Environmental Law Portal

Welcome to the Beveridge & Diamond Environmental Law Portal.

Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices focus on environmental and natural resource law, litigation and dispute resolution. We help clients around the world resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their products, facilities, and operations. 

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Interior Department Proposes to Open Offshore Atlantic Region to Oil and Gas Leasing

The Department of the Interior today announced that it will publish for public comment a draft proposed Five-Year Program (“DPP”) governing the leasing of offshore oil and gas for 2017 through 2022.  Interior’s DPP will follow the current 2012-2017 Five-Year Program (“current program”). Read More ›

Wisconsin Supreme Court Applies Pollution Exclusion to Well Contaminated with Manure

Recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the pollution exclusion applies to well water contamination arising from the application of manure to nearby farmland, relieving a general liability insurer of its duty to defend or indemnify an insured absent other policy provisions. Read More ›

Environmental Justice in Massachusetts

Over the past several months, there has been a flurry of activity on environmental justice in Massachusetts, and more developments are expected shortly.  This short summary is intended to recap a brief history of the way environmental justice principles have been applied in Massachusetts permitting, discuss the key policies that are currently in effect, and describe what is pending on the immediate horizon.

Environmental justice (EJ) is a concept that arises from the civil rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s. It is based on the proposition that the siting and operation of industrial facilities occurs disproportionately in communities with higher percentages of lower-income and minority residents because those communities have limited socioeconomic and political power and are therefore less able to fend off industrial development proposals. To counteract these effects, EJ proponents have sought to increase procedural and substantive review requirements for the siting and permitting of projects in or near EJ communities and to enhance governmental oversight of facilities located in or affecting these areas. Read More ›

A Municipal Ordinance Requiring Registration and Maintenance of Vacant or Foreclosed Properties Preempted under Chapter 21E

A municipal ordinance imposing registration and maintenance obligations upon owners and secured lenders of buildings that are vacant or undergoing foreclosure was preempted by the Massachusetts remediation and clean-up statute known as Chapter 21E, according to the top Massachusetts court.  Read More ›

Massachusetts Moves to Require Permits for “Large” Fill Projects

Because it will take time to develop regulations announced in December requiring permits for large-scale fill projects including both reclamation of quarries, sand pits and gravel pits, and redevelopment projects, MassDEP plans to issue this month a policy that would allow any such project to proceed under an administrative consent order.  This effort is driven, at least in part, by a requirement in the fiscal year 2015 budget that MassDEP determine by June 30, 2015, what soils should be used as fill material for reclamation of quarries, sand pits and gravel pits.  Read More ›

MEPA Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy Available for Public Comment

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is accepting public comments on its proposed draft Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy (the Draft Policy).  The deadline for submitting comments is February 9, 2015. Read More ›

MassDEP Finalizes Underground Storage Tank Regulations

MassDEP’s new regulations governing Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) became effective January 2, 2015.  MassDEP took responsibility for USTs from the Department of Fire Services in 2009 and initially relied on existing regulations in the state Fire Code.  Since then, MassDEP undertook a substantial effort to develop the new regulatory program, now located at 310 CMR 80.00.  Read More ›

Court Upholds By Right Reconstruction Of Dimensionally Compliant Nonconforming Use

Closing another loophole in law of nonconforming structures and uses, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has held that no zoning relief is required to tear down and reconstruct a nonconforming use that is dimensionally conforming.  Welch-Philippino v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Newburyport, 86 Mass. App. Ct. 258 (2014). Read More ›

EPA Region 1 Extends Deadline for Comments on New MS4 Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems General Permit for Massachusetts

EPA Region 1 has extended the deadline for the submission of comments to February 21, 2015 in response to the Draft General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems in Massachusetts (known as MS4 systems).  The 2003 MS4 General Permit, issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) program, expired in 2008 and has been administratively extended.  Read More ›

New Massachusetts Governor Issues Three-Month Freeze on New Regulations

Just a week after being sworn in, Governor Charlie Baker imposed a “regulatory pause” on new state regulations with certain exceptions.  The temporary ban will last through March 31.  Read More ›