United States: New York Environmental Legislation In 2017

In 2017, New York State enacted multiple laws that tackle aspects of two major environmental issues facing the state: protecting water quality and advancing the state's clean energy goals. In addition, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed laws concerning oil tankers on the Hudson, elephant welfare, food waste, and lead paint. He also approved a moratorium barring New York City's plastic bag fee from taking effect. This annual survey reports on these developments and other environmental laws enacted in 2017.

Drinking Water

The 2017-18 budget legislation established new regulatory programs to monitor emerging contaminants in public drinking water systems and to mitigate and remediate drinking water impacts caused by solid waste disposal sites. The monitoring law (L. 2017, ch. 57, part M) requires public water systems to test for substances on a list of emerging contaminants promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH). This list will include 1,4-dioxane, perfluorooctane-sulfonic acid, and perfluorooctanoic acid, as well as other substances added based on recommendations from a newly established Drinking Water Quality Council. DOH will set notification levels for listed chemicals; the presence of contaminants in drinking water at concentrations at or above those levels will trigger notification requirements.

To address sites causing drinking water contamination, the budget legislation created a new Article 27, Title 12, in the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), to supplement existing authorities to investigate and mitigate risks caused by waste disposal sites with the potential to impact groundwater. The law (ch. 57, part T) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to prepare annual comprehensive plans for mitigating and remediating solid waste sites that threaten drinking water supplies, including by identifying priority sites. When actual or potential threats to public health are identified, DEC's powers under the new law include implementing or ordering measures such as installation of treatment systems and provision of alternative water supply sources.

The budget legislation also required DEC to work with DOH to incorporate drinking water quality data into a geographic information system (GIS) and required the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to study the feasibility of compiling a database of water quality infrastructure projects funded by EFC, DOH, and DEC. The budget bills contained a number of measures to fund projects to protect water quality, including replacements of septic systems and lead service lines, intermunicipal water infrastructure projects, emergency infrastructure construction and repairs, and source water protection projects (ch. 57, part T).

Another state law (ch. 245) addressed funding for water quality protection by authorizing the Village of Hoosick Falls to issue up to $1.5 million in bonds for reimbursement of "extraordinary expenses" incurred and "extraordinary revenue losses" suffered as a result of the discovery of perfluorooctanoic acid in its municipal water supply in 2014. Another 2017 law aimed at protection of drinking water requires DEC to issue regulations for Long Island compost and mulch facilities to prevent water quality impairment (ch. 449).

Clean Energy

A number of laws were enacted in 2017 to promote development of clean energy sources. An amendment to the Power NY Act of 2011 made geothermal energy systems eligible for on-bill financing (ch. 425), while amendments to the Real Property Tax Law made micro-hydroelectric energy, fuel cell electric generating, micro-combined heat and power generating equipment, and electric energy storage equipment and storage systems eligible for a 15-year property tax exemption (ch. 336). A new provision in the Public Service Law (ch. 415) requires establishment of an energy storage deployment program to promote installation of systems "capable of absorbing energy, storing it for a period of time, and thereafter dispatching the energy." In a signing statement, Governor Cuomo said the law would facilitate development of renewable energy sources. To encourage development of renewable energy sources to support electric vehicles, another law requires that investor-owned utilities establish residential tariffs for purchase of electricity solely for charging electric vehicles (ch. 337). The law is intended to encourage electric vehicle charging during periods when significant amounts of renewable energy are dispatched to the electric grid. Another law eased requirements for municipal sustainable energy loan programs. The law (ch. 320) allows participation in loan programs even if the renewable energy generated on property owned by a participant is to be used off site. In addition, the law eliminates a requirement limiting the maximum loan amount to 10 percent of the appraised value of the property and allows municipalities to use State funds—not just federal funds—to finance their loan programs.

A law signed in December 2017 requires the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to provide incentives for affordable residential green buildings (ch. 486).

Also in December, Cuomo vetoed a bill (S6157/A7722) that would have added approximately 1,100 acres of privately owned land to the Central Pine Barrens and Core Pine Barrens Areas on Long Island. The landowners had initiated plans to develop solar energy projects at the sites; the legislation would have impeded the projects. Cuomo said he objected to the legislation, which "unnecessarily pits land preservation against renewable energy, both of which are necessary to preserve the State's environment and natural resources for future generations."

At the end of December, Cuomo signed amendments to the New York City Administrative Code (ch. 503) requiring the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission to permit use of all hybrid electric and electric vehicle models as taxicabs so long as they meet requirements for use as for-hire vehicles.

Oil Tankers

Another new law authorizes DEC to establish guidelines for operation of petroleum-bearing vessels on the Hudson River and to establish zones where such vessels cannot operate (ch. 351). The law—a response to a currently suspended U.S. Coast Guard proposal to establish new anchorage grounds on the river between Yonkers and Kingston— directs the DEC commissioner to prepare a report with recommendations for plans, policies, and programs affecting petroleum-bearing vessels on the Hudson.

Lead Paint

Changes to §1373 of the Public Health Law imposed more stringent enforcement requirements for addressing lead paint hazards. The amendments (ch. 411) impose a mandatory duty on the Commissioner of Health to give written notice and demand discontinuance of a paint condition conducive to lead poisoning whenever an "area of high risk" has been designated. Previously the determination of whether to issue such a notice and demand was left to the commissioner's discretion. In addition, the amendments made a formal hearing mandatory whenever a landlord failed to comply and placed the evidentiary burden on landlords to establish that a paint condition conducive to lead poisoning does not exist. The formal hearing requirement will likely change in 2018—Governor Cuomo indicated in an approval memo that he had reached an agreement with the Legislature to address his concern that requiring formal hearings could interfere with more effective enforcement mechanisms.

Solid Waste

Several measures signed into law may affect generation of solid waste. One measure (ch. 316) authorizes development of guidelines to encourage school districts and higher education institutions to donate "excess, unused, edible food" to local voluntary food assistance programs. Another bill (ch. 312) requires implementation of recycling programs at state parks, historic sites, and recreational facilities. The governor vetoed a bill (S6750) that would have required chain pharmacies to provide drug disposal collection points but said he was directing DEC to prepare a report on the feasibility of a statewide pharmaceutical stewardship program.

In February, Cuomo signed a bill (ch. 7) preventing a New York City law charging a five-cent fee for "carryout merchandise bags" from taking effect. Cuomo said that plastic bag pollution was a "statewide challenge" warranting a "statewide solution." He established a New York State Plastic Bag Task Force to develop a "uniform and equitable" plan to address the "plastic bag problem." Recommendations were expected by the end of 2017.

Wildlife

Pursuant to the Elephant Protection Act (ch. 333), circuses and other entertainment acts may no longer use elephants beginning in October 2019. Cuomo also signed bills increasing fines and penalties for illegal takings of big game (ch. 408) and directing DEC to prepare a report on deer management techniques to address deer overpopulation in urban and suburban areas (ch. 466).

Regulatory Process

A year after signing a bill increasing the length of notice periods for some environmental regulations from 30 to 45 days, Cuomo signed legislation that requires 60-day notice periods prior to holding public hearings (ch. 455). The new legislation amends not only provisions governing ECL rulemaking processes but also provisions in the state Administrative Procedure Act and the Executive Law that apply more broadly.

Previously published in the New York Law Journal

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions