Elliott & Elliott Launches New PennEast Pipeline Documents Public Archive

Elliott & Elliott announces the launch of a new publicly-available Dropbox archive of documents relating to the proposed PennEast natural gas pipeline.  The archive, which will be continuously updated, includes documents from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) docket for the PennEast pipeline project (PF15-1), the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), and other agencies and… Read More

City of Easton Ordinance Targets Foreclosures, Abandoned and Blighted Properties

The City of Easton (PA) has enacted an abandoned property ordinance  (pdf) to combat neighborhood deterioration, targeting property foreclosures, and abandoned and blighted properties.  It creates an array of new tools for the City to eliminate nuisance conditions, promote neighborhood stability, and protect property values. The new tools include: creating a registration system for properties that… Read More

EPA Guidance to Commercial and Industrial Lessees for CERCLA Liability Protection for Historic Contamination

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued revised guidance clarifying its position that commercial and industrial tenants can protect themselves from contamination liability under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or “Superfund”) by relying on an “all appropriate inquiry” of the ownership and uses of the property, timely performed… Read More

Spotlight on the New Benefit Corporation

 With the recent adoption of the Pennsylvania Benefit Corporation Act (effective January 22, 2013), Pennsylvania has joined 11 other states that have authorized the creation of a new type of corporation known as a “benefit corporation.” Benefit corporations have many of the usual characteristics of a traditional business corporation, but are subject to new requirements with respect to… Read More

National Parks Conservation Coalition Seeks Injunction to Prevent Construction of Susquehanna-Roseland 500 kV Transmission Line

 A coalition of national, regional and local conservation groups has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in federal court to stop construction of the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line through three popular national parks – the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail—while the court… Read More

Federal Court Dismisses As Premature Lawsuit Challenging DRBC Failure to Comply With NEPA in Developing Natural Gas "Fracking" Regulations

A federal district court judge has dismissed as premature three consolidated lawsuits challenging the failure of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and other federal defendants to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act in the course of drafting and considering regulations that would permit natural gas development in the Delaware River Basin.   In… Read More

National Park Service Issues Final Environmental Statement on PP&L Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line Through Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

The National Park Service has published its Final Environmental Statement (FES) on the Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The FES effectively approves the utilities’ proposed route of a new 500kV line across the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and the Appalachian National… Read More

Pa. Appeals Court Strikes Down Act 13 Natural Gas Drilling Law as Unconstitutional

In a 4-3 decision issued today in Robinson Township, et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (284 MD 2012), the Commonwealth Court struck down as unconstitutional Pennsylvania’s “Act 13”, a law that provided that natural gas well drilling, waste pits and pipelines be allowed in every zoning district, including residential districts.  In its 54-page opinion, the Court… Read More

Risks of Fracking Gas Well Leases: "Homeowners and Gas Well Drilling: Boon or Bust"

Underscoring the risks of Marcellus Shale formation gas well leases that we discussed in our post of December 4, 2011 is an EcoWatch article posted yesterday by New York attorney Elisabeth Radow, “Homeowners and Gas Well Drilling: Boon or Bust.”   It contains a thorough and extensive analysis of numerous issues relating to gas well drilling and… Read More

Congressional Research Services issues CRS Report to Congress on "Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline: Legal Issues"

On January 23, 2012, the Congressional Research Services issued a Report to Congress on “Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline: Legal Issues.”   The entire report (PDF, 29 pp.) can be found here.  The report analyzes a variety of legal issues, including: the sources of Presidential and State Department legal authority regarding cross-border facilities, reconciling the Executive… Read More

"Murder on Main Street" – The duty of sellers to disclose "property defects" to their buyers

[Update:  As we predicted, the Superior Court opinion in this matter has been vacated and reargument has been granted. 2012 Pa. Super. LEXIS 30 (2012)] The house with four bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, two car garage and a white picket fence seemed to be the young couple’s dream home, and – from all appearances – it was.  Or was it?  Not if you overheard the… Read More

Speaking of Lead Poisoning, EPA Finalizes New Rules on Air Pollution from Secondary Lead Smelters; Will Affect Exide Laureldale, PA Facility

Today’s Federal Register contains the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Air Act rules on air pollution from secondary lead smelters.   The new rule, amending the 1997 National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for secondary lead smelters, imposes more stringent emission limits for lead compounds, adds work practice standards for mercury emissions, and imposes new… Read More

Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Votes to Adopt New Recommendations to Reduce Childhood Lead Poisoning

The federal Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today voted to adopt new recommendations to reduce childhood lead poisoning. The recommendations are found here in a downloadable PDF document.  The CDC is expected to act on the Committee’s recommendations within 90 days. If adopted, the new approach would… Read More

The Perils of Natural Gas Well Drilling / "Fracking" Leases in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale

The New York Times’ exposé of the problems with natural gas/hydraulic fracturing continues with an illuminating article, “Learning Too Late of the Perils in Gas Well Leases.”  As the article says, “Americans have signed millions of leases allowing companies to drill for oil and natural gas on their land in recent years. But some of… Read More

