Tagged: Brownfields

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.

NJDEP Posts Guidance for Prospective Purchasers of Contaminated Sites to Obtain Adjustments to Direct Oversight Requirements

On September 9, 2022, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) issued its Pre-Purchase Administrative Consent Order Guidance through the NJDEP’s Contaminated Site Remediation & Redevelopment Program. The guidance document explains how prospective purchasers of contaminated sites subject to Direct Oversight can obtain a Pre-Purchase Administrative Consent Order (ACO), allowing for adjustments to Direct Oversight requirements. Under the Site Remediation Reform Act, if the person responsible for conducting remediation of a contaminated site fails to complete the investigation and remediation within mandatory timeframes, the NJDEP automatically places the site into Direct Oversight. The Direct Oversight requirements are a more prescriptive remediation process for the person responsible for conducting remediation. Some of the Direct Oversight requirements include: NJDEP selection of the remedial action for the site; NJDEP approval of each document submitted by a licensed site remediation professional; establishment of a remediation funding source in the amount needed to complete remediation; performance of a remedial action feasibility study for NJDEP approval; and compliance with an NJDEP-approved public participation plan. Once a potential buyer of a site closes on a contaminated property subject to Direct Oversight, the potential buyer becomes a person “in any way responsible” for remediating the site pursuant to the Spill Compensation and Control Act (“Spill Act”). By entering into a Pre-Purchase ACO,...

Gibbons Environmental Director David J. Freeman: “A ‘Bridge Builder’ Whose Vision Came to Fruition,” Featured in New York City Brownfield Partnership Interview

In June 2021, Gibbons Director David J. Freeman received the Distinguished Service Award from the New York City Brownfield Partnership, an organization he co-founded. Further honoring David for his extensive contributions to environmental law and the development of brownfields policy, the Partnership published an engaging and wide-ranging interview of David. In the interview, David describes how the Partnership’s goal of creating a bridge between the private sector and the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation, which David developed with his co-founder, Dr. Daniel Walsh, grew over 15 years to include pro bono work, internships, and scholarships. The Partnership’s contributions to shaping brownfields law helped vitalize the Brownfield Opportunity Area initiative with its focus on neighborhood revitalization and community outreach. With the current focus at the federal and state levels on environmental justice for disadvantaged communities, the Brownfield Opportunity Area initiative has taken on an even more critical role.

Gibbons Director David J. Freeman Receives Distinguished Service Award From New York City Brownfield Partnership

David J. Freeman, a Director in the Environmental Group of Gibbons P.C., has been honored by the New York City Brownfield Partnership (NYCBP) as the 2021 recipient of the organization’s Distinguished Service Award. The Award promotes excellence in brownfield redevelopment each year by honoring an individual who has made a significant impact on brownfield redevelopment in New York City.

NJDEP Amends Site Remediation Standards

Via a New Jersey Register notice published on May 17, 2021, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has amended the remediation standards that govern all cleanups in the state. It is the most sweeping revision of the standards since they were first adopted in 2008. NJDEP proposed the amendments in April 2020 and held a virtual public hearing on July 21, 2020. During an extended public comment period, NJDEP received more than 270 public comments on its proposal. The proposal itself was preceded by a series of stakeholder sessions stretching back to 2014. The rulemaking makes significant changes to the remediation standards, including: The creation of separate residential and non-residential soil remediation standards for the ingestion-dermal and inhalation exposure pathways; formerly, the applicable standard was the more stringent of the two, but now both pathways will need to be considered. The adoption of new soil remediation standards for the migration to groundwater exposure pathway, replacing the former site-specific approach based on NJDEP guidance with enforceable standards. The adoption of new standards for soil leachate (for the migration to groundwater exposure pathway) and indoor air (for the vapor intrusion exposure pathway); the vapor intrusion standards replace the former screening levels based on NJDEP guidance. The tightening of some standards and the loosening of others....

NJ’s New Economic Incentive Legislation Includes Supplement to Brownfields Program

The New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (NJERA), recently signed into law by Governor Murphy, includes an important new tax incentive for Brownfields called the “Brownfields Redevelopment Incentive Program Act” (BRIPA),  included as Sections 9 through 19 in the act. BRIPA supplements the existing “Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act” (BCSRA), which provides funds for reimbursement of varying components of remediation costs at Brownfield sites based on certain eligibility criteria, including the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund and the Brownfield Site Reimbursement Fund. Under BRIPA, as under BCSRA, a “Brownfield site” is any commercial or industrial site that is “vacant or underutilized and on which there has been, or there is suspected to have been, a discharge of a contaminant.” BRIPA further expands the definition of Brownfield sites to include sites where there is or suspected to be contaminated building materials. BRIPA takes an approach similar to that of the New York Brownfields Cleanup Program by awarding tax credits of up to the lesser of 40 percent of remediation costs or $4 million under redevelopment agreements entered into by the state and a developer. There is a cumulative cap of $50 million that can be awarded annually under BRIPA. Projects that are eligible for tax credits under BRIPA are those that are located at...