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Showing 62 posts by Stephen M. Richmond.

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 ›

Playground Permanently Dedicated and Used As a Public Park Earns Massachusetts Constitutional Protections of Article 97

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has reinterpreted the test for determining whether municipal parklands are protected by article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. This decision means that more properties will now be restricted from development under the state constitution. Article 97 has historically been interpreted to restrict development only where the property had been taken or acquired for conservation purposes, or specifically designated for article 97 purposes by deed or other recorded restriction. In Smith v. City of Westfield, SJC–12243, 2017 WL 4358679 (Mass. October 2, 2017), the Court expands article 97 protection beyond those circumstances to apply whenever there is a “clear and unequivocal intent to dedicate the land permanently as a public park and where the public accepts such use by actually using the land as a public park. Read More ›

EPA Delays Effective Date of RMP Rule Amendments, Environmental Groups File Challenge

On June 14, 2017, EPA published a final rule in the Federal Register delaying the effective date of its Risk Management Program (RMP) rule amendment package for twenty months, until February 19, 2019.[1] EPA’s decision was immediately challenged by a coalition of environmental groups. Read More ›

D.C. Circuit Signals Limits on EPA’s Authority to Reduce Requirements in Existing Environmental Rules: Waterkeeper Alliance v. US EPA

As the Trump Administration seeks to re-write many of the nation’s environmental rules, the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, has issued a decision in Waterkeeper Alliance v. US EPA that signals the important oversight role the federal courts will play in reviewing executive actions, providing a cautionary note on the limits of executive authority. Read More ›

Landfill Expansion Project Halted by MassDEP

Company Settles MassDEP enforcement case, Reaches Agreement with MassDEP to split $10 Million Cost to Construct Drinking Water Line and Receives Notice of Intent to Sue from Environmental Groups

A proposal to expand the Southbridge, Massachusetts landfill owned by the Town of Southbridge and operated by a subsidiary of Casella Waste Systems has been halted by MassDEP in the face of concerns about the source of contaminants, primarily 1,4 dioxane, found in area groundwater. Shortly thereafter, MassDEP announced a $5 million grant towards the cost of extending a drinking water supply line to area residents, contingent upon agreement from Casella to provide matching funds. In addition, MassDEP announced the settlement of an administrative penalty case against Casella alleging past landfill operational violations, and two state environmental groups sent Casella a notice of intent to sue, claiming the company was responsible for surface water and groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the landfill. 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 ›

EPA Stays RMP Rule Amendments and Grants Petition for Reconsideration

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stayed the implementation of a significant revision of the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule pending the receipt of additional comments. Simultaneously, EPA has granted a request for a motion for reconsideration filed by several trade associations whose industry members would be affected by the rule changes, setting up the possibility that EPA will significantly amend the rule or rescind the rule amendment package. Read More ›

EPA Releases Final RMP Amendments, Awaits Response of New Administration

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a final rule updating the Accidental Release Prevention rules at 40 C.F.R. Part 68, which implement the Clean Air Act Section112(r)(7) risk management planning program. A pre-publication copy of the rule can be accessed here. Read More ›

Massachusetts Proposes New Greenhouse Gas Rules for Electric Generation, Natural Gas, and Transportation Sectors

On December 16, 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) released draft rules that would impose new greenhouse gas (“GHG”) requirements on the electric energy sector, gas distribution systems, and certain aspects of the transportation sector.  Written comments on the proposed regulations are due on or before February 24, 2017, and public hearings are currently scheduled for February 6 and February 8, 2017. Read More ›

Mass DEP Proposes Changes to Air Program

In August 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) proposed several changes to its air regulations as part of its efforts to streamline regulations and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens under Executive Order 562.  These changes will affect a wide range of industrial and commercial facilities.  Read More ›