National Park Service Issues Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Susquehanna-Roseland 500kV Transmission Line

Update: The National Park Service has now published the Final Environmental Statement on the project. See our September 1, 2012 post for updated information. The National Park Service has published its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for construction and right-of-way permit as requested by Pennsylvania Power and Light Electric Utilities Corporations (PPL) and Public Service Electric… Read More

EPA Orders Coal-Fired Portland Generating Station to Reduce Sulfur Dioxide Interstate Air Pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the coal-fired Portland Generating Station in Northampton County, PA to put an end to its interstate air pollution. In a 95-page decision issued on October 31, 2011, EPA ordered the plant, operated by GenOn REMA LLC (GenOn Energy), to reduce its sulfur dioxide emissions by 81 percent within three… Read More

EcoWatch: New National Environmental News Service

EcoWatch has launched its new national news service in partnership with Waterkeeper Alliance, the first media source to focus exclusively on news from more than 700 environmental organizations across the country. EcoWatch offers original content in its Insights column from national leaders in the environmental movement. It will provide nationwide and state-by-state environmental news, and… Read More

Chrin Landfill Agrees to Pay $114,00 DEP Fine for Odor & Air Violations

Chrin Brothers Sanitary Landfill has agreed to pay a $114,000 fine to the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection for odor, air pollution and waste management violations, according to an article in the Express-Times (Easton, PA).  It also agreed to withdraw an appeal of the fine which had been pending before the state Environmental Hearing Board.… Read More

National Research Council Issues New Report: "America's Climate Choices"

The National Research Council released today a new report, "America's Climate Choices", the final volume of the "America's Climate Choices" suite of activities. The report examines the nation’s options for responding to the risks posed by climate change. The report concludes that it is imprudent to further delay actions to substantially reduce greenhouse emissions, and offers… Read More

Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Pennsylvania Environmental Council Issue New Proposal to Reform Pennsylvania Laws on Natural Gas Drilling

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Pennsylvania Environmental Foundation (PEC) have submitted a legislative proposal to the Corbett administration and state lawmakers “designed to help ensure safe and responsible Marcellus Shale drilling and gas extraction in Pennsylvania.” The proposal sets forth detailed amendments to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act  to confer additional authority to regulate… Read More

Energy Department To Revamp Hydraulic Fracturing Rules for Natural Gas Extraction

The New York Times reports that the Department of Energy, acting on orders from President Obama, has established an expert panel to revise safety and environmental standards for hydraulic fracturing (so-called “fracking”). Hydraulic fracturing involves high-pressure injection of fluids into underground shale formations to break open natural gas pockets as a technique for extraction of natural gas… Read More

EPA Proposes Finding Northampton County PA Coal Power Plant Causes SO2 Air Pollution Violations in NJ

UPDATE: On October 31, 2011 the EPA Issued its final response to the New Jersey Petition, finding that the coal-fired Portland Generating Station in Upper Mount Bethel Township, PA is emitting air pollutants in violation of the interstate transport provisions of the Clean Air Act. EPA found that the plant’s SO2 emissions significantly contribute to nonattainment… Read More

Appeals Court Rejects Attempt to Void Zoning Hearings Due to Environmental Advisory Council Involvement

UPDATE: May 5, 2011  In an order issued today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied HYK Construction Company, Inc.'s petition for allowance of appeal of the Commonwealth Court's ruling.  In an important decision for Pennsylvania's Environmental Advisory Councils (EACs), Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court rejected a developer's attempt to void conditional use zoning hearings before a Board of Supervisors… Read More

Buyer Beware: Real Estate Developer "Resale Fees" Coming to Pennsylvania?

Update: The Pennsylvania General Assembly responded to this problem by enacting the Private Transfer Fee Obligation Act, 68 Pa. C.S. §8101, P.L. 40, No. 8, effective June 24, 2011.  The Act prohibits the fees described below. Buyers who are confronted with instruments that purport to impose such transfer fees should consult with counsel. The Act is… Read More

Rising Currents: Re-Visioning New York City Through the Lens of Climate Change

“Rising Currents”, a current exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art presents a dazzling synthesis of environmental science, art, architecture and visionary design. The work, by five interdisciplinary teams of design and architectural firms, re-visions the urban landscape of New York City to confront a world altered by rising sea levels and storm surges induced by… Read More

EPA Issues Final Rule "Tailoring" Permit Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On May 13, 2010 EPA took one more regulatory action to address climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by issuing its final rule setting thresholds for GHG emissions that define when permits are required under the major EPA programs for stationary sources. These include the New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and… Read More

Water, water, everywhere. Stormwater floods my property!

