Standing To Challenge Environmental Reviews At Issue Once Again

New York courts have grappled for many years with the issue of who has legal standing to challenge the environmental review, under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), of proposed development project by a governmental agency (such as local planning board).   This issue has been a contentious one since the Court of Appeals decided Society of Plastics Indus. v. County of Suffolk, 77 NY2d 761 (1991), in which the Court held that a party seeking to challenge an agency’s compliance with SEQRA must first show that it has suffered an injury different from that of the public at large and that such injury is within SEQRA’s “zone of interest.” Numerous cases, many commenced by environmental or citizen groups seeking to challenge the SEQRA review of a proposed project by a local governing board, have grappled with the scope and intent of this Society of Plastics standing rule.  This article briefly highlights two recent cases on this issue.

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Second Circuit Court of Appeals Clarifies Cost Recovery Rights Under CERCLA

In W.R. Grace & Co. v. Zotos International, Inc., ___ F3d___, WL 564048  (2nd Cir., 2009), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the question of whether and under what specific circumstances a potentially responsible party (PRP) can seek recovery of its response costs against another PRP under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Three specific CERCLA provisions relating to cost recovery and contribution rights for parties which have incurred response costs cleaning up a contaminated site were the focus of the Second Circuit’s analysis in W.R. Grace:

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Fourth Department Upholds DEC Denial of Brownfield Cleanup Program Application

In the Matter of Lighthouse Pointe Property Associates LLC, v. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, et al., Appellate Division, Fourth Department, 2009 NY  Slip Op 00878 (Feb. 6, 2009)

This article focuses on a area of environmental law – the New York Brownfield Cleanup Program – which is the subject of much recent controversy and litigation. 

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