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
    • April 13: RCRA Update

      RCRA Update: A Bedrock Federal and State Environmental Program that continues to Evolve

      April 13, 2017

      1:00 p.m. to 4:00  p.m. 

      Register online today!

      New York State Bar Center
      One Elk Street
      Albany, New York 12207

       Program Chairs:          
      Barry R. Kogut,Esq.,  Bond Schoeneck and King 
      Lawrence P. Schnapf, Esq., Principal, Schnapf LLC 

      The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which was passed by Congress in 1976, brought a much-needed “cradle to grave” tracking of hazardous waste and introduced a remediation program that parallels remediation schemes found under federal and state superfund programs.  RCRA is among the list of federal programs that can be delegated to the states and New York has a delegated RCRA program administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) that has a number of unique New York provisions.

       RCRA was originally focused on ongoing manufacturing operations, but it has since evolved on both the federal and state levels so that it can apply to a broad universe of properties.  RCRA obligations may be triggered at brownfield sites and purchasers of commercial property may unwittingly find themselves having to comply with generator closure obligations of a former business. 

       An understanding of the nuances of RCRA regulatory requirements, remediation and enforcement is critical to the environmental law practitioner.  Yet, it is often difficult to find a CLE program that offers the kind of guidance that attorneys need to assist the regulated community with RCRA regulatory compliance and corrective action situations.  Thus, the Environmental Law Section is pleased to provide the Section members with a unique opportunity to gain insights on current RCRA topics from both federal and state representatives and submit questions in what is often an arcane area of environmental law.  We welcome you to attend in person at the offices of the New York State Bar Association in Albany or participate online as the program will be webcast. 


       1:00 p.m. - 1:10  p.m. - Introduction 

       1:10 p.m. - 2:00 p. m. - EPA Regulatory and Enforcement UpdateHazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule

      • Changes in solid waste definition relating to legitimate recycling
      • RCRA brownfield redevelopment initiatives
      • Hot topics in RCRA enforcement
      • Interplay with State regulatory authorities, including funding and enforcement oversight

       Peter J. Raack, Esq.  Attorney Advisor, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Washington, D.C.

       2:00 -2:50       NYSDEC Regulatory Update
      Recent and upcoming revisions to NYSDEC RCRA regulations
       Initiatives involving solvent-contaminated wipes, pharmacies and retail facilities 
      Interplay of the “contained-in” determination rule in the context of brownfield cleanups

       Thomas J. Killeen, P.E. - Chief, RCRA Permitting Section, NYSDEC, Albany, New York
      Benjamin A. Conlon, Esq. - Associate Attorney/Bureau Chief, NYSDEC, Albany, New York

      2:50-3:10        Break

       3:10 -4:00       NYSDEC Enforcement Update

      • NYSDEC enforcement procedures, including compliance and inspection issues 
      • Permitting, corrective action obligations of interim status facilities, generator closure obligations for purchasers and financial assurance requirements
      • Scope of EPA oversight
      • RCRA war stories with important themes   

       Benjamin A. Conlon, Esq.  Associate Attorney/Bureau Chief, NYSDEC, Albany, New York

      For further information, contact Lisa Bataille 
      (518) 487-5680

      Register online today!

    • May 3: Environmental Law Section Legislative Forum and Luncheon


      Save the Date

      Wednesday, May 3, 2017- State Bar Center, Albany

      10:00 am – 2:00 pm State Bar Center, Albany

      Additional details will be coming soon.

    • June 2017: Toxic Tort Litigation

      Toxic Tort Litigation

      Click the dates below for additional information and/or to register online.

      Friday, June 2, 2017
      9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | 0EQ01
      New York State Bar Association
      1 Elk Street | Albany, NY | 12207

      Friday, June 2, 2017
      9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | 0EQ03
      Melville Marriott
      1350 Walt Whitman Road | Melville, L.I., NY | 11747

      Friday, June 9, 2017
      9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | 0EQ02
      Hyatt Place Buffalo
      5020 Main Street| Amherst, NY | 14226

      Friday, June 9, 2017 (WEBCAST)
      9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | 0EQ04
      New York Society of Security Analysts
      1540 Broadway | New York, NY | 10036

      Program Co-Sponsors
      Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section
      Committee on Continuing Legal Education
      Environmental Law Section

    • June 8: Annual Oil Spill Symposium Save the Date

      8th Annual Oil Spill Symposium

      State Bar Center
      One Elk Street | Albany, NY

      Details will be forthcoming.

    • October 20-22: Save the Date - Envi Fall Meeting, Saratoga Springs, NY

      Environmental Law Section Fall Meeting

      October 20-22, 2017
      Embassy Suites | Saratoga Springs, NY

      Look for information in the coming months!

  • 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.

    To receive your issue of The New York Environmental Lawyer in an electronic format only, send an email to NYSBA's Member Resource Center at mrc@nysba.org.

    Read Now>

  • Online Community

    We are pleased to announce the launch of an Internet-based private online professional Community for the Environmental Law Section. We invite you to participate. Members of our Section run the gamut from law students and newly admitted attorneys who are just finding their way all the way to national and international experts in many categories of environmental law. We want all of you to share your experiences and your knowledge while also being free to ask questions of others in the Section and participating in the intellectual discourse we hope to generate. 

    Enter here. (Member log-in required).