Crains New York Business reports that two bills related to recovery from Superstorm Sandy were passed unanimously by the New York City Council on March 13, 2013.
One bill creates additional City oversight over the physical elevation of homes, in an effort to prevent home collapse or construction accidents associated with subpar construction work. According to the press release announcing this bill, the legislation requires that:
- Construction plans clearly state whether a project will involve home elevation work;
- Contractors give 48 hours’ notice to the Department of Buildings before elevating a home, which will give the Department the opportunity to monitor the work;
- Home elevation work be done under the supervision of an approved special inspector; and
- The Department of Consumer Affairs provide education to the public regarding the types of work home improvement contractors can do, and the licenses and permits needed by such contractors to do different kinds of work, including home elevation work.
The other bill waives fees for various City applications, permits, and inspections associated with the repair or reconstruction of Sandy-damaged property used by small businesses.
For more information about this legislation and other Sandy recovery measures, please contact Michael Bogin or Steven Barshov.
The US Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has decided to add the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY to the National Priorities List, which will render the canal a Superfund site under the federal Superfund statute, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”).
Yale Environment 360 features a piece on why New York City is greener than Vermont, which was recently ranked as the greenest place in the U.S. by Forbes magazine. David Owen, writer for the New Yorker, argues that Forbes got it wrong, and that New York City is in fact a greener location.
Owen writes that the efficiencies created by population density make New York the most ecologically-friendly place to live. Of course, many New Yorkers do not own or drive cars, relying instead on public transit. He argues that smaller living quarters discourage consumption of consumer goods. Dense urban living also reduces potential impacts on land; if the city’s residents were spread out at the population density of Vermont, they would occupy all the land in New England plus four mid-Atlantic states.
Dot Earth highlights a new study out in MIT’s Sloan Management Review, from its First Annual Business of Sustainability Survey.
The MIT report finds that 92% of respondents say their company is taking action to address sustainability, but most companies are not doing more than required to meet regulatory requirements. Read more at the links below.
The Wall Street Journal’s Environmental Capital examines the implications of a national electrical transmission grid. Some have argued that a national power grid is a necessary facilitator for developing more renewable energy sources. However, a report released by the Duke Climate Change Policy Partnership points out that a national electricity grid could also facilitate transmission of energy from coal-fired plants in remote locations, possibly offsetting carbon reductions from renewable sources. Meanwhile, funding is returning to the wind energy markets.
Todd Woody at Green Inc. takes a look at the financing and Power Purchase Agreement arrangements between Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and BrightSource Energy, a solar plant developer from Oakland, CA. The transaction also included a technology royalty agreement, the first of its kind that PG&E has entered into. Read the full account at the link below.
The federal governments is now taking applications in support of “bio-mass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities.” Environmental Capital takes a look at how the $3B in funding will be divvied up.