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New Developments in Environmental Law

21-Day Timing Provisions in the Wetlands Act Are Obligatory and Pre-Empt Local Wetland Bylaws

Written by
/ Published Thursday, 14 April 2022 11:08

Local wetlands bylaw (or ordinance) jurisdiction over projects in and near resource areas depends on Conservation Commission compliance with the 21-day deadlines for commencing public hearings and issuing decisions on Notices of Intent (NOI). Indeed, you may safely regard those timing provisions in the state Wetlands Protection Act (the Act) as binding on the Commission, with failure to meet them potentially fatal to any decision the Commission may render. 

Sudbury v. MBTA Case Applies Doctrine of Prior Public Use to Inter- and Intra-Governmental Land Transfers, Not to Private

Written by
/ Published Tuesday, 22 March 2022 15:53

A legal doctrine established prior to Article 97 protects public lands dedicated to a public use from being used for other purposes without legislative authorization, meaning a bill in the General Court passed by majority vote. This is the doctrine of Prior Public Use. Although it pre-dates Article 97, the Prior Public Use doctrine continues to serve as a kind of traditional backup to Article 97 for public land dedicated to a public use.

Regulatory Takings: Ripeness: Exhaustion and Finality

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 29 December 2021 15:17

Takings jurisprudence requires that courts know the extent of a regulation’s interference with property rights prior to making any adjudication on its validity. Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank, 473 U.S. 172 (1985)

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to Spend Billions on Our Infrastructure

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 29 December 2021 14:59

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)is a $1.2 trillion investment, a good portion of which is for modernizing the energy grid, reducing reliance on carbon-based energy, and protecting areas most vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather.

Boston Waterfront Condo Case Reminds Us Who Can Enforce Public Trust Principles

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 29 December 2021 14:40

Property owners lack legal authority to use private litigation to enforce their public trust rights. Only the Commonwealth may enforce public trust rights in Commonwealth tidelands and other waterfront areas.

Housing Choice Act of 2020 Promotes Multi-Family in Massachusetts Zoning Act and 40R

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 29 December 2021 14:23

Governor Baker signed the Housing Choice Act of 2020, Chapter 358 of the Acts of 2020 (the “Housing Choice Act”) on January 14, 2021, as an emergency law, which made it effective immediately. It made significant procedural and substantive changes to the Massachusetts Zoning Act (Chapter 40A) and Smart Growth Districts (Chapter 40R), largely to facilitate multi-family housing near transportation facilities.

Nathaniel Stevens, Esq. Named Partner of The Firm Featured

/ Published Tuesday, 30 November 2021 14:01

McGregor Legere & Stevens, PC is very pleased to announce that Nathaniel Stevens, Esq. has been named Partner of the firm.. We have elected to retain a shorter version of our firm name, McGregor Legere & Stevens, PC for the sake of simplicity. Thank you Nathaniel for your many years of excellent work!

Revisiting the Leading Massachusetts Cases on Article 97 Park and Open Space Protection: Mahajan and Westfield

Written by
/ Published Monday, 29 November 2021 16:13

We remind ourselves of the seminal decision in Mahajan v. DEP, 464 Mass. 604 (2013) – in which the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) reversed and remanded a Superior Court decision that Article 97 applied to Long Wharf in Boston – in light of the SJC’s more recent ruling in Smith v. City of Westfield, 478 Mass. 49 (2017).

US Supreme Court Decides Interstate Aquifer Rights

Written by
/ Published Monday, 29 November 2021 15:33

On November 22, 2021, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling on whether Tennessee is liable for damages and other relief related to the pumping of groundwater by the City of Memphis from the Middle Claiborne Aquifer which lies beneath eight states. The Supreme Court ruled in a precedent setting opinion that the waters of the Middle Claiborne Aquifer are subject to the judicial remedy of equitable apportionment and that Mississippi’s complaint is dismissed without leave to amend.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules CERCLA Does Not Preclude State Law Claims For Contaminated Sites: Superfund and EPA Are Not The Only Game In Town

Written by
/ Published Monday, 15 November 2021 10:37

In a recent decision with far-reaching implications for owners of contaminated property, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, often referred to as the federal Superfund law) does not preclude claims under state laws for further cleanup of contaminated sites.

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