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Showing 118 posts in Massachusetts Developments.

EPA Issues NPDES Remediation General Permit Renewal for Massachusetts

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) renewed the NPDES General Permit for Remediation Activity Discharges in Massachusetts effective April 8, 2017.  This permit authorizes discharges from contaminated sites as well as a collection of miscellaneous discharges that may be contaminated.  A companion permit was issued covering these discharges in New Hampshire.  According to the US EPA Fact Sheet, discharges from about 750 remediation projects were authorized under the 2010 permits, mostly in Massachusetts.   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 ›

Is Offshore Wind Power Riding a Rising Tide?

Recent Offshore Wind Developments in the Northeast

State action in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maryland may help to advance offshore wind projects in those states, while a new federal proposal would extend the investment tax credit for offshore wind through 2025, improving the outlook for offshore wind projects on the eastern seaboard.    Read More ›

Court Reaffirms Standard for Injury Sufficient to Maintain Standing to Challenge Zoning Permit Modification

The Massachusetts Appeals Court reaffirmed that the injury sufficient to maintain standing to challenge the modification of a special permit turns on the harm stemming from the original project, not the incremental harm between pre- and post-modification changes. In Aiello v. Planning Board of Braintree, 91 Mass. App. Ct. 354 (2017), the Appeals Court reversed the Land Court’s decision that the plaintiff lacked standing because he could not show such incremental harm and remanded the approval of a special permit for an enhanced commercial use to the local planning board for reconsideration.   Read More ›

Top Massachusetts Court clarifies 9/11-era Public Records Exemption

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the public records exemption passed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks protecting critical infrastructure documents from disclosure is to be interpreted narrowly, sending a public records case brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) back to the trial court for further proceedings.  Read More ›

Recent PFAS Case Law – RCRA, CERCLA and Toxic Tort Claims

A new class of emerging contaminants poses challenges at remediation sites and for the protection of drinking water, and is generating new toxic tort litigation. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are emerging contaminants that are being identified at several sites in many areas of the country.  The U.S. EPA and many states are beginning to issue guidelines, advisories or in some cases, standards for PFAS in drinking water, soil, or groundwater.  At the same time, several cases are winding their way through the courts.  Below we discuss several recent cases involving PFAS contamination.  In each of these cases, some of the claims have survived a motion to dismiss, suggesting that it will be difficult to quickly dispose of such claims prior to discovery. Read More ›

Academic Institutions: Do You Still Have a Single-Walled Steel Underground Storage Tank?

Massachusetts state regulations require that all single-walled USTs be removed or closed-in-place by August 7, 2017. Most tanks installed prior to 1970 (and in some cases later) were single-walled steel tanks.  Such tanks corrode over time and are likely to leak if left in place.  As a result, MassDEP is phasing out use of such tanks.  There are many types of replacement tanks including double-walled jacketed steel tanks and metal tanks with cathodic protection. Read More ›

MassDEP Issues Draft Fact Sheet Guidance on PFAS, a Class of Emerging Contaminants

On January 26, 2017, MassDEP announced that it had developed and is seeking comment on a Fact Sheet entitled “Guidance on Sampling and Analysis for PFAS at Disposal Sites Regulated under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan.” The Fact Sheet is a primer on the class of contaminants known as PFAS including manufacture, toxicity, the types of sites where it may be found, sampling considerations, and analytical concerns.  The key takeaway from the Fact Sheet is that MassDEP is identifying PFAS as hazardous materials and expects investigation for PFAS at sites where it makes sense to do so and remediation of PFAS where it is found to pose a significant risk to human health or the environment.  MassDEP has requested comments by March 3, 2017. 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 ›

Renewable Energy: The State of Play in 2017

The renewable energy sector ended 2016 and began 2017 under assault. Nevada and other states rolled back net metering laws.  Fishing interests brought a lawsuit to block an offshore wind lease and upend BOEM’s offshore wind program.  And—not least of all—the Trump administration has promised to kill the Clean Power Plan. Read More ›