Archive | September, 2011

EPA releases Environmental Justice Plan (EJ 2014)

26 Sep

Last week the EPA announced the release of its EJ 2014, its comprehensive 3-year plan to advance its environmental health goals.  The policy document is part of EPA’s effort to meet Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” which requires Federal agencies to incorporate environmental justice into their mission.  Under Plan EJ 2014, EPA will seek to work with local, overburdened groups to improve environmental conditions within the relevant communities.

Plan EJ 2014 can be found on the EPA’s website.  While it is not a rule or regulation, it is expected that this guidance will significantly affect EPA’s actions with respect to these traditionally under served communities.

If you have any questions regarding Plan EJ 2014, contact us at 773-609-5320, info@thornenvironmentallaw.com, or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

Cement Plant Air Pollution Regulations

14 Sep

Last month the EPA issued its final rules regulating emissions from Cement Plants. The main focus of the rules is to limit mercury pollution; Cement Kiln’s being the third largest producer of mercury emissions nationally. In addition, the regulations target smog forming emissions and acid gasses. The new rules will set limits for both new and existing kilns.

When fully implemented, the EPA estimates that these regulations will result in between $6.7 billion and $18 billion. Mercury can damage children’s developing brains and the particle pollution is a major trigger of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The costs of the regulation are estimated to be less than $1 billion annually. (more…)

Conservation Easement Act of 2011

5 Sep

The Senate and House passed HR 1964 which removed the December 31, 2011 deadline for certain conservation donations made by individuals and corporations in Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.  Thus, individuals and companies may continue to reap tax benefits for donating property and conservation easements to eligible recipients such as a non-profit organization or a unit of government.   For most corporations the maximum annual deduction is the excess of the donor’s taxable income over 10% of the donor’s taxable income.  For most individuals the maximum donation is 50% of the taxpayer’s contribution base for the taxable year.

Conservation easements have been especially appealing to many industrial and commercial businesses because the conservation easements reduce the taxable basis for real estate and provide for tax deductions over several years assuming the conservation easement was donated and not sold.  In many instances the companies may still use the property for commercial purposes.  For example, many paper and lumber companies have donated conservation easements on their property, ceding their ability to develop the property, but still allowing for the forests to be harvested according to certain best management practices.  Many land trusts, other non-profits, and governments are eager to hold these conservation easements because they are able to protect much more property than if they had to purchase the property outright.

If you have any questions regarding conservation easements or donations, contact us at 773-609-5320, info@thornenvironmentallaw.com, or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

Illinois Renewable Energy Production Districts

2 Sep

Illinois recently passed the Renewable Energy Production District Act (PA 97-0265).  Upon petition by voters and a subsequent hearing, a county may create a renewable energy production district.  The district would be governed by a board of trustees who would be empowered to construct, operate and maintain a renewable energy facility; contract for the construction operation and maintenance of the facility; and sell the renewable energy producced by the facility.  Under the act, a renewable energy facility includes a generator attached to a building or parcel of land that is powered by solar energy or wind, dedicated crops grown for electricity generation, anaerobic digestion of livestock or food processing waste, fuel cells or microturbines powered by renewable fuel or hydroelectric energy.

If you have any questions regarding this act or the eligible technologies, contact us at 773-609-5320, info@thornenvironmentallaw.com, or through our web contact form.

Disclaimer: This article cannot, and does not, create any attorney/client or consultant/client relationship.

-->