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New Developments in Environmental Law

Stockbridge Bowl Case: Where the Law Meets Science in Court

Written by
/ Published Friday, 28 February 2020 14:30

In the case of Stockbridge Bowl Association, Inc. v. Town of Stockbridge Conservation Commission & others (Doc. No. 19-0032, December 3, 2019), the Berkshire County Superior Court reviewed the record behind the Stockbridge Conservation Commission’s Order of Conditions denying a lake management project, found the Commission’s justification based on error and lacking in science, and ordered the Commission to approve the Project.

Attorney Gregor McGregor to Co-Chair the 21st Annual Environmental Law Conference for Massachusetts Attorneys

Written by
/ Published Thursday, 09 January 2020 11:50

Attorney Gregor I. McGregor will again will Co-chair the MCLE annual conference on Environmental Law, set for February 6, 2020, with a simulcast that same day and then a recorded podcast February 20. Mr. McGregor and his Co-chair Pamela Harvey, Esq. have led this seminal event for over two decades.

Boston Enacts Wetlands Protection Ordinance to Address Climate Change

Written by
/ Published Tuesday, 24 December 2019 11:15

On December 23, 2019, the City of Boston joined the almost two-thirds of the Commonwealth’s 351 municipalities in having more stringent requirements for work in and near wetlands, waterbodies, and floodplains. Unlike many of those other municipalities, the explicit purpose of Boston’s wetlands ordinance is to address climate change, through adaptation and building resiliency.

Emissions Offsets from Brayton Point Station Issued by MassDEP

Written by
/ Published Monday, 23 December 2019 10:56

On December 23, 2019, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced it has finalized the credits for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions offsets based on the emissions reductions that resulted from the permanent shut-down of the former Brayton Point Station power plant in Somerset, MA.

Nathaniel Stevens Recognized by the Town of Arlington with its Prestigious Award of Excellence

Written by
/ Published Tuesday, 17 December 2019 10:58

The Town presented our Senior Associate Nathaniel Stevens with its Award of Excellence "in recognition of 18 years of exemplary leadership and vision as Chair of the Arlington Conservation Commission, protecting wetlands and conservation lands in the Town of Arlington, MA,  2001 - 2019.

Massachusetts Announces Waste Site Clean Up as well as Drinking Water Standards for Six PFAS “Forever” Chemical Compounds

Written by
/ Published Friday, 13 December 2019 10:36

On December 13, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) announced final as well as proposed regulations to address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances or “PFAS”, a family of man-made chemicals known as the “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the environment. Only a handful of other states are regulating PFAS.

Federal District Court Rejects Argument That Discharges To Groundwater Require Permits Under The Clean Water Act

Written by
/ Published Thursday, 12 December 2019 16:51

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) does not require a permit for the discharge of pollutants to groundwater that is hydrologically connected to navigable waters of the United States. That is the upshot of the federal District Court’s recent ruling upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) interpretation of the CWA as conferring no authority to regulate discharges to groundwater, regardless whether pollutants therein reach navigable waters of the United States. Judge William G. Young determined this to be a “permissible construction” of the statute.

Municipal Governments Cope with Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Using Local Regulations

Written by
/ Published Monday, 01 April 2019 14:27

Coastal as well as inland communities in Massachusetts increasingly are looking to their local wetland permitting laws and regulations as one place to help build climate change resilience.

Appeals Court Overturns $640,000 Jury Verdict for Regulatory Taking

Written by
/ Published Friday, 22 March 2019 13:44

In an important case on an often-raised issue, Smyth v. Conservation Commission of Falmouth, Case No. 17-P-1189, the Massachusetts Appeals Court on February 19, 2019 reversed a Superior Court jury verdict of $640,000.00 on a claim that the Falmouth Wetland Bylaw, as applied, created a “regulatory taking” of plaintiff’s property. This decision has been long-awaited by land use and real estate practitioners.

Court Decision Reminds Us Who Can Enforce The Public Trust Doctrine and Reserved Public Rights in Tidelands

Written by
/ Published Monday, 04 February 2019 15:00

Only the Commonwealth may enforce public trust rights in Commonwealth tidelands. Property owners lack legal authority to use private litigation for enforcement of public trust rights. That important principle was reinforced in the Massachusetts Appeals Court’s July 10, 2018 decision in the case of Commercial Wharf East Condominium Assoc. v. Boston Boat Basin, LLC, 93 Mass. App. Ct. 523 (2018).

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