Law and Legal
To prevent spread of COVID-19, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) will exercise its enforcement discretion with respect to certain provisions of 6 NYCRR Parts 364,372,374-2, and 381. According to a Letter issued by the NYSDEC Office of General Counsel, the agency will not pursue enforcement of requirements for signatures on waste shipping documents. lf a waste shipment is being sent to, or is being received from, a state other than New York, the regulated party should contact the other state regulator to ensure compliance with that state’s requirements.
For hazardous waste shipments, affected parties shall use hybrid and electronic hazardous waste manifests, whenever those options are available to all parties listed on the manifest. If this option is not available to all parties listed on the manifest so that a paper-based hazardous waste manifest must be used, all affected parties must follow the specified procedure from Appendix 30 of 6 NYCRR Part 372 for a transporter signing “on behalf of’ a generator for a hazardous waste shipment.
For Non-Hazardous Waste and Used Oil Shipments, the following procedure must be followed:
- The driver picking up the waste must print the name of the generator in the Generator Name box.
- The driver must write “on behalf of in the Generator Signature box and then sign the driver’s name in the appropriate space.
- lf there is only a Generator Signature box on the waste shipping document, the driver must write “on behalf of’, print the generator’s name, and then sign the driver’s name in that box.
For Low-Level Radioactive Waste Shipments, all affected parties shall follow the specified procedure in 6 NYCRR 381.12for a transporter signing “on behalf of’ a generator for a low-level radioactive waste shipment.
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Pursuant to Empire State Development Corporation’s Guidance on Executive Order 202.6, “trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal services” are considered essential business or entities that are not required to reduce in-person workforce by 100%. The exclusion includes collection, transportation, processing and disposal activities for any solid wastes, regulated medical waste, hazardous wastes, radioactive wastes and other associated waste categories. This also includes all recyclables including redemption of bottle bill containers.
The NYSDEC has Announced that it will not actively enforce violations at facilities unable to fulfill bottle bill redemption operations due to resource restrictions during the ongoing COVID-19 response efforts.
The agency said it recognizes that unintended consequences of the COVID-19 response may make full compliance with requirements challenging for certain facilities and may result in temporary disruptions to required redemption operations.
Redemption of containers is considered an essential service and NYSDEC said that redemption centers should implement appropriate social distancing practices whenever and wherever possible.
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Ars Technica – Edge – Collections, vertical tabs, and immersive reader are particularly compelling: “It’s no secret that we’ve been enthusiastic about Microsoft’s new, Chromium-based Edge browser for a while now. But that enthusiasm has mostly been limited to “a default Windows browser that doesn’t suck,” rather than being for any particularly compelling set of features the new Edge brings to the browser ecosystem. In a folksy announcement this week, Microsoft politely declared its determination to step up our expectations from “doesn’t suck” to somewhere on the level of “oh, wow.” Microsoft Corporate VP Liat Ben-Zur spent plenty of time enthusing about the way the new features are, apparently, already changing her life…The Collections button lives in the browser toolbar and looks like a pair of folders with a plus icon on them. When you click it, a right sidebar slides open, containing a list of any Collections you’ve already made. Clicking any collection brings it into focus, showing you a list of sites, with clear titles and thumbnails present. Site order in the collection can be managed by simply dragging and dropping, and an Add note button at the top allows you to insert rich text formatted note blocks as well. Although Collections aren’t yet generally available in the normal version of Edge, you can find them in both the Dev and Canary channels of Edge Insider…”
CNET – Paper towels are in high demand and low stock these days. These smart ideas help you stretch your supply or avoid using it altogether. “Now that you’re staying home as part of your state’s lockdown, quarantine or shelter in place efforts, you might be using paper towels at an unprecedented rate. It just so happens that these common household items — along with toilet paper, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer — are in short supply. (Here are alternative stores to buy electronics and other goods.) If you don’t want to fret about when you store will restock (some do offer alerts), it might be time to change your habits. There are easy ways to ration your existing paper towel supply, and other, more readily available items, that you can use instead of reaching for the kitchen roll. You might even find that these new techniques save you money over time. Read on for more tips to cut down your paper towel usage and let us know about any of your additional suggestions in the comments…”
