Office of Renewable Energy Siting Proceedings, Article 94-c
Representing Governments, Local Agencies, and the Public in ORES Article 94-c Proceedings
The Zoghlin Group’s Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) Practice Group, led by Partners Benjamin E. Wisniewski, Esq. and Bridget O’Toole, Esq., focuses on helping local governments, local agencies, individuals, and interest groups participate in power plant siting proceedings under Article 94-c of the New York State Executive Law.
Whether you support a proposed project in your community, or whether you have serious concerns about potential impacts, The Zoghlin Group will help you navigate the new and complicated Article 94-c administrative process by which the newly created Office of Renewable Energy Siting (“ORES”) will review and approve permits for large scale renewable energy facilities.
Specific Article 94-c Services:
The Zoghlin Group provides comprehensive representation to parties seeking to participate in an Article 94-c Proceedings. Our services include:
The Zoghlin Group also advises towns regarding local wind and solar laws, and the scope of Article 94-c’s preemption of local laws.
Our Firm has represented private institutions, businesses, and individuals in the area of education law. We provide services to clients with regard to:
Please contact Bridget O’Toole with any inquiries.
The Zoghlin Group offers a range of cannabis/marijuana and hemp related services for municipalities and cultivators/farmers, processors, and vendors:
For more information about our cannabis/marijuana practice group, or for inquiries related to these practice areas, please contact Jacob H. Zoghlin, Mindy L. Zoghlin, Bridget O’Toole, or Benjamin Wisniewski.
The Zoghlin Group is proud to have a strong track record of bringing claims on behalf of clients related to government accountability. As Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” From services related to Freedom of Information requests and the Open Meetings Law to commencing special proceedings against local governments, county governments, state and federal agencies and beyond.
New York’s Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) law aims to promote confidence in government by making non-private agency records accessible to the public.
As local reporting declines and the Internet shifts attention away from local concerns and towards national and global issues, the internal operations of state and local governments have become less transparent. Now more than ever, FOIL offers an important tool for individuals, groups, and businesses to gain access to government records, promote transparency, and provide a check on local power. Likewise, the federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) grants public access to federal government records, subject to specific exceptions.
FOIL requires state and municipal agencies to maintain records, and grants the public rights to review and copy those records. It also establishes an administrative appeal processes to deal with agency denials of requests for records.
When administrative appeals are denied, members of the public can bring a lawsuit to compel disclosure of government records. State law gives courts the authority to award attorneys’ fees to a plaintiff who successfully brings a court action to force disclosure of withheld records.
Whereas the press and those concerned with government oversight sometimes use FOIL/FOIA to make information public, others use it to obtain evidence in anticipation of litigation, to stay informed about projects that may affect them, or simply to monitor what government agencies are up to.
The Zoghlin Group offers are range of FOIL/FOIA related services for those seeking access to agency records, including:
Seeking court orders awarding attorneys fees to successful plaintiffs.
Reverse FOIL Services:
Under certain circumstances, where government disclosure would be inappropriate or harmful, we can also help businesses or individuals oppose agency disclosure of requested records, including records containing trade secrets, private materials, or other information protected by state or federal law. These “reverse FOIL” matters often arise when a business is required to disclose certain information to a government entity, and where a third-party attempts to use FOIL to compel the government to disclose that information. In situations such as these, the Zoghlin Group offers the following services:
We provide FOIL/FOIA related services on an hourly basis and, under certain circumstances, on a flat-fee basis.
Additional information about FOIL is maintained on a New York State website, and is available at: href=“https://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/Right_to_know.html#foil and https://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/pdfs/right2know.pdf
-Benjamin Wisniewski, Esq. quoted in FOIL The Law and Future of Public Information in New York (Brett Orzechowski, Syracuse University Press 2018)
The Open Meetings Law aims to promote confidence in government decision-making ensuring that public business is conducted in an “open and public manner.” The law is based on the premise that democratic societies require, for their proper maintenance and functioning, access to public bodies and their decision-making processes. As Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”
With today’s 24-hour news cycle, local governments and politicians have become increasingly concerned that a comment or action will be misinterpreted or taken out of context. Unfortunately, this perception incentivizes those in power to conduct public business behind closed doors, essentially preventing the public from overseeing and observing the conduct of public business.
The Open Meetings Law gives the public the right to attend and observe the meetings of public bodies, with limited exceptions. It also imposes notice requirements on public bodies, and gives the public the right to review materials that are scheduled to be discussed or voted on at the meetings of a public body.
