Do you own or operate a facility in New York that discharges stormwater? If so, be aware that as of October 1, 2017, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a new Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) scheme for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity (GP-0-17-004). This new MSGP will be in effect for the next 5 years. Requirements under the permit regulations include monitoring, recording, reporting, and compliance responsibilities for stormwater discharges from covered facilities.
The U.S. Federal Government and the State of New York jointly announced on May 11, 2015 a $12 million settlement with Tonawanda Coke Corporation for a litany of alleged environmental violations at TCC's western New York coke manufacturing facility.
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.
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.
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).
The scales of justice are a ubiquitous symbol of equality and fairness under the law that date back to ancient times. One of the most common tools lawyers use to pursue the ideal of fairness and equality is the doctrine of equitable estoppel. Equitable estoppel works to preserve fairness by preventing bad actors from benefitting from their malfeasance. For example, if you knowingly misrepresent certain facts to the opposing attorney in a negotiation, and that attorney relies on that misrepresentation to enter into a harmful deal, she could later void the deal using the doctrine of equitable estoppel.
Could fracking in North Dakota's Bakken shale formation have a direct impact on New York State? Yes, but the impact isn't limited to prices at the gas pump or home energy heating bills. Instead, the fracking operations are leading to a surge in freight trains hauling crude oil along the state's rail lines to a terminal at the port of Albany, New York. Shale formations such as the Bakken produce crude oil along with natural gas during fracking operations, and some claim that Bakken crude may "more dangerous to ship by rail than crude from other areas."
Everyone's heard of the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for," but Sunoco, Inc. might be ready to coin a new phase, "Be careful what you warrant."
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.
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.