In Custodia Legis – “Update: As promised, we are updating this guide today, March 27, 2020, with links to additional legislation (H.R.748), presidential actions, CRS reports, U.S. and state government resources and Law Library Global Legal Monitor Articles. The updates have (new) at end of the entry so the added content is easy to identify. This is intended as a guide to laws, regulations and executive actions in the United States, at both the federal and the state level, and in various countries with respect to the new coronavirus and its spread. We are also including links to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that provide information to Congress about the novel coronavirus. In addition, we provide links to relevant federal agency websites. We intend to update this guide on at least a weekly basis for the immediate future…”
CRS Legal Sidebar Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress – Legal Issues Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak: An Overview Updated March 30, 2020: “The COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly shifted the congressional agenda in recent weeks, while altering the daily lives of millions of American residents. Alongside the many medical, economic, social, and public policy questions raised by the pandemic are a range of legal issues. These include both short-term legal questions related to the unfolding outbreak as well as longer-term legal issues that are anticipated to persist in the wake of the crisis. Among the most immediate questions are those related to the scope of state and federal authorities concerning quarantine measures, travel and entry restrictions, the movement of medical goods, health care coverage, and the like. Of more ongoing concern may be legal issues ranging from those related to the development of vaccines, testing, treatments, and other medical countermeasures, to postponing national elections, to civil liability for COVID-19 exposure, to criminal actions related to hoarding and price gouging, to providing economic assistance to individuals and businesses,to foreclosure, eviction, and debt collection moratoria.This Legal Sidebar provides a list of legal resources discussing these and other legal topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated intermittently as additional legal issues emerge…”
CRS Legal Sidebar Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress – The Courts and COVID-19 March 30, 2020: “The spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19 has prompted far-reaching responses affecting many areas of American life. As Americans strive to practice social distancing to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease, the United States federal courts have implemented various measures designed to protect litigants, jurors, court personnel, and members of the public, and to reduce the obstacles to litigation arising from the pandemic.As this Sidebar discusses in more detail,the courts generally possess significant discretion to modify their procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are some areas where further changes would require congressional action…”
tom’s guide – Deciding between Zoom and Google Hangouts is a game of figuring out your priorities. “Comparing Zoom vs Google Hangouts comes down to your priorities and needs for communication. They’re both video chat clients that have been widely popular for a while, and can both be found on a variety of platforms. And as we all spend more and more time apart, these services have become all the more important, and so we’ve looked closely at both Zoom and Google Hangouts to see how they differ. Surprisingly, they’ve got big differences on a couple of key features…”
The Intercept: “Zoom, the video conferencing service whose use has spiked amid the Covid-19 pandemic, claims to implement end-to-end encryption, widely understood as the most private form of internet communication, protecting conversations from all outside parties. In fact, Zoom is using its own definition of the term, one that lets Zoom itself access unencrypted video and audio from meetings. With millions of people around the world working from home in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, business is booming for Zoom, bringing more attention on the company and its privacy practices, including a policy, later updated, that seemed to give the company permission to mine messages and files shared during meetings for the purpose of ad targeting. Still, Zoom offers reliability, ease of use, and at least one very important security assurance: As long as you make sure everyone in a Zoom meeting connects using “computer audio” instead of calling in on a phone, the meeting is secured with end-to-end encryption, at least according to Zoom’s website, its security white paper, and the user interface within the app. But despite this misleading marketing, the service actually does not support end-to-end encryption for video and audio content, at least as the term is commonly understood. Instead it offers what is usually called transport encryption, explained further below…”
USA Today – Coronavirus can survive on common materials for hours or even days. Here’s what you need to know and how to protect yourself. “Tiny, infected water droplets that drift in the air or land on surfaces have multiplied into a global pandemic. Typically, an infected person’s cough or sneeze spreads SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, a highly contagious respiratory illness. To slow the rising number of infections – tens of thousands of Americans have been infected since Jan. 20 – researchers are looking for the coronavirus’ limits. Just how long can it last outside the human body? According to the New England Journal of Medicine, here’s how long the virus could live on a variety of surfaces. The report also noted the half-life, or rate of decay, of the virus on various materials. That’s the time it took for half of the virus sample to die. The decay rate is important because though the virus may linger on surfaces for days, people are less likely to become infected as the virus dies…” [h/t Pete Weiss]
