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New York Environmental Law Blog

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 to dismiss 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.

NYSDEC Will Use Discretion in Enforcing Revamped Solid Waste Regulations

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Sometimes, administrative agencies listen when people voice their concerns about new regulations. In September 2017, the Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") completely revamped the State's solid waste regulations, in an effort to make it easier for regulated entities to understand the rules they must comply with. We covered some of the major changes to the Revised Solid Waste Regulations in a previous blog post.

New York Federal Court Holds Consent Order Fails to Resolve CERCLA Liability, Allows Cost Recovery Action Under Section 107

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Consent orders can be a useful tool to resolve liability under the federal Superfund Law (a/k/a CERCLA) (read our recent blog post on this very point). In a recent case filed in the Northern District of New York, plaintiffs, Cooper Crouse-Hinds ("CCH") and Cooper Industries ("CI"), sought reimbursement of cleanup costs against the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County for those municipalities' involvement in dumping hazardous substances at two local landfills. Cooper Crouse-Hinds, LLC v. City of Syracuse, No. 16-CV-1201, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22100 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 12, 2018). Both the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County moved to dismiss the lawsuit claiming that prior consent orders entered between CCH and CI with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") resolved plaintiffs CERCLA liability years ago and, thus, they were time-barred from seeking reimbursement from the municipalities; the court disagreed.

Environmental Organizations Challenge DEC's Statewide Permit for Industrial Facilities

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Does everyone agree that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") is properly doing its job of protecting the environment in the state? Apparently not.

What Tenants Need to Know about Indoor Air Contamination Associated with Soil Vapor Intrusion

2018 05 11 SVI Tenant Notification Blog Image_rev.jpgIn September 2008, then Governor David A. Paterson signed legislation adding a new section to the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL 27-2405) requiring property owners or owners' agents (such as management companies) to notify tenants of any test results related to indoor air contamination associated with soil vapor intrusion (SVI) that they receive. A caveat: owners only have to disclose those test results received by them from certain parties ("issuers") who are mostly private owners, including municipalities, which were required to generate the test data under a consent order or similar administrative order. The law took effect in December 2008.

The Power of a Consent Order and a Consent Decree

2018 04 18 Consent Order Consent Decree Blog Image.jpegHow valuable is a consent order or a consent decree, and what is the difference?

First, the basics: a consent order is typically an administrative agency contract with a private party, but is not filed in a court as part of a litigation. Despite not being filed in a court, it is a binding, enforceable contract, and the penalties for failing to comply with all its terms are very real. A consent decree is, on the other hand, filed in a federal or state court as the whole or partial settlement of a litigation.

Statute of Limitations Prevents Long Island Homeowners from Recovering Damages from Environmental Contamination

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What could be more frustrating than learning that your property has been damaged from contamination, but you can't recover any money because you didn't start legal action soon enough? That's what happened to 100 homeowners in a hamlet of Bay Shore who claimed injuries to their property from contamination allegedly coming from the site of a former manufactured gas plant and from the remediation work conducted by the defendant corporations.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Moving Forward After Dismissal of Lawsuit About Environmental Review

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Providing affordable housing and protecting the environment are important considerations in many New York City real estate projects that (at first blush) seem to be incompatible with one another - how can a developer balance the two?

Cuomo to DEC: Do More to Protect Long Island's Groundwater from Compost Facilities

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In many parts of the country, access to clean, drinkable water has become a privilege instead of a right. That's why protecting existing sources of potable water is a top priority for all.

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