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Massachusetts Environmental Law at this Moment: Earth Day 2024 Featured

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On the state level, the new Massachusetts Climate Law, An Act Creating a Next-generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, set ambitious statewide limits on emissions to achieve net zero by 2050. With interim emissions reduction goals, this new statute should revitalize the need for quick climate solutions and collaborative processes across all sectors.

Looking to the near future, Massachusetts is focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as a strong priority of environmental justice. The transition to a clean energy economy while ensuring all residents of the state are equally benefitted from this new standard of living is known as a “just transition” and is a key focus of Massachusetts moving forward.

On this score Massachusetts has adopted its first ever comprehensive environmental justice strategy (EJ Strategy) which directs all EOEEA agencies to develop their own EJ strategies to ensure that the principles of EJ and equity are embedded into the work of EOEEA and its agencies when implementing their agendas and when transitioning to a clean energy economy. The EJ Strategy explains how EOEEA agencies plan to incorporate industry-specific EJ policies into their missions.

Massachusetts is focused on climate resiliency, a proactive effort to protect communities, critical assets, and natural resources from the vulnerabilities associated with flooding, coastal storms, and other natural hazard events. As just one example, as of this writing MassDEP has prepared to issue under the Wetlands Protection Act and Chapter 91, for the first time, performance standards for doing work in the Resource Area known as Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage.

Lastly, Massachusetts has codified in the Public Lands Preservation Act (PLPA), enacted during 2022 and effective February 2023, the administrative process, documentation, and criteria for proposing a transfer or change of use of public natural resources lands, waters and other real estate interests (commonly called open space and parklands but actually much broader) protected by Article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. The requirements are on the books now, but Implementing regulations from EOEEA are due and expected by August 2024.

Read 227 times Last modified onFriday, 26 April 2024 15:37
Gregor I. McGregor, Esq.

GREGOR I. McGREGOR, Esq. is the founder of New England’s oldest environmental law firm McGregor & Associates, PC in Boston, formed in 1975 and now McGregor Legere & Stevens,PC (formerly McGregor & Legere PC). The firm handles all aspects of environmental law, land use, real estate, and related litigation. The firm is a founding member of the Environmental Law Network (ELN), an alliance of specialty law firms, in the United States and abroad, sharing their legal expertise and practical experience for the benefit of their clients. Mr. McGregor enjoys Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for attorneys (AV).

In 45 years of environmental practice, Mr. McGregor's cases in court broke new ground in the law of Environmental Impact Statements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), wetland and floodplain protection under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, hazardous waste cleanup liability and cost-recovery under the Massachusetts Superfund, reduced taxes and tax exemptions for qualified land conservation transactions, constitutional protections for open space and parkland, Home Rule environmental ordinances and bylaws of cities and towns, law enforcement and contempt remedies, and the constitutional doctrine of Regulatory Takings.

Before 1975, Mr. McGregor was an Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts and the first chief of the Attorney General’s Division of Environmental Protection. In that capacity he advised and represented the Commonwealth during the formative years of Massachusetts environmental statutes, agencies, regulations, enforcement and cases in court.

Mr. McGregor is editor of the two-volume treatise on Massachusetts Environmental Law, published by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc.(MCLE). He is co-chair of MCLE’s annual Environmental, Land Use, and Energy Law Conference and MCLE’s Real Estate and Environmental Law Curriculum Advisory Committee. He received from MCLE in 2013 its Scholar-Mentor Award recognizing his dedication to legal scholarship and leadership.

Mr. McGregor chairs the Environmental Committee of the Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts (REBA) and serves as a member of the REBA Board of Directors. He is an active member of the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association (MMLA), which honored him for his career contributions to legal education and effective advocacy on the Home Rule Doctrine. At the National CLE Conference in Vail, CO, Mr. McGregor co-chairs an annual seminar on Environmental Law, Land Use, Energy & Litigation for attorneys from across the United States.

Mr. McGregor is a long time member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) having served as Board President twice. He has handled several cases for MACC as amicus and is a regular presenter at their annual meeting.

Mr. McGregor is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.

View Attorney McGregor's Case List >>

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