Environmental Regulatory News Updates – March 2020

Posted on March 5, 2020

Download the full report for March 5, 2020 (pdf)

Recent Developments (March 5, 2020)

State Plastic Carryout Bag Ban Implemented

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted regulations implementing a series of laws regulating plastic carryout bags, including a 2019 law banning retailers from distributing such bags to customers effective March 1, 2020. In 2009, the legislature passed a law requiring certain larger retailers to collect and recycle plastic carryout bags, extending the law in 2015 to cover other types of film plastic packaging such as newspaper and dry cleaning bags. In 2019, the legislature went a step further, banning retailers from distributing plastic carryout bags to their customers, with specific exemptions for meat and deli packaging, plastic bags used to package bulk items, and bags sold in bulk quantities, among many others. Retailers must make reusable bags available (either free or for sale) and allow customers to bring their own bags. Although the earlier bag collection laws were implemented without regulations, DEC concluded that the 2019 carryout bag ban required clarification to define key terms such as “reusable bag,” eliminate loopholes, and ensure that the ban is properly implemented. The rule can be found on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/118810.html.

DEC Proposes to Update Trio of Air Regulations

In the post month, DEC proposed major changes to a trio of air pollution control regulations to eliminate outdated provisions, conform the State regulations to federal requirements, and address technological developments.

  • Gasoline Dispensing Facilities and Transport Vehicles. DEC proposed to repeal and replace 6 NYCRR Part 230, which regulates volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from gasoline dispensing facilities (GDFs) and transport vehicles. Major changes include: incorporating federal provisions requiring enhanced Stage I systems for large GDFs statewide and for mid-sized GDFs located in the New York City metropolitan area; requiring submerged filling for all gasoline storage tanks with a capacity of 250 gallons or more; increasing the frequency of required performance tests for Stage I controls; eliminating Stage II vapor recovery system requirements, which are incompatible with the onboard vapor recovery systems found on most newer vehicles; and deleting other outdated requirements. Stage I controls capture emissions associated with filling gasoline storage tanks while Stage II controls capture emissions from the vehicle’s gasoline tank.
  • New Source Review Requirements for Proposed New Major Facilities and Major Modifications to Existing Facilities. DEC is proposing to revise its New Source Review (NSR) regulations to conform to federal requirements and court rulings. Major changes include: deleting provisions requiring sources to obtain a NSR permit based solely on their greenhouse gas emissions to address a U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating a comparable federal provision; updating the interpollutant trading provisions to remove outdated provisions; and establishing a significant monitoring concentration of zero to implement a federal court decision invalidating a federal law that allowed certain sources to avoid conducting ambient air quality monitoring.
  • Volatile Organic Compound Content Limits for Consumer Products. DEC proposed to revise 6 NYCRR Part 235 to add VOC content limits for nine new product categories, impose stricter VOC content limits for 10 existing product categories, update key definitions, and remove outdated deadlines and other provisions.

The proposed regulations can be found at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html#public.

Other Recent Developments


  • AIR: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed its residual risk/periodic technology review of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the metal can and metal coil surface coating source categories.
  • AIR: EPA is taking comment on guidance addressing the use of plantwide applicability limits (PALs) under the NSR program, which was drafted to address concerns that certain elements of the PAL regulations are onerous or unclear and so discourage the use of PALs.
  • CHEMICAL: The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board issued regulations containing procedures for reporting accidental releases of hazardous chemicals into the air that result in fatality, serious injury, or substantial property damage.
  • CHEMICAL: EPA designated 20 chemicals as low priority substances that are not required to undergo a risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
  • REMEDIATION: EPA proposed not to impose financial responsibility requirements for facilities in the chemical manufacturing industry under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
  • WATER: EPA proposed to delay compliance deadlines for the second phase of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System electronic reporting rule to provide EPA and the states with additional time to develop and implement the information technology solutions necessary for the electronic reporting of Phase 2 data.

 New York State

  • AIR: DEC is taking comment on draft revisions to Program Policy DAR-10, Guidelines on Dispersion Modeling Procedures for Air Quality Impact Analysis, which provides direction on conducting air impact analyses under the prevention of significant deterioration and other programs.
  • BULK STORAGE: DEC reissued the following program policies, which have been updated to reflect non-technical changes to the chemical bulk storage regulations and make other corrections: DER-16, Five-Year Inspection of Plastic Tanks, and DER-26, How to Prepare a Spill Prevention Report.
  • WATER: DEC made its revised Environmental Benefit Permit Strategy rankings available, identifying which State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits are scheduled for a full technical review in the upcoming year.
  • GENERAL: DEC is accepting applications for New York’s Annual Environmental Excellence Awards, which recognize public, private and non-profit entities that have achieved environmental excellence through innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or creative partnerships