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New York Environmental Law Blog

Animal Feeding Operations to Face Updated Stormwater Permitting Requirements


When it comes to stormwater discharges from agricultural operations, every so often New York State (NYS) has to ask: where's the beef?

As a result of that inquiry and after careful review of existing guidelines, the New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (the "DEC") recently decided to publicly notice a draft of the new State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Companies affected by the new permit had the chance to voice their concerns or support of the proposed new General Permit, GP-0-19-001, through October 5, 2018.

U.S. Climate Alliance 2018 Initiatives


President Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement back in 2017, but that doesn't mean that individual states are waiting on climate action. This past June marked the first anniversary of the U.S. Climate Alliance, and we are seeing our climate leaders take on new initiatives to ensure a clean energy future for the United States.

What's the Big Deal with PFAs?


DEC Finalizes Major Changes to State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Regulations

DEC Finalizes SEQR updates

What's a New York developer to do about the seemingly interminable environmental review of proposed projects and the costs these reviews add to affected projects?

Hope that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) hears your prayers. And it has, for some of you.

New York & Connecticut to EPA: Curb Smog Pollution from Other States ASAP

EPA to act on Smog Blog ImageWhen the federal government's failure to regulate air pollution on time (as required by Congress) leads to environmental exposure of a state's residents, what remedies are there to protect the populace? Answer: the affected states can sue. That's exactly what happened when New York and Connecticut sued the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently.

Earlier this summer, the EPA was ordered by a federal district judge who is demanding that the feds create final plans to regulate smog pollution by early December 2018. Specifically, the district court is requiring the EPA to act to control smog pollution that continues to blow into New York and Connecticut from upwind states like Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

DEC Proposes Stormwater Permitting Rule for Wineries, Breweries, and Hard Cideries in New York

2018 08 29 SPDES Permit for Wineries Blog Image.jpgThe New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (the "DEC" or "Department") is brewing up new stormwater regulations that will directly affect licensed wineries, breweries, and hard cideries in New York State.

The DEC's proposal requires issuance of a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("SPDES") General Permit that will cover facility wastewater discharges of such facilities to groundwater. Process wastewater generated through production of wine, beer, and hard cider is classified as an "industrial waste" that needs to be monitored and treated appropriately before the water discharges into ground water of the state. The DEC determined that a general permit with uniform standards for management of the wastewater would be appropriate and useful for that regulated industry.

New York Supreme Court Reverses Lead Agencies in SEQRA Case, Determined They Arbitrarily Misclassified Project That Will Disturb More Than 150 Acres of Land

2018 08 08 SEQRA Reversal Case Blog Image.jpg

"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck." This simple idiom can be helpful in even the most complex circumstances. In a recent CPLR Article 78 case challenging a State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) determination out of Wayne County, the Power Authority of the State of New York and the New York State Canal Corporation (collectively, the "State Agencies") should have considered it.

Tenant Liability Exemption under CERCLA Broadens in 2018 Congressional Appropriations Law

2018 08 01 BFPP Expansion Tenant Blog Image (JR1).jpg

The original goal of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) was to clean up highly contaminated dump sites. Its provisions weren't meant to deal originally with your everyday contaminated parcel that is the subject of most commercial property transactions. To address your everyday transactions, Congress passed brownfields amendments in 2002, and that's where the changes in law we discuss here most often apply.

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Onondaga Lake Contamination Suit Citing Federal Preemption

2018 07 11 Honeywell CERCLA Preemption Blog Image (JR).jpgEven the best factual cases are no match for the principle of federal preemption, as residents of Camillus, New York learned the hard way.

On May 25, 2018, the Second Circuit affirmed the Northern District of New York's judgment dismissing the lawsuit filed by Camillus residents and property owners against Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell); that suit was related to alleged exposures to toxic chemicals from a government-mandated cleanup of Onondaga Lake.

Soil Cleanup Tracks Under NYS Brownfield Cleanup Program - Know the Difference

2018 06 21 Soil Cleanup Track Blog Image2(JR).jpgHow should you determine the extent of soil cleanup at a proposed brownfield site? For applicants of the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), that decision ultimately depends on several factors, including funds available for site remediation and the intended post-cleanup use of the property.

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