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Showing 25 posts by Virginie Roveillo Casey.

EPA Proposes to Rescind RMP Provisions Amended Under Obama Administration, Seeks Comments

On May 30, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule (Proposed Rule) that would rescind the majority of the amendments to the RMP rule that were finalized in January 2017 in the final days of the Obama Administration (RMP Amendments Rule).  Comments on the Proposed Rule are due on or before July 30, 2018. Read More ›

Massachusetts Land Court Applies New Article 97 Guidance and Denies Constitutional Protection to Land Purchased for Water Resource Protection and Compatible Purposes

We recently reported on a new analytical framework created by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Smith v. City of Westfield for conducting analyses to determine whether Article 97 state constitutional protections will apply to restrict development of land held for conservation and natural resource protection purposes. See Playground Permanently Dedicated and Used As a Public Park Earns Massachusetts Constitutional Protections of Article 97.  In the first judicial decision to apply this Article 97 guidance, the Massachusetts Land Court has held that a property conveyed to a town “for the purposes of protection of water resources and other compatible purposes including conservation a recreation” was not protected land under Article 97, and therefore could be leased to install a solar facility.  Mirkovic v. Guercio, 2017 WL 4681972 (Mass. Land Court, Oct. 18, 2017). Read More ›

EPA Region 1 Increasingly Targeting Ammonia Refrigeration Processes for RMP and General Duty Clause Enforcement

Over the course of 2017, U.S. EPA Region 1 has settled several significant enforcement matters arising under the risk management provisions of the Clean Air Act, Section 112(r).  The risk management requirements are intended to minimize accidental releases of hazardous substances to the air and to reduce the severity of releases that do occur. Read More ›

Conservation Commission Retains Authority to Regulate under Stricter Local Law Despite MassDEP Superseding Order of Conditions

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently held that a Superseding Order of Conditions issued by the MassDEP under the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) does not divest a municipal Conservation Commission from all authority to regulate activity on the land subject to the Superseding Order of Conditions.  Cave Corporation v. Conservation Commission of Attleboro, 91 Mass. App. Ct. 767 (2017).  Specifically, where a local Conservation Commission issues an Order of Conditions under the authority of a by-law or ordinance that is more stringent than the WPA, the terms of the Conservation Commission’s Order of Conditions remain enforceable even if the MassDEP subsequently issues, in relation to a different Notice of Intent, a Superseding Order of Conditions regulating work on the same land. Read More ›

Massachusetts Appeals Court Upholds Applicability of Wetlands Protection Act to Commercial Fishing Techniques Using Hydraulic Dredging Methods

The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the applicability of the state’s Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) to commercial fishing activities using hydraulic dredging methods on land under ocean and nearshore areas, clarifying municipal authority to impose additional requirements on activities in wetlands in relation to shell fishing.  However, in the same opinion, the Court concluded that a town bylaw prohibiting hydraulic dredging in nearshore areas without a permit is preempted by state law as applied to sea clam and quahog harvesting.  Read More ›

OMB Signs Off on U.S. EPA’s 2017 Construction Stormwater Permit

Spared by the Office of Management and Budget from the Trump Administration’s regulatory freeze, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2017 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities (2017 CGP) became effective on February 16, 2017. Read More ›

Off to Court We Go: Petitioners Challenge EPA’s Small MS4 General Permit for Massachusetts

The storm of debate and criticism over the terms and conditions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems in Massachusetts (the Small MS4 General Permit or Permit) has shifted to the judicial arena.  In July, the first of several petitions for review of the final Small MS4 General Permit was filed in the D.C. Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, followed by four more challenges filed in the First Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.  Notwithstanding the initiation of litigation, Massachusetts municipalities should be continuing to develop their plans and organizing their resources to effectively implement the Small MS4 General Permit, which becomes effective in July 2017.  Read More ›

EPA Issues Update to Settlement Penalty Policy for Industrial Stormwater Violations

Some violators of federal industrial stormwater requirements will likely pay significantly higher penalties under new guidance issued by U.S. EPA.  The new guidance, “Supplemental Guidance to the 1995 Interim Clean Water Act Settlement Penalty Policy for Violations of the Industrial Stormwater Requirements” (the 2016 Supplemental Guidance), provides agency staff with guidance on how to calculate a minimum settlement penalty for unauthorized discharges of industrial stormwater, violations of EPA or state-issued NPDES industrial stormwater permits, and other violations of Clean Water Act stormwater requirements applicable to industrial activity.  The 2016 Supplemental Guidance sets forth a more sophisticated and detailed approach to calculating settlement penalties as compared to the 1995 Interim Policy.  While the effects of the new guidance are not entirely clear, it is likely that it will result in higher penalties for larger and more sophisticated companies compared to smaller companies for the same violations.  Read More ›

EPA Region 1 Continues its Crackdown on Urban Storm Sewer Systems

U.S. EPA Region 1 has slowly pursued enforcement cases against a large number of Massachusetts municipalities subject to stormwater permitting requirements of the small municipal separate storm sewer system program, known as MS4 systems, and the City of Haverhill is the latest target to settle.  Read More ›

The Federal MS4 Permit: What Massachusetts Academic Institutions Need to Know

In July 2017, the General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems in Massachusetts, known as the MS4 Permit, will become effective in 260 towns and cities in Massachusetts.  The efforts by affected towns and cities to implement the permit, issued by U.S. EPA and MassDEP, will impact academic institutions, particularly those with development plans for the years ahead.  This is what academic institutions need to know about the MS4 Permit: Read More ›