Environmental & Land Use


Knotweed Case Breaks New Ground

by Marissa Grenon Gutierrez, Paul Kominers

Earlier this year, jurors awarded two homeowners $186,000 in damages caused in part by a developer’s failure to disclose the presence of an invasive plant on their property. The homeowners had brought a single-family home in a new development in Pepperell. Unbeknownst to them, before their lot was graded, a… READ MORE

FAA Issues Plan for Transition to Fluorine-Free Firefighting Foam

by Marissa Grenon Gutierrez, Mina S. Makarious

On May 8, FAA published its Aircraft Firefighting Foam Transition Plan, which outlines additional information, timelines, and preparatory steps for airports to consider as the federal government’s search for PFAS-free firefighting foam continues. The plan, which was required by Congress in 2022, provides an important “next step” in helping… READ MORE

A&K’s Olympia Bowker to Speak at BBA Speed-Networking Environmental Law Event

by Lisa Baldridge

On Feb. 9, 2023, Olympia “Libby” Bowker will speak at Boston Bar Association’s Speed-Networking event: “Find Out What Practicing Environmental Law Is Really Like.” Participants will learn from public and private sector attorneys about the paths that led them to their career in environmental law and hear more about their… READ MORE

Department of Defense Continues Search for PFAS-Free Firefighting Foam

by Mina S. Makarious

Airports are now one step closer to a new, PFAS-free firefighting foam with the Department of Defense’s announcement of a draft specification for an AFFF replacement. Civil airports use aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF, to extinguish fires fueled by flammable liquids.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establishes standards for the… READ MORE

First Round of Biden-Harris Administration NEPA Regulatory Revisions Effective May 20, 2022

by Olympia "Libby" Bowker

In January, we posted about the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) regulations: Biden-Harris Administration Proposes NEPA Regulatory Revisions. These regulatory changes went into effect on May 20, 2022, and target and reverse three Trump-era modifications to the NEPA regulations.[1] The new changes accomplish… READ MORE

Achieving Net Zero Buildings in Massachusetts

by Mina S. Makarious

To respond effectively to climate change, local, state, and federal governments should adopt complementary policies, but that’s much easier said than done.  A case in point is the drive to reduce emissions from the building sector, which accounts for nearly 30% of U.S. emissions despite substantial improvements in energy… READ MORE

Appeals Court Divests Conservation Commissions’ Wetlands Jurisdiction After Missed Deadline

by Olympia "Libby" Bowker, George A. Hall, Jr.

On January 26, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a decision in Boston Clear Water Company, LLC v. Town of Lynnfield, finding a Conservation Commission lost jurisdiction over a project before its’ review even began. The case reaffirmed the Appeals Court’s 2007 holding in Oyster Creek Preservation… READ MORE

Biden-Harris Administration Proposes NEPA Regulatory Revisions

by Olympia "Libby" Bowker, Mina S. Makarious

After nearly 50 years with little change, the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) regulations are facing their second substantive revisions in less than 12 months.[1] In September 2020, the Trump Administration oversaw a series of regulatory revisions that greatly altered the scope and depth of the review processes under… READ MORE

Federal PFAS Cleanup Regulation on the Horizon

by Olympia "Libby" Bowker

Federal regulators recently picked up the pace in controlling the class of persistent environmental toxins known as PFAS, as the nation’s eyes increasingly focus on this problem. Local governments, airports, and potentially responsible parties should pay particularly close attention to these developments. On October 25, the EPA announced… READ MORE

Supreme Court Creates New “Functional Equivalent” Test for Groundwater Discharges

Anderson & Kreiger

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay. Wading into a dispute about the Clean Water Act’s applicability to groundwater discharges, the Supreme Court handed environmentalists a somewhat surprising victory in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.  However, the lower courts, EPA, and the regulated community will have many… READ MORE