January 28, 2014
On February 5-7, 2014, SPR principals Daniel Riesel and Pamela Esterman will co-chair the 44th annual ALI CLE Environmental Law Course in Washington, DC. The course, which is co-sponsored by ALI CLE and the Environmental Law Institute, will feature advanced-level presentations by senior public officials, distinguished law professors, seasoned private practitioners, and experienced public interest advocates. In addition to chairing the course, Daniel Riesel will co-lead a panel on citizen suits and government enforcement initiatives, and Pamela Esterman will co-lead a panel on ethical issues associated with the use of technology. SPR principal Jeffrey B. Gracer will co-lead a panel on environmental issues in business and real estate transactions. EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow will deliver the course’s keynote address.
Additional panels will provide updates and explore recent trends in
- CERCLA and hazardous waste;
- air pollution and climate change;
- NEPA and environmental justice;
- water resources, water quality, and wetlands;
- environmental issues in the development and production of energy;
- global environmental agreements; and
- the Endangered Species Act and public lands.
For those unable to attend the live conference in Washington, D.C., this program is also available via video webcast. For more detailed information and online registration, please visit the course website.
January 3, 2014
As anticipated, EPA finalized a rule on Monday adopting the revised ASTM E1527-13 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process” as a standard by which parties may comply with the “All Appropriate Inquiries” Rule, 40 CFR Part 312. ASTM released the revised E1527-13 standard on November 6, 2013. Curiously, the newly revised EPA rule does not delete reference to the previous ASTM standard, E1527-05. In the Federal Register notice finalizing the rule, EPA indicated that it intends to propose, in the near future, an amendment to 40 CFR Part 312 removing reference to the E1527-05 standard. In its response to comments received on the new rule, EPA noted that it “…agrees with commenters that the revised ASTM E1527-13 standard includes improvements to the previous standard and its use will result in greater clarity for prospective purchases with regard to potential contamination at a property. Therefore, EPA recommends that environmental professionals and prospective purchasers use the ASTM E1527-13 standard.”
For more information on the ASTM standard, AAI, Phase I reports, or environmental due diligence, please contact Christine Leas
November 27, 2013
Last week, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (“GAHP”) released a report examining laws governing the remediation of contaminated properties in seven Latin America countries, as well as the United States, and identifying best practices. The report, entitled “Regulatory Best Practices for Remediation of Legacy Toxic Contamination,” was produced by the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice. The Blacksmith Institute, a nonprofit focused on global toxic pollution issues which serves as the secretariat for the GAHP, also assisted in the production of the report.
SPR attorneys Jeff Gracer and Devin McDougall served as United States Coordinating Counsel for the report.
The six recommendations identified in the report are:
1. Create clear numeric guidelines for establishing whether a site is contaminated. Although contaminated sites are often defined as sites where pollution is present at levels that may present a threat to human health and the environment, it is useful to enact regulations that specifically define what those levels are, so that sites can be readily identified as candidates for further investigation and remediation.
2. Use commercial events to identify contaminated sites. Evaluation of historic contamination can be required when project proponents are applying for permits, and when industrial facilities are being bought and sold or decommissioned. These triggers will result in the identification of contaminated sites at a time when funding for investigation and remediation is most likely to be available.
3. Create incentives for voluntary remediation. Laws and regulations should make it easy for private parties to come forward on a voluntary basis to address legacy contamination. These incentives can include resolution of existing liability for site owners, liability exemptions for prospective purchasers, tax exemptions and tax credits, remediation funding grants, and other governmental incentives.
4. Create a clear and efficient remediation process. One of the most significant barriers to environmental cleanup is the uncertainty surrounding applicable cleanup standards, the complexity of the process, and the involvement of multiple governmental agencies with overlapping jurisdiction. Experience has shown that published cleanup standards, a simple process for engagement with the government, and clear delineations of which agency has jurisdiction over a particular cleanup will encourage increased private sector participation.
5. Provide meaningful opportunities for public review and comment. Environmental remediation regulations and practices often benefit from input from members of the business community who will be called upon to effectuate cleanups and also by members of communities who live in close proximity to contaminated sites. Site remediation plans may also be more pragmatic and tailored to actual risk if they are subject to prior public review and comment.
