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January 2013 Archives

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hello and Happy New Year, Envirosphere readers! With the new year also comes a new blog administrator. J. Cullen Howe has stepped down from administrating Envirosphere and passed the blogging torch on to me. I am excited to get started and will be posting items of interest to members of the Environmental Law Section in the coming days. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to email me at the address below.

Sam Capasso

January 20, 2013

Two Resources to Help Local Governments Create Sustainable Neighborhoods

Strip malls and dead-end roads not only complicate everyday tasks, but they also expand our carbon footprints. Yet many municipalities decide to get away from sprawl and go "green" only to find they don't know how to get there. The Technical Guidance Manual for Sustainable Neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Development Floating Zone are two tools that help municipalities steer clear of the legal missteps along the way.

The Technical Guidance Manual bridges the gap between the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system and comprehensive planning by outlining ways professionals working for or with municipalities can integrate LEED - ND into land use laws, plans, and policies and promote more environmentally sound and economically robust communities.

The Neighborhood Development Floating Zone, a model ordinance for fostering green development using the LEED - ND rating system, offers local governments an opportunity to encourage green neighborhood development when the more comprehensive zoning update the manual proposes is not an option.

Most of USGBC's LEED rating systems rate the environmental impact of buildings, but USGBC's LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system seeks to rate the sustainability of a location and take account of factors such as vehicle miles traveled, walkability, and local infrastructure. Though not a replacement for comprehensive urban planning, LEED-ND provides municipalities a way to encourage sustainable development.

These tools, the work of USGBC and the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School, help clear the path for more municipalities to seek a greener future. Attorneys and other legal professionals involved real estate, land use, construction, or municipal law should be aware of these tools when asked to guide their clients in a green direction.

You may find the documents through the links below:

Technical Guidance Manual for Sustainable Neighborhoods - https://new.usgbc.org/resources/technical-guidance-manual-sustainable-neighborhoods

Neighborhood Development Floating Zone - https://new.usgbc.org/resources/neighborhood-development-floating-zone

January 28, 2013

2013 Environmental Law Section Annual Business Meeting

The Section held its annual meetings at the Hilton Hotel in New York City. The Section Business Meeting held on January 24th began with the EPA Update CLE, presented by Chris Saporita, Marla Wieder, and Joseph Siegel.

The Section presented awards and honors to the Wild Center, Drayton Grant, Arthur Savage, J. Cullen Howe, and Janice Dean.

012.jpgStephanie Ratcliffe received the Section Award on behalf of The Wild Center. As Executive Director, she leads programs teaching how the Adirondack Park, the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, can set an example of how humans and nature can thrive together. Ms. Ratcliffe focuses on hosting conversations in her programs as opposed to advocating positions and targets the "gate keepers" of climate information, as she did with the Build a Greener Adirondacks Expo Build a Greener Adirondacks Expo for builders, municipal leaders, business owners, and home owners.

A Certificate of Remembrance honoring Drayton Grant , a recognized expert in environmental and land use law, was also presented by the Section. Her death on October 31, 2012 marked the end of a life-long advocacy for the environment and dedication to community service.

The Section also presented a Certificate of Remembrance in honor of Arthur Savage, the first Section Chair and an outstanding advocate for the Adirondacks who died December 26, 2012. Mr. Savage led the Adirondack Mountain Reserve/Ausable Club in its sale of 9,000 acres to New York State, helped found the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and was a leader of Environmental Advocates and the New York State Parks & Trails organization. Mr. Savage was instrumental in shaping environmental law and policy in New York and he will be missed by the Section.

J. Cullen Howe received an award for his achievements in developing and administrating this blog and earning a spot for the blog on the
LexisNexis Environmental Law & Climate Change Community Top 50 Blogs for 2011.

The Section presented Janice A. Dean with an award recognizing her tireless efforts and dedicated diligence as Co-Chair of the Section's Membership Committee in attracting new, young, and diverse members to the Section.

The Nominating Committee welcomed Laurie Silberfeld as the Section's Secretary for 2013-14 as well as Keith Hirokawa and Sam Capasso as new Members-at-Large.

Zaheer Tajani, a first-year law student at Pace Law School, received the Minority Fellowship Award.

The Executive Committee Meeting was held the following day with reports on finances and announcements from several committees.

In light of extensive discussion of funding, program costs, and existing obligations following the Financial Report, the Executive Committee may consider strategic planning for the Section on topics such as membership retention, new members and communications.

The Legislative Committee will host the Annual Legislative Forum at the NYSBA offices in Albany on May 13th, 2013, where the legislative impact of Hurricane Sandy is a likely topic.

The Oil Spill Committee continues to host conference calls every two months on news and updates and will host an Oil Spill Symposium on April, 17th, 2013 in Albany, which will include a case law and legislative update, technical issues, discussion and lunch.

The Municipal Section is co-sponsoring the Fall 2013 Section meeting at Jiminy Peak on October 25-27th, 2013 on the topic of maritime issues.

Minutes for the Business Meeting and Executive Committee Meeting are available here.

About January 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Envirosphere in January 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2012 is the previous archive.

February 2013 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.