New York City Planning Commission Approves Zoning Changes Aimed at Meeting City’s Climate Goals

On September 11, 2023, the New York City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the first of several rezoning proposals from Mayor Eric Adams aimed at reducing carbon emissions to reach the city’s climate goals. Specifically, New York has set the year 2050 as the target date by which it hopes to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 percent. The rezoning proposal, called the “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality,” includes 17 citywide zoning changes that are designed to remove “barriers to greener energy, buildings, and water …

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downtown manhattan orange sky

NYC Proposes New Indoor Air Quality Regs to Combat Orange Dystopia

In the fall of 2020, when New Yorkers saw photos and videos of orange skies over San Francisco caused by the Bay Area’s infamous fog, combined with heavy smoke from what seemed like non-stop wildfires raging throughout California, it looked like a dystopian movie landscape, or even another planet. Even more surreal, Californians in these vivid images were often wearing masks — not necessarily as protection against the smoky skies, but, rather, as protection from a global pandemic. With time, however, the memory of those …

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recyclable packing

New York May Adopt Extended Producer-Responsibility Laws to Combat Consumer Waste

New York may be on board to be the fifth state in the nation to hold producers responsible for packaging products. 

Thus far, Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California have enacted extended producer-responsibility laws.  The EPR laws assign both financial and operational responsibility for the end of life of products, and are an important tool for managing and lowering consumer waste. In other words, the programs require the producers of packaging products to finance the costs of recycling or disposing of products that consumers no longer …

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Aerial view to industrial zone and technology park.

New York State Passes Landmark Environmental Justice Legislation

On the final day of 2022, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law the Cumulative Impacts Bill (CIB), which both houses of New York State’s legislature had passed eight months earlier in the year (language here: S.8830 and A.2103D). The legislation amends New York’s Environmental Quality Review Act by now requiring the State to consider during its permitting approval and renewal processes an analysis of the “cumulative impacts” on overburdened communities that could result over time from the introduction or expansion of facilities …

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Cryptocurrency mining rigs in a data center

While the Crypto Financial World Burns, New York Passes Law Preventing Crypto Miners from Burning More Fossil Fuels

A few weeks after her election as New York’s first female governor, and a couple days before New Yorkers sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Nov. 22 finally signed an environmental conservation moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations, which both houses of state’s Legislature passed over the summer. (The bill’s progress was followed and reported on by ELM all year, most recently here.)

For two years, the law will disallow crypto mining companies from using the energy-intensive “proof-of-work” method to mint …

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New York State Continues to Slow Down Accelerating Crypto Mining Industry Growth Upstate

Just weeks after both houses of the New York State legislature finally passed an environmental-conservation moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations (as previously reported by ELM here: New York is Ready to Attack Crypto Mining), the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) announced its long-awaited decision concerning the air permit renewal application by a former coal-fired plant near Seneca Lake. The facility, purchased and refurbished by Greenidge Generation to run an extensive crypto mining business, has been dependent on roughly 17,000 servers. As previously addressed …

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New York is Ready to Attack Crypto Mining

On June 3, 2022, the New York State Senate passed the first bill in the country that bans certain cryptocurrency (crypto) mining operations. This bill, passed by the New York State Assembly in April 2022, now goes to Governor Kathy Hochul for her signature. The bill imposes a two-year moratorium on crypto mining operations that “require proof-of-work authentication methods to validate block chain transaction.” The bill would also require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to prepare a “generic” environmental impact statement on cryptocurrency mining operations using proof-of-work authentication …

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Long Island Water Districts Settle Claims Arising from Alleged 1,4-Dioxane Contamination

You may have read about the slew of lawsuits filed over the past few years by Long Island water districts seeking to recover damages arising from alleged contamination of drinking water supplies by 1,4-dioxane. Our blog has covered them here, here, here, and here.

There is news on the settlement front. One of the primary defendants and the U.S. government have agreed to resolutions in two cases: Bethpage (in the amount of $49 million) and South Farmingdale (in the amount of …

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Smaller NY Water Systems No Longer Exempt: Adoption of Emerging Contaminants List Yields Expected Testing of PFAS

On December 23, 2021, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a new amendment to the public health law that will create New York’s first emerging contaminants list, and expand the number of chemicals to be included—many of which are per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS). Some say this new law establishes New York as perhaps the strictest jurisdiction in the U.S. with respect to testing drinking water for PFAS. Under the new legislation, titled “An act to amend the public health law, in relation to establishing …

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New York’s Statewide Ban on “Styrofoam” Starts January 1, 2022

Earlier this year the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) published proposed regulations relating to a statewide ban on the use of polystyrene foam (commonly known as Styrofoam) containers and loose fill packaging. With the comment period now closed, the polystyrene foam ban is set to go into effect on January 1, 2022.  

The ban will prohibit any person engaged in the business of selling or distributing prepared food or beverages for on- or off-site consumption from selling, offering for sale, or …

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