Corporate and Real Estate Transactions

EPA Issues Enforcement Discretion Memo for Routine Civil Violations Arising from COVID-19 Pandemic

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has issued a Memo announcing that it will temporarily exercise enforcement discretion for certain civil violations where the non-compliance was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contrary to many news reports, EPA is not providing a sweeping opportunity for business to pollute at will. Instead, the policy is a targeted …

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NYSDEC Determines Remedial Activities Are “Essential Services” Under Governor’s Executive Order

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a new Executive Order No. 202.8 (EO 202.8) “Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency ” requiring all businesses and not-for-profit entities to require 100%  of  workers to work from home effective at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 22, 2020.Businesses …

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New DEC Interactive Map Expedites Environmental Due Diligence

Performing environmental due diligence has become easier with the launch of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation DECInfo Locator. Until the launch of this website, consultants and attorneys seeking information about contaminated sites had to file requests under the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The limited NYSDEC FOIL staff usually took weeks …

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Remedial Program Reform Proposals for EPA Administrator Pruitt

Regulatory reform is at the centerpiece of the Trump Administration’s plan to stimulate economic growth. During the presidential campaign, candidate Trump vowed to rollback a variety of Obama Administration Climate Change Initiatives but said little about EPA remedial programs such as the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or superfund). Based on …

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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

The collective wit and wisdom from three decades of practicing environmental law (in no order of importance). 1.Thou shall not call the environmental lawyer the day before the closing 2. Thou shall not accept without further inquiry a Phase 1 reports that says there are no RECs 3. Thou shall be concerned when the Phase …

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Court Dismisses Action Against DEC For Breach of VCA

A 20-year old voluntary cleanup agreement (VCA) was the subject of the dispute before the New York Court of Claims in Alaskan Oil, Inc., v. State of New York, Claim No. 116072 Motion No. CM-81863 (Ct. Claims 7/25/16). In this case, claimant Alaskan Oil Inc. acquired approximately 40 properties owned by Parrish Energy Fuels, Inc., …

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NY Court of Appeals Finds PRP Letter Triggers Contractual Indemnification

The New York State Court of Appeals held that a PRP letter issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was sufficient to trigger an indemnity obligation under a purchase and sale agreement. While lower courts have found PRP letters to constitute “suits” within the meaning of  a Comprehensive General Liability policy …

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Principal New York State Environmental Laws Impacting Commercial Leasing Transactions

Parties to commercial leasing transactions frequently overlook environmental issues because they believe that tenants who do not use large quantities of hazardous chemicals will not be exposed to significant environmental liability. Consequently, the parties may do little to no environmental due diligence and use obsolete or boilerplate lease provision that do not specifically allocate environmental …

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Lender that Sold Contaminated Property Agrees to $1.4MM Settlement

We have previously reported on instances where banks have incurred cleanup costs in connection with properties they have sold.  For some examples, click here, here, here, here and here The latest installment of this saga involves Bank of America (BOA) which agreed to pay $1.4MM as part of a settlement involving a dry cleaner property that a …

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