Environmental Law Section

  • Welcome to the Environmental Law Section
    Welcome to the Environmental Law Section The purpose of this Section is to bring together members of the New York State Bar Association who are interested in environmental law for furtherance of the public interest in an effective and fair legal framework for protection of the human and natural environment.
  • Upcoming Events
    • Environmental Law Section Annual Meeting: Thursday, January 29, 2015

      Environmental Law Section Annual Meeting Events
      Thursday, January 29, 2015
      New York Hilton Midtown
      Murray Hill East, 2nd Floor
      1335 Avenue of the Americas (between W. 53rd and 54th)
      New York City

      • Environmental Law EPA Update
      • Section Business Meeting and Reception

      Environmental Law EPA Update
      5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

      CERCLA:  Coordinating Redevelopment at the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site
      Speaker: Brian Carr, Esq., Assistant Regional  Attorney, EPA Region 2, NYC

      Climate Change and Air: 
      - 111(d) proposed rulemaking: Clean Power Plan
      - Supreme Court Decision: UARG v. EPA
      - Supreme Court Decision: EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P.
      - Affirmative Defense:  recent litigation and proposed rulemaking
      Speaker: Mary McHale, Esq.,
       Assistant Regional  Attorney, EPA Region 2, NYC

      - Waters of the United States Rulemaking and Farm Conservation Practices Interpretive Rule
      - Cooling Water Intake Rule
      - Construction and Development Stormwater Effluent Limitation Guidelines
      Speaker: Christopher Saporita, Esq.,
       Assistant Regional  Attorney, EPA Region 2, NYC

      There is no charge to attend the EPA Update but registration is required. Contact Kathy Plog at kplog@nysba.org to reserve your seat for the EPA Update.


      Section Business Meeting
      6:10 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

      The business meeting will honor Section Award Recipient, The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. 

      The Section Council will bestow the Section Council Award to: Marla E. Wieder and Randall C. Young.

      The Section will also honor and present a certificate of remembrance in honor of former Section Chair, Ernest J. Ierardi.

      7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

      The Meeting and Reception are open to all Section members and there will be a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres. 


      The Section’s MCLE Program will be held on Friday, January 30th beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the East Ballroom on the 3rd Floor.   The Section's Luncheon follows at 12:30 p.m. in the Murray Hill Room on the 2nd Floor.

      Register Online Now!   Or download Annual Meeting Registration Form and return with your payment by faxing to 518.463.5993

      Program Agenda            

      To reserve a table at the luncheon download Luncheon Table Reservation Form and return to Lori Nicoll with your payment by faxing to 518.463.5993

    • Environmental Law Section Annual Meeting: Friday, January 30, 2015

      Friday, January 30, 2015
      Meeting 8:30 a.m. – 12:25 p.m.
      12:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

      Under New York’s MCLE rule, this program has been approved for a total of 4 MCLE credits which consist of 3.5 credits in Professional Practice and .5 credit in Ethics.  This program is NOT a transitional program and does not qualify for newly admitted attorneys.

      Topics will be: 1. Addressing some of the common regulatory issues encountered in developments in New York’s coastal zone. These include tidal wetlands and coastal erosion hazard area regulations, storm water regulation and brownfields issues associated with the state’s industrial waterfront history. We will also address topics that are becoming increasingly important in light of climate change—driven sea level rise, including changes to the FEMA Flood Risk Insurance Maps, changes to municipal building codes, and new state legislation that will require state agencies to consider future physical climate risks caused by storm surges, sea level rise or flooding in certain permitting, funding and regulatory decisions.

      2. Toxic tort liability at contaminated sites, which can often rival cleanup costs in significance, but liability releases from DEC do not cover common law claims for bodily injury or property damage. This panel will focus on recent court decisions in toxic tort cases and explore the implications of these rulings on seminal issues, including what/when statute of limitations are triggered, the application of CPLR 214-c and Daubert issues.

      3. Ethics Potpourri (1/2 credit).

      The Environmental Law Section suggests the Herb N’ Chicken deli and coffee bar for your breakfast and snack needs during the Annual Meeting.  It is located on the Lobby Level of the Hilton.   Only coffee, tea and soft drinks will be provided at the Section Meeting. 

      Hilton’s new concept restaurant, Herb N’ Kitchen, features seasonal salads, artisanal sandwiches and brick oven pizzas. A barista zone offers specialty coffees to enjoy either in the restaurant or on the go. Breakfast buffet served daily from 6:30AM to 11:00AM (last seating 11:00AM). Coffee and light fare items available to take away from 6:00AM to 1:00AM.

      Register Online Now!   Or download Annual Meeting Registration Form and return with your payment by faxing to 518.463.5993

      Program Agenda            

      To reserve a table at the luncheon download Luncheon Table Reservation Form and return to Lori Nicoll with your payment by faxing to 518.463.5993.

