"Sustainability" and "development" do not often go to the dance together, but that may be changing. Today's real estate investors are embracing their interconnection, and encouraging environmental social governance (ESG) within the industry. With the rise in environmental consciousness that has accompanied global climate change, sustainability reporting has become an increasingly important tool for real estate investors who wish to engage in socially responsible investing.
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."
Historically a proud leader in environmental protection, New York State is poised to claim a new reason for that title: New York has emerged a leader in the field of renewable energy. According to the Energy Information Administration, New York now ranks fourth in the United States for renewable energy generation, and fifth in renewable energy capacity.
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.
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.
In environmental law, things aren't always what they seem at first blush. Hence, when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 1050 (2014) in June, both industry and EPA claimed victory. Given that the Court struck down EPA's interpretation of its authority under two specific provisions of the Clean Air Act, how could EPA claim a win?