Action Under a Treatment, Storage or Disposal Facility Permit

Can a party who is not the holder of a certain environmental permit be required to perform the obligations set out in that permit? The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation thought so, and argued as much in the case of a property owner who had purchased land where a hazardous waste storage facility had operated years earlier. The purchaser, Thompson Corners, LLC, had never held a permit to operate the facility, which had closed years before the purchase, and was never required to obtain one. 

A.G. Scheiderman and Assemblyman Sweeney Announce Legislation to Curb Pint Sized Pollutant that Poses Big Problem for New York

Perhaps you've heard of the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," a "plastic soup" of floating waste in the Pacific purportedly twice the size of the United States, but did you know that similar plastic pollution has been documented throughout the Great Lakes? Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney have recognized the threat that this pollution poses to human health, and have recently announced legislation that could speed significant changes in the plastics industry and stop the pollution at its source-your bathroom sink.Unlike in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the culprit in the Great Lakes is not necessarily dumping, but rather the ubiquitous plastic abrasives found in hundreds of common personal care products. Known as "microbeads," these tiny plastic particles are found in everything from cosmetics to toothpaste. They get washed down the drain in your bathroom sink, and float untreated through sewage treatment plants into lakes and streams. Once in the environment, they can accumulate and concentrate PCBs and other persistent toxic chemicals that are present in New York's waters as a legacy of the state's industrial past. 

DEC Announces New Environmental Self-Audit Policy With Incentives For Participating Businesses

Have you ever wondered what you can do to reduce fines for environmental violations that you suspect you may have, but you live in fear of an environmental enforcement action that hammers you for it?

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. 

Extension of New York State Fracking Moratorium Passes State Assembly, But its Ultimate Fate is Unclear

On March 7, 2013, the New York State Assembly passed legislation to extend the moratorium in place on high pressure horizontal hydraulic fracturing - hydrofracking or fracking - of shale that has been in place since 2008. Though the bill, Assembly Bill 5424-A, passed the Assembly by a wide margin of 95 to 40, the legislation must still be approved by the State Senate and signed by Governor Cuomo before taking effect. It is unclear if the Senate, which is controlled through a power sharing agreement among Republicans, Democrats and the Independent Democratic Caucus, will act on the bill. 

Deadline for Statewide Fracking Regulations Extended

On November 29, 2012, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation missed its deadline under state law to finalize regulations for hydrofracking in New York. However, shortly before the deadline, it filed a Notice of Continuation with the Department of State to secure a 90 day extension for the rulemaking process. 

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