Stormwater is inundating my yard and getting into my basement.  Can I hold anyone responsible? With the assistance of other professionals, lawyers experienced in handling stormwater management and other environmental matters can generally ascertain what the problem is, what causes it, and how it can be solved. While the immutable forces of gravity and weather are… Read More

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Coal & Gas Industries Attack EPA's Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding

In a predictable legal free-for-all, industry groups joined the state of Texas and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce late last week in filing challenges to EPA’s “endangerment” finding for greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean AIr Act, while sixteen states and several environmental groups joined the fray by seeking to intervene in the industry challenges. The… Read More

LANTA and City of Easton Begin Environmental Review for Intermodal Transit Center

LANTA (Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority) has commenced the environmental review process for its proposed Intermodal Transit Center to be located on South Third Street in the City of Easton.  At a public meeting on February 18, 2010, project representatives made a public presentation of the project and began to receive public comments. The project’s purpose is “to provide a protected, off-street… Read More

PADEP/EQB Propose Overhaul of State NPDES Program Requirements

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) have proposed a complete reorganization and overhaul of the current Pennsylvania program regulations for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, monitoring and compliance.  As the public notice says, “The primary goal of the proposed rulemaking was to rebuild the regulation from scratch.” The new proposed… Read More

PADEP Proposes More Stringent Air Pollution Standards/NSR Rules for Fine Particulates

On February 6, 2010 The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) published a formal notice of proposed rulemaking to amend Pennsylvania’s New Source Review (NSR) rules to incorporate current federal requirements for fine particulate matter, so-called “PM 2.5”.  Recent federal revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for PM2.5 have made the standard much more stringent, reducing the primary… Read More

Chrin Brothers Landfill Appeals PADEP Fine for Air and Waste Violations

UPDATE:  Chrin Brothers has agreed to withdraw its appeal and to pay a fine of $114,000 and undertake new measures to minimize odors and air pollution problems. See our September 20, 2011 post. Chrin Brothers, Inc. has appealed the December 28, 2009 fine of $187,500 imposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) for… Read More

National Park Service to Evaluate 500kV Transmission Line to Cross Appalachian Trail and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

SECOND UPDATE: The National Park Service has now published the Final Environmental Statement on the project. See our September 1, 2012 post for updated information. UPDATE:  The National Park Service has published its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed action. It concludes that the preferred environmental alternative is the “no action” alternative. The public comment period on… Read More

Green Maps® Go Mobile: "What's Green Near You?"

GreenMap®,the global award-winning community & environmental mapmaking system, is launching its new mobile platform for smartphones, PDAs and other hand-held devices, making its Open Green Map system available to mobile phone users on-the-go.  The Lehigh Valley’s first Green Map – the Environmental Features of the City of Easton, Pennsylvania is now available for mobile users. The Green… Read More

EPA Announces New Proposed NAAQS (Air Quality) Standards for Ozone

The United States Environmental Protection Agency today announced a set of new proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, also known as “smog”. Ground-level ozone is linked to various serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. EPA is proposing… Read More

NRDC Offers Updated Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Projects Mapping & Profile

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has posted (December 5) new and updated information on Pennsylvania renewable energy projects. See NRDC Switchboard.  In its web-page “Renewable Energy for America – Harvesting the Benefits of Homegrown, Renewable Energy”, NRDC provides an interactive mapping tool showing the location, developer and energy production of existing and proposed renewable energy projects… Read More

EPA Releases 2009 Environmental Compliance Enforcement Action Record

EPA has released its 2009 Compliance Enforcement Actionsrecord. EPA’s site also includes an interactive mapping tool which allows the public to search and identify federal environmental enforcement actions in any geographic area.  The site allows searches by environmental media (air, water, land and cross-media) and by location. Significant enforcement actions taken by EPA in 2009 in… Read More

PADEP Grants Chrin Landfill 10-Year Permit Renewal; Imposes Fine and New Conditions

 The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) granted Chrin Brothers landfill in Williams Township, Pennsylvania a 10-year renewal of its municipal waste landfill permit, according to an Express-Times (Easton, PA) newspaper article linked here.  While granting the landfill a renewal of its operating permit, DEP also imposed a $187,500 fine for prior violations for off-site odors, nuisance minimization… Read More

Pa. Supreme Court Gives Victory to Mercury-Emitting Coal Power Plants; Invalidates State DEP Mercury Emission Limits

 The Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed a victory this week to coal-fired electric generating facilities when it invalidated Pennsylvania’s regulations limiting their emission of mercury.  In its December 23, 2009 decision, the Court found that the Pa. regulations could not stand after the legal basis for the rule – a federal EPA decision which provided for… Read More

PA DEP Proposes Major Revisions to Act 2 Requirements for Remediation of Contaminated Properties

 The Pa. Department of Environmental Protection has proposed new major revisions to Pennsylvania’s Act 2, Land Recycling Program requirements for the cleanup of contaminated real estate.  In a December 15, 2009 presentation to the Environmental Quality Board, DEP proposed to modify statewide cleanup standards for contaminated sites. Under the proposal, Pennsylvania would adopt the cleanup… Read More

Landlords beware: How not to evict a tenant!

 Q.     If a tenant doesn’t pay rent, should a landlord change the locks on the apartment, or cut off utilities such as heat, electric and water, or take the tenant’s property out of the apartment and sell it to pay the rent?  A.     No.  Our advice is to use only legal proceedings to collect rent… Read More