By Myriah V. Jaworski

National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, can be hard enough for states to attain given the sources of air pollution within their own borders.  But add cross-boundary air pollution from upwind states to the mix, and downwind states in particular are left in a real bind: despite their best efforts, these states are unable to control the upwind sources of air pollution that can contribute significantly to their own NAAQS non-attainment. Continue Reading SCOTUS Upholds EPA’s Good Neighbor Provision, To Relief of Downwind States

Earlier this week, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) lent their support to a revamped version of the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act.  The bill was reintroduced earlier this year by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).  The bill would expand the master limited partnership business structure to renewable energy projects, and “level the playing field.”  Currently, the structure is available to traditional fossil-fuel based energy projects, but specifically excludes renewable projects. Continue Reading Additional Support for Opening Up MLP Structure to Renewables

Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the State would be  creating a Green Bank to leverage private sector financing for renewable and other related clean energy projects. The Green Bank was identified in the Governor’s State of the State address as a key component to growing the State’s clean energy economy. Continue Reading New York State Moves Forward to Capitalize Its Green Bank

By Myriah V. Jaworski

In what will be a precedent-setting decision of national importance, today the New York State Court of Appeals agreed to hear Norse Energy’s appeal of the Third Department’s decision upholding the Town of Dryden’s municipal ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction. The Third Department and lower State Supreme Court both upheld the Town’s ban on hydraulic fracturing on the grounds that a full blown ban on an activity does not constitute “regulation” for preemption purposes under New York State’s Oil, Gas and Solutions Mining Law. The validity of the Third Department’s reasoning, and the Town’s underlying authority, will be reviewed by the Court of Appeals sometime this fall. Continue Reading Update! – New York State Court of Appeals Takes On Fracking Ban Case

Recently, the House Appropriations Committee released its fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (“Energy Bill”). In doing so, it proposed to cut renewable energy research and development spending by approximately $911 million, which is approximately fifty percent (50%) below the fiscal year 2013 level. Additionally, the Energy Bill also reduced proposed funding for Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (“ARPA-E”) by approximately $215 million – equal to 81% of the current year’s level. In total, the Energy bill is approximately $4.1 billion less than President Barack Obama’s request. Continue Reading Proposed Energy Bill Approximately $4 Billion Less Than President’s Request

By Susan Marriott

energy_solar_panel.jpgIn an earlier post, we discussed the opportunity for supply chain manufacturers as a result of the NY-Sun program.  New York’s solar energy industry received an additional boost with the recent passage of the New York Solar Bill by the state Assembly on June 20, 2013.  The bill would extend the NY-Sun program for an additional ten years, through 2023, which if signed into law would make good on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to extend the program in his State of the State address earlier this year.  The result would be an additional 2,200 MW of solar energy capacity, enough to power 400,000 New York homes.  Before the bill can be signed into law, it must be reconciled with the version previously passed by the Senate, which contained an additional manufacturing tax credit that was not in the Assembly version. Continue Reading Extension of NY-Sun Program May Benefit Hurricane Preparedness

In twin decisions handed down today, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department upheld two local zoning laws that prohibit activities related to oil and gas development (commonly referred to as “hydraulic fracturing”) (the “zoning laws”).  The two appeals, Matter of Norse Energy Corporation USA v. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein Corporation v. Town of Middlefield challenged the zoning laws as preempted by the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”), codified at Environmental Conservation Law (“ECL”) 23-0301 et seq. Continue Reading Appeals Court Upholds Drilling Bans

Last week, a group of U.S. Senators submitted a letter requesting swift clarification by the Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) of language regarding the wind production tax credit (“PTC”) under Internal Revenue Code Section 45 (“Section 45”). The letter addressed the recent change in the Section 45 language that was added when the PTC was extended for a year by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“Taxpayer Relief Act”).  Continue Reading Bipartisan Group of Senators Wants Clarification of “Commencement of Construction” Under the Wind PTC

By Donald T. Ross

Governor Andrew Cuomo, as part of his ongoing “NY-Sun” program intended to accelerate customer-sited solar electricity capacity in New York State, recently signed into law three bills which further this initiative.

Chapter 406 of the Laws of 2012 exempts the sale and installation of commercial solar energy systems—defined as systems which convert solar radiation to energy for cooking, hot water or electricity—from State sales taxes, beginning January 1, 2013, and grants municipalities (counties and cities) the power to exempt these systems from local sales tax.  New York’s similar program for residential solar energy systems continues unchanged. Continue Reading New York State Extends and Expands Solar Energy System Tax Incentives

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the development of New York’s “energy highway” in his State of the State address earlier this year.  In large part, the energy highway would serve as an efficient conduit for energy from Canada and Western New York to the metro New York area, where demand is starting to outstrip the ability to ensure a reliable supply.  The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is taking a lead role in the development of this initiative, and may play a key role in funding any significant expansion and/or replacement of components of New York’s aging power grid, or perhaps focused, less robust upgrades to the existing grid. Continue Reading New York’s Energy Highway