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Showing 131 posts in Massachusetts Developments.

Westport’s Novel Claims for PCB Remediation Costs End at First Circuit

The Town of Westport cannot recover clean-up costs from manufacturers of PCBs used in caulk at the town’s middle school under a variety of common law and statutory theories, according to a ruling by the First Circuit in Town of Westport v. Monsanto Company, Case No. 17-1461 (December 8, 2017).  The decision ends a pair of novel cases brought by Massachusetts towns looking to the PCB manufacturers to pay for remediation at school sites. Read More ›

Academic Institutions: When Renovating, Where Do Your PCBs Go? EPA Region 1 Enforces Against University for Improper PCB Disposal

The University of Connecticut will pay $28,125 as part of a settlement with U.S. EPA resolving allegations that UConn improperly disposed of PCB-contaminated soils during a renovation project in 2013.  Academic institutions with buildings built or renovated in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s need to be particularly careful to use knowledgeable contractors and consultants as many building materials from that time period contain PCBs, the disposal of which is carefully regulated.  EPA claimed that UConn transported and disposed of soil contaminated with PCBs from window caulk to a facility not licensed to take the material under an incorrect manifest.   Read More ›

Central Massachusetts Sand and Gravel Company Hit with $120,000 Civil Penalty for Air Violations

Kimball Sand Company, Inc. agreed to pay a civil penalty of $120,000 and implement corrective actions as part of a Consent Agreement and Final Order resolving allegations that Kimball operated stone crushing and processing equipment and engines/generators in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.  As part of the settlement, Kimball agreed to other corrective actions as well as the penalty.  This enforcement action is a reminder to all businesses, whether large or small, of their initial and continuing obligation to determine if their equipment and operations trigger federal CAA requirements, or in the alternative face potentially significant civil penalties. Read More ›

Supreme Judicial Court Sets Limitation on Chapter 40B’s Broad Grant of Authority to Local Zoning Boards

In a rare limitation on the broad scope of Massachusetts’ affordable housing law, the state’s top court ruled that amendments by a local board to municipally owned deed restrictions are not covered by the law. 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 ›

Massachusetts Permitting Goes Online

Finally catching up with many states that have made it possible to apply for and review permits online, Massachusetts’ Energy and Environmental Information Public Access System (EIPAS) went online last month, promising to usher in a new era of improved accessibility to the permitting process, while still exhibiting growing pains and limitations.  Read More ›

The Science and Controversy of Offshore Wind: BOEM Embarks on New Research Efforts While Fishing Groups Take Aim at An Offshore Wind Lease In New York

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is embarking on several studies to better understand offshore resources and species.  At the same time, fishing interests have sued BOEM to block an offshore wind lease, challenging not only the lease itself but the process that BOEM uses to award leases and conduct its environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).    Read More ›

Will Massachusetts Enact a Carbon Tax?

Massachusetts could be the first state in the U.S. to enact an economy-wide carbon tax.  In January 2017, two bills were proposed in the Massachusetts legislature that would establish a tax on fossil fuels in Massachusetts with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while returning most or all of the proceeds to consumers and businesses.  These bills have picked up some momentum, and with more than 80 legislators co-sponsoring the bills (about 40% of the Massachusetts legislature), there’s a real chance that a carbon tax could become law in Massachusetts. Read More ›

Superior Court Decision Raises the Bar For Municipalities Seeking to Challenge Special Permits And Other Zoning Actions Taken By Neighboring Municipalities

The Massachusetts Superior Court has ruled that a municipality lacks standing to challenge a special permit issued by a neighboring town when the alleged harm is “too speculative and remote to qualify them as ‘aggrieved parties’ with standing to pursue an appeal under M.G.L. c. 40A, § 17.”  The case, Town of Chelmsford et al. v. Newport Materials, LLC, et al. (Case No. 1681CV03455) was brought by Chelmsford to challenge a special permit issued by the Westford Planning Board to construct an asphalt manufacturing plant in Westford on the border of the two towns.  Chelmsford argued that because the towns had entered a “mutual aid agreement” under which Chelmsford firefighters could be called to fight a fire at the asphalt plant in Westford, it had standing to challenge the permit as a “person aggrieved” under M.G.L. c. 40A, §17.  In an opinion issued in early September, the Superior Court disagreed, ruling that Chelmsford lacked standing to pursue its claims. Read More ›