Attorney Blog

New Developments in Environmental Law

Caroline E. Smith Named An Associate Attorney of The Firm

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 30 November 2022 14:40

The law firm of McGregor Legere & Stevens, PC is very pleased to announce the addition of Caroline Smith as an Associate Attorney. Welcome to the firm, Caroline!

PFAS Update: What EPA Designation of PFAS as a Superfund Substance Under CERCLA Means

Written by
/ Published Friday, 30 September 2022 13:54

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has proposed to designate Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This is the federal Superfund law. Collectively these chemicals are known as “PFAS.”

SJC Nixes Boston Waterfront Harbor Plan and with it the Harbor Tower Garage and the Municipal Harbor Plan Approval Process: Stay Tuned for Revamped MassDEP MHP Regulations

Written by
/ Published Friday, 30 September 2022 13:12

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) granted direct appellate review and decided on July 12, 2022, the case of Katherine Armstrong et al v. Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs et al, 490 Mass. 243 (2022), and a consolidated case brought by the Conservation Law Foundation of New England, Inc. (CLF) and others.

First Circuit Rules Federal Clean Water Act Citizen Plaintiffs Are Not Completely Trumped by Past or Pending EPA or State Agency Administrative Enforcement Against the Violator

Written by
/ Published Friday, 30 September 2022 12:28

Can citizen plaintiffs in federal court sue the same violator for the same water pollution violation against which the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or state agency is taking or has taken administrative enforcement? 

SJC Rules Regulatory Taking Claim in Casino Dispute May Proceed to Discovery and Trial (but Not Impairment of Contract Claim)

Written by
/ Published Monday, 12 September 2022 13:03

An interesting, important and relatively rare decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is about regulatory taking (yes, Virginia, there is a valid claim for taking) and impairment of contract (no, sorry, there is no valid claim). 

Supreme Court Strikes Down the City of Boston’s Flag-Flying Practice at City Hall Plaza as Going Over a Bright Line Between Rightful Control of Government Speech and Relaxed Regulation of Private Speech

Written by
/ Published Monday, 12 September 2022 12:52

In the case of Shurtleff v. City of Boston, 596 US ___ (May 2, 2022), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the City of Boston’s flag-raising program did not constitute government speech. Consequently, the City’s refusal to allow the petitioners to fly their flag because of its religious viewpoint violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Let’s see how this regulatory analysis works. 

Outdoor Advertising, the First Amendment, and Free Speech: The Supreme Court Refines the Case of Reed v. Gilbert by its Decision in Austin v. Reagan

Written by
/ Published Monday, 12 September 2022 12:42

The City of Austin, Texas regulates signs that advertise things not located on the same premises as the sign, and signs directing readers to offsite locations, all known as “off-premises signs.” The City’s sign code prohibited construction of new off-premises signs, but gave existing signs vested rights and treated on-premises signs liberally.

Supreme Judicial Court Instructs Conservation Commissions on Home Rule Wetland Protection Power: Use It or Lose It

Written by
/ Published Thursday, 25 August 2022 15:16

The Appeals Court in 2016 had taught the lesson well, but many boards, attorneys and clients apparently missed that class, so the Supreme Judicial Court has instructed us again, this time in a masterclass. 

SJC Gives Shot in The Arm for Commercial Solar Developments Under Local Zoning

Written by
/ Published Sunday, 24 July 2022 08:16

Tracer Lane II Realty, LLC v. City of Waltham, decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on June 2, 2022, was eagerly awaited by municipalities and solar project sponsors alike. The citation is Tracer Lane II Realty, LLC v. City of Waltham, No. SJC-13195 (Mass. Jun. 2, 2022). Real estate, environmental and energy attorneys and their clients take note.

New EPA Advisories Set Limits on “Forever Chemicals” as Studies Link PFAS to Serious Health and Environmental Harms

Written by
/ Published Thursday, 14 July 2022 07:55

“Forever chemicals”—which include polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctanoic sulfonic acid (PFOS)—are found in hundreds of everyday products. Human bodies and the natural environment are incapable of breaking these chemicals down.

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