FBI warns Zoom, teleconference meetings vulnerable to hijacking: “…The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language,” the FBI cautioned. “As individuals continue the transition to online lessons and meetings, the FBI recommends exercising due diligence and caution in your cybersecurity efforts..to prevent against unwanted participants joining Zoom or other video teleconferencing meetings, the FBI advises users to not make Zoom meetings or classrooms public. Instead, users should require a meeting password, or use the Zoom waiting room to control who has access to particular meetings. The bureau also recommends not sharing links on public social media posts, and instead providing links directly to intended participants…”
TechCrunch: “Now that we’re all stuck at home thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, video calls have gone from a novelty to a necessity. Zoom, the popular videoconferencing service, seems to be doing better than most and has quickly become one of, if not the most, popular option going. But should it be? Zoom’s recent popularity has also shone a spotlight on the company’s security protections and privacy promises. Just today, The Intercept reported that Zoom video calls are not end-to-end encrypted, despite the company’s claims that they are. And Motherboard reports that Zoom is leaking the email addresses of “at least a few thousand” people because personal addresses are treated as if they belong to the same company. It’s the latest examples of the company having to spend the last year mopping up after a barrage of headlines examining the company’s practices and misleading marketing. To wit:
- Apple was forced to step in to secure millions of Macs after a security researcher found Zoom failed to disclose that it installed a secret web server on users’ Macs, which Zoom failed to remove when the client was uninstalled. The researcher, Jonathan Leitschuh, said the web server meant any malicious website could activate Mac webcam with Zoom installed without the user’s permission. The researcher declined a bug bounty payout because Zoom wanted Leitschuh to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which would have prevented him from disclosing details of the bug….”
Preliminary Estimates of Prevalence of Selected Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019
Preliminary Estimates of the Prevalence of Selected Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 — United States, February 12–March 28, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 31 March 2020.
- Summary – What is already known about this topic? – Published reports from China and Italy suggest that risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease include underlying health conditions, but data describing underlying health conditions among U.S. COVID-19 patients have not yet been reported.
- What is added by this report? – Based on preliminary U.S. data, persons with underlying health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease, appear to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19–associated disease than persons without these conditions.
- What are the implications for public health practice? – Strategies to protect all persons and especially those with underlying health conditions, including social distancing and handwashing, should be implemented by all communities and all persons to help slow the spread of COVID-19…”
- Washington Post – Why older and chronically ill Americans are at greatest risk from coronavirus
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—Tax Relief for Individuals and Businesses
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—Tax Relief for Individuals and Businesses March 20, 2020 – March 31, 2020 R46279 – “Congress is considering a number of proposals that seek to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One such proposal, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (S. 3548), was introduced in the Senate on March 19, 2020. On March 22, 2020, an updated version of the CARES Act was circulated, as a proposed amendment to H.R. 748. A cloture vote on a motion to proceed, which was designed to allow consideration of the CARES Act, was rejected on March 22. A third version of the CARES Act was released on March 25, 2020. On March 25, the Senate voted 96-0 to pass H.R. 748, having previously amended it with the CARES Act. Tax relief for individuals and businesses in the CARES Act includes:
- a one-time rebate to taxpayers;
- modification of the tax treatment of certain retirement fund withdrawals and charitable contributions;
- a delay of employer payroll taxes and taxes paid by certain corporations; and
- other changes to the tax treatment of business income and net operating losses.
This is the latest in a series of legislative packages addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Two bills have already been enacted into law: the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-123) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127). On March 23, 2020, an alternative to the CARES Act, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (H.R. 6379), was introduced in the House.
