In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New York City Council passed a flurry of laws designed to increase the resiliency of the City during future storm events. One of these laws, Local Law 143, requires operators of facilities that store hazardous substances to file additional information with the City under the Community Right to Know Program. Local Law 143, together with related amendments to the New York City Administrative Code, became effective March 30, 2014 and may change what your facility needs to report for 2015 reporting year. Will your facility be ready to comply with the new requirements?
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.
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.
There are perhaps few other sights so closely associated with the summer scene at Coney Island than the wooden boardwalk. Predating even the venerable Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster, the boardwalk has been the main thoroughfare along which have strolled generations of New Yorkers and tourists alike, out for a game of ski-ball, some ice cream, or simply to enjoy the ocean views.
During the summer of 2012, the DEC proposed its first substantive amendments to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) regulations since 1996. The DEC has explained that the amendments are meant to streamline the review process "without sacrificing meaningful review," but the potential impact of the proposed amendments appears to be somewhat mixed. The proposed amendments center most notably on the "scoping" process, the classification of certain types of projects, and the timeline of the SEQRA process.
On July 26, 2012 the Appellate Division, Third Department affirmed the dismissal of a challenge to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's recently amended endangered species regulations. The regulations, contained in 6 NYCRR Part 182, included a requirement for a party contemplating development to obtain a DEC permit if that activity is likely to cause a "taking" or even an "incidental taking" of a species that is classified as threatened or endangered under New York State or Federal law.
Fracking proponents recently succeeded in overturning Local Law 11-006 the city's ban on fracking, but this ruling is unlikely to drastically alter the landscape for municipal fracking regulation in New York outside of Binghamton.
Previously in our "Fracking NY" Blog Series, we summarized the two recent New York Supreme Court cases - Anschutz Exploration Corp. v. Town of Dryden, 940 N.Y.S.2d 458 (Sup. Ct. Tompkins Co. Feb. 21, 2012) and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1420 (Sup. Ct. Otsego Co. Feb. 24, 2012), which both upheld local municipalities' authority to ban oil and gas operations (as a round-about way of banning the controversial high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," operations specifically) - as being not preempted by the State Oil and Gas Act ("OGSML"). To read about those cases, please click here and here. As we expected, both of those cases were appealed to the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department.
On May 1, 2012, the New York City Council unanimously approved changes to the New York City Zoning Resolution that will encourage green construction for new buildings and green retrofits for existing buildings, among other environmentally-sound innovations. These "Zone Green" amendments are complementary to Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC program, the goal of which is to make the City "greener and greater."
So far in the Periconi, LLC "Fracking NY Blog Series," we've outlined state, interstate, and federal regulation of high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"). We now turn to yet another layer of potential regulation of fracking in New York State: local zoning ordinances. Two towns - Dryden and Middlefield - which have enacted zoning ordinances that ban fracking within their borders have had those zoning ordinances challenged by industry and/or landowners. In the past week, both of these cases were decided in favor of upholding the bans. This blog post will cover the Town of Dryden case. (Click here for the Town of Middlefieldcase.)