Attorney Blog

New Developments in Environmental Law

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to Spend Billions on Our Infrastructure

Written by

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.

There are lots of benefits for municipalities along with a variety of industries, including energy producers, financial investors, forest and agricultural interests, technology innovators and many others.

Clean Energy, Efficiency, and Electrical Grid Upgrades

Approximately $65 billion is directed towards clean energy, building efficiency, and grid upgrades, including batteries, carbon capture, hydrogen, nuclear, and hydropower, such as clean energy supply chains, carbon capture and removal, clean hydrogen manufacturing and recycling program, nuclear reactors set for closure, and hydroelectric facilities.

Also, there are funds to audit, upgrade, and retrofit residential and commercial buildings, grants for public schools, and weatherization assistance for low- income households. Large sums are allocated for grid resilience, grid flexibility, transmission lines, and Columbia River hydro.

Climate Resilience

Over $47 billion is allocated towards climate resilience projects, primarily addressing three types of climate-disasters: fires, floods, and drought. These include prevention and management, ecosystem restoration, fish passages, and road closures.

There are grants to reduce flooding in at-risk communities; funds for building the backlog of Army Corps of Engineers projects for risk management and aquatic ecosystem restoration; and more for NOAA projects to expand natural ecosystems, prevent shoreline erosion, and to create new flood mapping and modeling programs.

Finally, there will be loans and grants to at-risk communities and the FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance program to assist state and local governments with reducing flood risk to homes and businesses. Droughts are addressed mainly through the Aging Infrastructure funding for the Bureau of Reclamation to fund water infrastructure upgrades and repairs.

Contaminated Site Cleanups and Brownfields

The IIJA replenishes Superfund for the first time in almost 20 years. Originally, CERCLA authorized a fee on certain chemical companies. These fees expired in 1995, and the Superfund funding ran out in 2003. The IIJA reinstates fees on certain chemical beginning July 1, 2022 until December 31, 2031.

The Act also makes billions available for five years to investigate and remediate Superfund sites, and more to clean up PFAS and other chemicals, reclaim abandoned mine lands, and plug orphan oil and gas wells; provide Brownfields grants and technical assistance for Tribes, states, and communities to assess, clean, and reuse contaminated properties (all state cost share requirements for this section have been waived).

The Brownfields funding will include both competitive and categorical grants to support state-led Brownfield redevelopments.

Water Pollution and Water Infrastructure

The IIJA allocates more than $66 billion for drinking water infrastructure, including. $10 billion in grants for states and water utilities to treat Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination and $15 billion in Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to be directed toward lead line replacement.

Congress also made a $43.4 billion commitment for the State Revolving Loan Funds used to help water suppliers finance water infrastructure projects. The IIJA establishes a Clean Water Infrastructure

Resiliency and Sustainability Program at EPA to provide grants to owners or operators of publicly-owned treatment works (POTW) to address climate change.

Our air, water, sewer, stormwater, wetlands, flood control, electricity, cleanup, climate-related and other infrastructure are sorely in need, and now Congress and the Biden Administration have appropriated and directed $1.2 trillion in aid for repairs, deferred maintenance, improvement, and modernization.

Read 556 times
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 >>

Contact Information