“As the spread of COVID-19 upends work, classes and even doctor appointments across the country, a majority of Americans are turning to digital means to stay connected and track information about the outbreak. Amid this increased reliance, about nine-in-ten U.S. adults (93%) say that a major interruption to their internet or cellphone service during the outbreak would be a problem in their daily life, including 49% who foresee an outage being a very big problem for them and 28% who believe it would be a moderately big problem. But while digital connections may provide an alternative during a time of social distancing, only a minority (27%) thinks interacting via these technologies will be as effective as in-person contact. Some 64% of Americans think the internet and phones will help but are not a replacement for face-to-face encounters. These are key findings from a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted online between March 19-24 on the Center’s American Trends Panel…”
On March 30th, the NYC Department of Buildings issued a memo implementing Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.6 (EO) and New York State Empire Development Corporation Guidance requiring the shutdown of all non-essential construction except emergency construction
For projects enrolled in its Voluntary Cleanup Program or the “e” designation program, OER will implement the construction ban on as follows:
- Affordable housing projects (defined as those building affordable inclusionary housing, mandatory inclusionary housing or sites where 30% of more of the residential units are affordable) are deemed essential and can continue with construction activities. Similarly, other essential projects identified in the Governor’s order, e.g. homeless shelters and transit facilities, etc., can continue with construction.
- OER projects that are considered non-essential but have broken ground and where activities may be suspended without compromising public health must cease construction.
- Sites with approved remedies that have not yet broken ground and their development is not essential per the Governor’s EO cannot commence construction until the Governor’s construction ban is lifted or modified.
- Sites in the investigation sampling phase that are not essential must suspend work.
For each OER site that will continue operations, the development team must submit a statement to the OER Project Manager explaining the basis for each project’s continued operation. These statements must be submitted by the close of business on Wednesday, April 1.
Owners and contractors of construction and demolition sites subject to the suspension order must secure and maintain their sites in accordance with the NYC Department of Buildings Buildings Bulletin 2020-004 .
The post NYC OER Issues Guidance Implementing Construction Ban For Remedial Sites appeared first on Schnapf Environmental Law.
“While coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic consumes the nation’s news, people whose most common pathway to political and election news is through social media are less likely than others to be closely following that coverage. And more of these social media news consumers say they have seen at least some misinformation about the pandemic, according to a survey conducted March 10-16, 2020, as a part of Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways project. These responses may help explain another finding: Those who use social media as their most common news pathway – 18% of U.S. adults overall – fare comparatively poorly when it comes to answering a question about when a vaccine might be available. These findings come from a survey of 8,914 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s American Trends Panel. One way to understand news audiences in today’s complex environment is to look at consumers through the prism of their most common pathway for getting political news: print, radio, local television, national television, cable television, social media sites and news websites or apps. Overall, the 18% of Americans who are “social media first” stand out as younger, more likely to be Hispanic, and less interested in political news, though they aren’t strongly characterized by any particular partisan leaning…”
More than half have prayed for an end to the virus’s spread – “As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise and schools, workplaces and public gathering spaces across the United States remain closed, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the coronavirus outbreak is having profound impacts on the personal lives of Americans in a variety of ways. Nearly nine-in-ten U.S. adults say their life has changed at least a little as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including 44% who say their life has changed in a major way. Amid widespread calls from experts for Americans to socially distance from one another to avoid spreading the virus, what recently seemed like mundane daily activities now elicit concerns from large swaths of the population. About nine-in-ten U.S. adults (91%) say that, given the current situation, they would feel uncomfortable attending a crowded party. Roughly three-quarters (77%) would not want to eat out at a restaurant. In the midst of a presidential election year, about two-thirds (66%) say they wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a polling place to vote. And smaller but still substantial shares express discomfort even with going to the grocery store (42%) or visiting with a close friend or family member in their home (38%)…”
CNET – “Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US government have encouraged social distancing to slow the spread of the sickness. This has led to the cancelation of many large cultural and sports gatherings. With music venues and bars on lock down across the country, there is loads of brand new music and live concerts via live stream that you can watch from the safety of your couch on your own TV, computer or phone. So many musicians and artists are getting in on the act from John Legend to Garth Brooks to The New York Metropolitan Opera. An ever increasing number of artists are working very hard and still trying to provide stellar live music and concert experiences for fans without sacrificing safety. CNET is aggregating over 50 live streams a day over a myriad of musical generes to satiate your live concert and live music appetite. Here are all the shows you can stream today…”