6. Develop effective mechanisms to address abandoned sites. Sites that are not subject to commercial activity or voluntary remediation can be the most troublesome from a governmental perspective. Governments should consider creating a registry of such sites so that they can be identified for investigation and evaluated as candidates for future remediation. Sites should be prioritized for clean-up based on a clear methodology established by the government to address those that pose the greatest risk first. Government funding can be made available to remediate such sites through a combination of lawsuits against former owners and operators or, if no responsible party can be reached, through other mechanism for funding in appropriate cases. Future “orphan” sites can be avoided by requiring environmentally sensitive operations to purchase environmental insurance policies.
For more information about the development of remediation policies in Latin America, please contact Jeff Gracer.
October 10, 2013
Eight SPR partners have been honored as top environmental attorneys in the New York Metro Area by Super Lawyers Magazine for 2013. Super Lawyers is a listing of “outstanding lawyers … who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.”
Michael S. Bogin, Mark A. Chertok, Dan Chorost, Scott E. Furman, Jeffrey B. Gracer, and David S. Yudelson were named as among the best lawyers in the environmental field. David Paget and Daniel Riesel were honored in the environmental litigation field. More attorneys from SPR were selected in these two fields than from any other law office in the New York Metro Area.
Super Lawyers creates an annual list of outstanding attorneys after conducting a “rigorous and multiphase process” that includes polling, peer nominations, and independent evaluations of professional activity, transactions, and honors.
For more information about Super Lawyers Magazine and its selection process, visit its website.
August 27, 2013
Earlier this month, the New York Times published a series of articles discussing the ways in which the Bloomberg administration has changed New York City, in the process highlighting a number of major development projects for which SPR provided legal counsel.
The centerpiece of this series is an interactive map, entitled “Reshaping New York,” which provides, via a combination of photos and computer graphics, visualizations of how New York City has changed in the past twelve years. Notably, 37% of the city was rezoned, 40,000 new buildings were constructed, and about 800 acres of city parkland were added.
Advice from SPR attorneys helped many of the projects featured on the map come to fruition. Such projects include:
August 19, 2013
In the 2014 edition of the joint U.S. News and World Report & Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings, Sive, Paget and Riesel was ranked as “Tier One” for both environmental law and environmental litigation in New York City. The distinction of achieving Tier One status for both environmental law and environmental litigation in New York City was shared by only one other firm.
Four SPR partners were recognized as “Best Lawyers” for environmental law: Michael Bogin, Mark A. Chertok, Jeffrey B. Gracer, and David Paget. Four SPR partners were also recognized as “Best Lawyers” for environmental litigation: Mark A. Chertok, Jeffrey B. Gracer, David Paget, and Daniel Riesel. Additionally, Mark A. Chertok was listed as a “Best Lawyer” for land use and zoning law.
Furthermore, David Paget was recognized by Best Lawyers as the 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” for New York City environmental litigation. Reflecting SPR’s leadership in the New York City environmental bar, the 2013 “Lawyer of the Year” for New York City environmental litigation (Daniel Riesel) and New York City environmental law (Mark A. Chertok) were also SPR partners.
The U.S. News and World Report & Best Lawyers rankings are based on “a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.”
June 19, 2013
Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C. (“SPR”) is pleased to announce that Scott Furman and John Curran have joined SPR as partners.
Scott brings with him a diverse environmental practice focusing on corporate and real estate transactions, brownfield redevelopment, renewable energy development and regulatory compliance. During his 25-plus years of practice, Scott has advised a broad range of clients with respect to complex corporate and real estate transactions, real estate development and renewable energy projects involving facilities throughout the United States and abroad. Scott’s broad technical knowledge of environmental issues and solutions has proven effective in navigating matters for his clients and successfully negotiating with purchasers, sellers, lenders, insurers and environmental agencies in multiple jurisdictions. Having worked on transactions ranging from several hundred thousand dollars to several billion dollars, he has a demonstrated sensitivity not only to the timing aspects of every transaction, but also to the relationships between cost and benefit in analyzing and developing solutions that are consistent with the clients’ business objectives.
John has broad experience in environmental and construction law, both as an advisor and litigator. Over the course of his career, John has represented residential, commercial and industrial real property owners, operators, developers, cooperatives and condominium associations, design professionals, construction managers, contractors and lenders. John counsels clients in all aspects of construction law and assists clients in navigating complex issues relating to real estate acquisition and development, property management and management of environmental conditions. John also has extensive experience in all aspects of sophisticated commercial litigation and dispute resolution. As a litigator, John has successfully handled matters involving environmental liability, cost recovery and cleanup, construction defects and contract claims, land use, loan workouts, commercial and residential leases, employment, franchise and commercial unfair competition and non-competition matters. A frequent speaker and author on construction topics, John is an adjunct professor in Construction Law at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
Older Posts »