Author: Matthew J. Sinkman

New Enforcement Rules for New York City Environmental Remediation Programs

Owners and developers of sites enrolled in New York City’s environmental remediation programs should be aware of new enforcement rules. The rules provide for new reporting requirements and strengthened enforcement mechanisms and penalties. Background About New York City Environmental Remediation Programs The New York City (NYC) Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) manages NYC’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) and E-Designation Program (EDP). Under the VCP, environmental site investigations and remediations are conducted with OER oversight. After a site is remediated, OER issues a notice of completion (NOC), which provides that NYC “shall not take or require any further investigatory or remedial action” at the site.[1] The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is also unlikely to require further action at sites with NOCs, pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement between NYSDEC and OER.[2] NOCs may be assigned to third parties, such as the purchaser of a site that has been cleaned up.[3] The VCP also provides other benefits, including hazardous waste fee exemptions and monetary grants. By contrast to the VCP, the EDP is a mandatory program. It applies to specific sites given “E-Designations” or similar Restrictive Declarations because of potential contamination or other issues identified during a zoning action. For instance, sites previously zoned only for manufacturing that have been rezoned to...

David J. Freeman and Matthew J. Sinkman to Chair Panels at Upcoming Superfund/Brownfield Program Update 2022

David J. Freeman and Matthew J. Sinkman of the Gibbons Environmental Group will serve as Panel Chairs at the upcoming annual Superfund/Brownfield Program Update 2022, presented by the Environmental & Energy Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. The program will take place virtually on December 7, 2022. Mr. Freeman, Co-Chair of the conference, will moderate a panel regarding developments in the federal Superfund program over the past year. Mr. Sinkman will moderate a panel regarding renewable energy issues and the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). An outstanding faculty of government officials, attorneys, and consultants will participate on these panels as well as panels regarding statutory amendments to the BCP and proposed changes to BCP regulations, affordable housing issues, and a case law update. Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) and NYLCV Education Fund, will be the Keynote Speaker and discuss the results of the 2022 elections and what they mean for New York’s environmental agenda. You can register for this timely program by clicking here.

In a Case of First Impression in the Second Circuit, the District Court Clarifies When the Statute of Limitations Begins to Run on a Natural Resource Damages Claim Under CERLCA

A case that shares the elements of a crime thriller – massive illegal dumping of toxic construction debris in a public park and playground, corrupt public officials, a special grand jury investigation and criminal prosecutions – has broken new ground on when the statute of limitations runs on a natural resource damages claim. Seggos v. Datre, a case relating to the closure of a public park in an environmental justice area due to illegal dumping of hazardous waste, will proceed now that a federal judge has rejected a request brought by 17 law firms to find that it had been filed too late. The complaint in the case, pending in the U.S. District Court the Eastern District of New York, alleged that in 2013 and 2014, tens of thousands of tons of construction and demolition debris and related waste (“C&D”) were dumped in Roberto Clemente Park (“Park”) in the hamlet of Brentwood, New York, an environmental justice community located in the Town of Islip on Long Island. The C&D was brought to the Park from construction sites throughout the New York City metropolitan area. The New York Attorney General, suing on behalf of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Commissioner and the State of New York (together, the “State”), brought the case to...