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Showing 144 posts in Massachusetts Developments.

MassDEP Poised to Regulate PFAS in the Drinking Water and Site Cleanup Programs

MassDEP is one step closer to issuing draft regulations this summer regulating PFAS in drinking water with the June 8, 2018, issuance by its Office of Research and Standards of recommended interim toxicity and drinking water guideline values for PFAS. Read More ›

Case Closed: Nonprofits Eligible for Brownfields Tax Credits for Pre-2006 Cleanups

Massachusetts’ top court has given finality to a 2017 ruling by the Massachusetts Appeals Court that nonprofits are eligible for transferrable brownfields tax credits for remediation conducted prior to 2006. By denying further appellate review on May 4, 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court let stand the Appeals Court’s ruling, leaving no further route for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to avoid granting nonprofits these credits under these circumstances. Northeastern University et al. v. Commissioner of Revenue, 479 Mass. 1107 (2018). In response to our inquiry, the DOR has informed us that they will issue a Technical Information Release addressing this court decision and stated that its guidance on brownfields tax credits remains in effect except where inconsistent with the Court’s decision. Read More ›

Appeals Court Offers Path for Challenging ZBA’s Failure to Act

A constructive approval cannot be obtained where a zoning board of appeals secretary promptly returns an application and filing fee and says it does not have jurisdiction, according to the Massachusetts Appeals Court in its unpublished recent decision of Neli Ridge, LLC v. Town Clerk of Wilmington, 93 Mass.App.Ct. 1109 (2018). Read More ›

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 ›

Major Offshore Wind Projects Advance in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Commercial-scale offshore wind power may soon become a reality in New England. On May 23, Massachusetts electric distribution companies selected Vineyard Wind, a subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables, LLC, as the preferred provider of 800 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind generation to the Massachusetts power market, and Rhode Island selected Deepwater Wind as the preferred provider of 400 MW of offshore wind generation to the Rhode Island power market. Both companies propose to generate the electricity from wind projects they intend to construct on federal leases on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read More ›

CARB’s Use of Little-Known Enforcement Tool Should be of Paramount Concern for LCFS Participants

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (“LCFS”) Regulation has been embroiled in controversy since its inception.  Despite the California Air Resources Board’s (“CARB’s”) continuing difficulty following California Environmental Quality Act mandates relating to the LCFS, CARB has maintained diligent enforcement of LCFS requirements.  Through these enforcement efforts, CARB has revealed its intent to use California Health & Safety Code section 43027, a provision that contains high civil penalties for “willful or intentional” violations of the LCFS (up to $250,000 per day), as well as $50,000 per day for negligent violations and strict liability for all other violations, with penalties of $35,000 per day.  Read More ›

SJC Clarifies Statute of Limitations for Contaminated Property Damage Claims but Raises Questions of Application

Plaintiffs with property damage claims under the Massachusetts cleanup law have more time to bring their claim than might be expected under the three-year statute of limitations according to a recent ruling by the top Massachusetts court.  The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the statute of limitations begins running when the plaintiff knows that there is damage to the property that is “permanent” and who is responsible for the damage, pointing to the phases of investigation and remediation in Massachusetts’ regulatory scheme as signposts for when a plaintiff should have that knowledge.  Grand Manor Condominium Assoc. v. City of Lowell, 478 Mass. 682 (2018).  However, the Court left considerable uncertainty about when the statute of limitations might begin for arguably more temporary property damages such as lost rent. Read More ›

Nonprofit Universities Eligibility for Brownfields Tax Credits, Massachusetts Appeals Court Confirms

Nonprofits are eligible for transferrable Brownfields tax credits for remediation conducted prior to 2006 according to a recent ruling by the Massachusetts Appeals Court. As we previously reported in March 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue issued guidance in November 2013 declaring that nonprofit organizations are not entitled to receive credit for Brownfields cleanups completed in a taxable year that began before June 24, 2006. This guidance was challenged by several universities and a real estate developer, and in 2015, the Superior Court declared that the DOR overreached and the directive was invalid. DOR appealed. In its decision in Northeastern University v. Comm’r of Revenue, 92 Mass.App.Ct. 1120 (Mass.App.Ct. 2017), the Appeals Court affirmed the Superior Court’s decision based on the clear language of the statute. A motion for further appellate review has been filed with the top Massachusetts court. Read More ›

MassDEP Issues Air Rule Amendments

Culminating a two-year rule promulgation process, MassDEP has issued a final rule amendment package that makes adjustments to numerous provisions of the Massachusetts air regulations.  The announced purpose of this package was to streamline the rules and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens pursuant to Governor Baker’s Executive Order 562 and to adopt changes to various provisions to make them more consistent with the federal rules. Read More ›

Standardizing Assessment of Natural Resource Damages: Massachusetts Is Taking the First Step

MassDEP is developing a standard methodology for assessing natural resource damages for small to medium oil spills to surface water that will be incorporated into forthcoming regulations, which will require persons responsible for these spills to pay the assessed natural resource damages, above and beyond cleaning up the spill.  MassDEP is expected to expand the standard assessment to include spills of hazardous materials and spills to groundwater.  MassDEP plans to pool these funds to improve watersheds that have been harmed by releases of oil or hazardous materials. Read More ›