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The New York State Superfund provides for investigation and cleanup of sites that pose a significant threat to public health and the environment due to contamination by hazardous wastes. The Superfund's chief source of revenue has been the Environmental Quality Bond Act, which provides $1.1 billion for the cleanup of hazardous waste disposal sites. State environment officials, however, predict that these funds will run out in 2001, leaving more than 300 hazardous waste sites contaminated. Furthermore, the Superfund has never provided for the cleanup of toxic sites that may be dangerous but are not contaminated by hazardous wastes as defined in the Superfund legislation. Environmental officials estimate that at least 100 of these sites, known as "hazardous substance sites," pose a significant threat to the environment or to public health, and that the State's share of remediation costs would be at least $250 million. To put the problem into historical perspective, this article discusses the revenue sources and expenditure of the State Superfund to date.
As development pressures mount, local governments throughout the State of New York are searching for methods of retaining the open character of their communities. In most of these communities, the search for ways to preserve open lands includes an analysis of the extensive authority local governments have in New York to limit the development of privately-owned land through land use regulations. The topic addressed in this article is the financial authority that local governments themselves have to raise revenues to purchase such lands or their development rights. This article explores the sources of local legal authority to spend public funds to purchase interests in open lands, the types of programs that localities in New York have established using this authority, and the particular methods localities have used to raise such funds. The details of establishing capital reserve funds and purchasing land through the installment sale method are also described. Finally, the article illustrates these methods by discussing the programs established in several communities in New York.
Between 1970 and 1975, New York enacted over a dozen new environmental laws, including the codification of the Environmental Conservation Law, the adoption of the Tidal Wetlands Act, and the creation of the Adirondack Park Agency. Although the early 1970s brought many new environmental laws, "New York [still] lagged behind in establishing an across- the-board procedure which would resolve . . . two missing elements in New York's environmental regulatory scheme: a generally applicable environmental evaluation procedure and a general standard for decision-making which would balance environmental concerns against social and economic concerns." The legislature attempted to fill these gaps with SEQRA. The following article details out the legislative debates around SEQRA, public relations to the bill, the governor's signing of SEQRA, and lastly, the phased implementation of SEQRA.
In 'Bonnie Briar Syndicate, Inc. v. The Town of Mamaroneck', the Court rejected a property owner's claim that the Town of Mamaroneck's rezoning of a golf course from single-family residential to private recreational use effected a taking of property requiring just compensation under both the United States and New York State constitutions. In so holding, the Court has settled a question important to both landowners and municipalities in New York that had been left open by the United States Supreme Court as to the proper standard for reviewing regulatory takings claims not involving exactions. The following article reviews this court case in depth as well as provides lessons for municipalities and property owners in light of the Court's decision.
With the passing of the New York State brownfields legislation, the author, Linda Shaw, gives her insight into the legislation and the compromises made within the adopted legislative proposal. The article begins with Shaw's personal perspective on early New York State brownfields reform legislative efforts and why it has taken so long to get to the point where we are now. Gaining historical perspective, Shaw provides insight into advocacy group's "deal killer" issues and how they eventually achieved substantive consensus on an overall brownfields program. The article concludes with a brief attempt to highlight the dynamic consensus process that led to some innovative solutions to the age-old "how clean is clean" issue.
New York State is blessed with a variety and abundance of natural resources. The people of New York State are also the beneficiaries of a strong and varied economic base. The enforcement of environmental laws embodies the balance between protection of New York's extraordinary natural resources and the public health on the one hand, and its economic engine on the other. While the state Department of Environmental Conservation is the state's primary environmental enforcer, the Attorney General's Environmental Protection Bureau also plays a critical role. The purpose of this article is to establish the context for the State's environmental enforcement and outline the Attorney General's opportunities to use state and federal statutes to enforce environmental rights and remedies.