    • January 30: Joint Program on Gaming Casinos



      Gaming Casinos: Learn from the Past to Prepare for the Future  


      Senator Boancic State Senator John Bonacic, Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Racing Gaming and Wagering to Lead Panel on Legal Challenges For Real Estate, Environmental and Municipal Law Attorneys in Selecting Sites for Gaming Casinos

      Friday, January 30, 2015
      2:15 pm – 4:15 pm

      Gibson Suite, 2nd floor
      New York Hilton Midtown
      1335 Avenue of the Americas 
      (between 53rd and 54th Streets)

      Real Property Law Section Chair
      David L. Berkey, Esq.
      Gallet Dreyer & Berkey LLP
      New York

      Environmental Law Section Chair
      Terresa M. Bakner, Esq.
      Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP

      Municipal Law Section Chair
      Mark Davies, Esq.

      In 2013, the New York State Legislature, with the approval of the voters, enacted the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act.  Pursuant to the Act, the New York State Gaming Commission created a Gaming Facility Location Board to entertain and evaluate proposals from various entities seeking to establish a limited number of full-fledged gaming casinos in upstate New York.  Article 2 of the Act, entitled “Facility Determination and Licensing” sets forth the comprehensive procedure that applicants had to follow in seeking to obtain a casino gaming license from the New York State Gaming Commission.  This statute, which appears to override local zoning and placed a strong emphasis on compliance with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) presents challenges and opportunities to real estate, environmental law and municipal law attorneys.  

      On December 17, 2014, the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board recommended the operators of three sites in the Hudson Valley/Catskill, Capital and Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Districts to be given gaming licenses from the New York State Gaming Commission.  The final decision will be made in early 2015 by the Commission itself.

      We are most pleased to have as our keynote speaker New  York State Senator John Bonacic, Esq., Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering.  There is no individual in New York State more knowledgeable and more forceful in regard to New York State’s efforts to approve gaming casinos than Senator Bonacic.  

      After Senator Bonacic’s keynote address, a knowledgeable panel of attorneys will outline the application process and the criteria utilized by the Gaming Facility Location Board in recommending appropriate sites for casino developments.  Attorneys who have represented gaming casino applicants will discuss the land use and environmental challenges faced by their clients in navigating the complex site selection process and in fending off local opposition to gaming casinos.  Further, a municipal attorney will discuss the “host benefit” packages which were proffered to Towns and Villages by gaming casino applicants.    

      The three initial sites for gaming casinos recommended by the Gaming Facility Location Board have already engendered either glee or disappointment among the applicants.  This program certainly is a “hot topic” which should be of widespread interest to members of the State Bar Association. 


      • Keynote Speaker John Bonacic, Esq., Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Gaming, Racing and Wagering
      • Virginia C. Robbins, Bond Schoeneck & King, Syracuse, New York
      • Daniel A. Ruzow, Whiteman Osterman Hanna, Albany, New York
      • Joel H. Sachs, Keane & Beane, P.C., White Plains, New York.

      Please note this is a free program that does not offer CLE credit. 

      Note: You are not required to pay the NYSBA Annual Meeting General registration fee of $88 to attend this program.

      Preregistration is required. Register online, or contact Amy Jasiewicz at: ajasiewicz@nysba.org, or (518) 487-5682.



    • April 14, 2015 Oil Spill Symposium


      6th Annual Oil Spill Symposium

      Tuesday, April 14, 2015
      State Bar Center
      One Elk Street
      Albany, NY  12207

      $55 - Environmental Law Section Members
      $80 - All others

      This program does not qualify for MCLE credit.

      Symposium details will be available soon!

      Click to register online.

      Questions - please contact Kathy Plog at kplog@nysba.org or 518-487-5681.

    • Save the Date - 2015 Fall Meeting

      Environmental Law Section
      Fall Meeting
      October 2 - 4, 2015 
      Gideon Putnam Resort
      Saratoga Springs, NY

      Mark your calendars to save this date.  More details coming soon!

  • Envirosphere- Blog

    About Envirosphere

    Welcome to Envirosphere, the blog created and managed by the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. The Section’s membership is extremely varied, as it includes attorneys from the public and private sectors, environmental organizations, and academia.

    Envirosphere is intended to provide timely notice of legal events affecting environmental lawyers from all of these varied sectors. These legal events include recent cases, new regulations, new government policies, and general news of interest on the environmental front.

    To view Envirosphere, click here.

  • NY Environmental Lawyer


    The New York Environmental Lawyer features peer-written substantive articles relating to the practice of environmental law on various topics, including climate change, brownsfields, pollution, air quality, wetlands and superfunds. Regular columns include  recent administrative and judicial cases, ethics issues, EPA and DEC updates and Section news. The New York Environmental Lawyer is published by the Environmental Law Section and distributed to Section Members free of charge.

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