Whereas the press and those concerned with government oversight sometimes rely on the Open Meetings Law to gain access to meetings in order to make information public, others use it to obtain evidence in anticipation of litigation, stay informed about projects that may affect them, or simply to monitor what local municipalities, boards, and other public bodies are up to.
The Zoghlin Group offers are range of services related to New York’s Open Meetings Law for municipalities, individuals, businesses, and citizen groups.
Individuals, Businesses, And Citizen Groups:
When appropriate, we assist clients in commencing legal actions government actors to hold those actors accountable. This may include:
For more information about our Government Accountability practice group, or for inquiries related to these practice areas, please contact Bridget O’Toole, Jacob H. Zoghlin, Mindy L. Zoghlin, or Benjamin Wisniewski.
We help our clients maintain and redevelop properties with historical designations. We work with local, state, federal and private preservation experts to identify ways to balance the competing interests of historic preservation and fiscal responsibility.
Our historic preservation services include:
Our experience representing individuals, community groups, and businesses with respect to zoning, land use and environmental matters has given us insight and an informed approach to representing municipalities. We have represented municipalities both as Special Counsel and General Counsel.
As General Counsel to municipalities we:
As special counsel, we represent municipalities seeking to prosecute and defend claims related to environmental, land use, and zoning matters, including:
If you or your business are under investigation by the DEC, EPA, law enforcement, or other government agencies The Zoghlin Group can help you. We help our clients understand and assess potential liability, respond to search warrants, subpoenas or discovery requests, and settle or defend against claims.
The Zoghlin Group can help you or your business appropriately respond to investigations and enforcement or cost recovery actions related to potential violations of the following statutes and regulations:
Whether the New York State Attorney General, federal prosecutors, or a state or federal agency has placed you or your business under scrutiny, The Zoghlin Group help you manage your response.
When allegations are particularly serious and the possibility of criminal liability exists, The Zoghlin Group can draw on its experience to advocate on your behalf. Our criminal and environmental attorneys have the combined experience needed to defend against allegations of environmental crime.
Renewable Energy Siting
The Zoghlin Group can assist renewable energy developers with state and local permit and approvals. Our energy practice fits well with our extensive experience in environmental, municipal, land use, and zoning law.
Representing Developers of Small and Community Scale Renewable Energy Projects
For proposed projects smaller than 25 MW in size, The Zoghlin Group can provide valuable services to developers such as:
Representing Municipalities with Renewable Energy Siting Issues
Whether a town strongly supports expanded renewable energy development, or has concerns about whether renewable energy facilities fit within its plan for development, The Zoghlin Group can help municipalities draft and revise laws, implement policies, or review specific applications. We provide the following services to towns:
Representing Applicants in the Article 10 Process
The Zoghlin Group’s Article 10 Practice Group, led by Partner Benjamin E. Wisniewski, Esq., helps individuals, interest groups, and municipalities participating in large power plant siting proceedings under Article 10 of the New York State Public Service Law. The Zoghlin Group will help you navigate the complicated Article 10 administrative process. Additional information about our Article 10 practice is available here.
Other Energy Law Services
We also represent municipalities in connection with NYISO Interconnection Process, and and Article VII review process for proposed transmission lines. We help our energy law clients with a wide variety of renewable energy matters. The Zoghlin Group now represents clients in the new 94-c siting process of renewable energy projects through the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES). Additional information about our ORES practice is available here.
For additional information please contact Benjamin E. Wisniewski, Esq.
Article 10 of the Public Service Law
Representing Parties and Intervenors in the Article 10 Process
The Zoghlin Group’s Article 10 Practice Group, led by Partner Benjamin E. Wisniewski, Esq., focuses on helping individuals, interest groups, and towns participating in power plant siting proceedings under Article 10 of the New York State Public Service Law.
Whether you support a proposed project in your community, or whether you have serious concerns about potential impacts, The Zoghlin Group will help you navigate the complicated Article 10 administrative process.
Specific Article 10 Services to Parties and Intervenors:
The Zoghlin Group provides comprehensive representation to parties seeking to participate in an Article 10 Proceeding. Our services include:
The Zoghlin Group also advises towns regarding local wind and solar laws, and the scope of Article 10’s preemption of local laws.
The Zoghlin Group and its attorneys have participated, or are currently participating, in the following Article 10 Proceedings:
Additional Information About Article 10:
If you have questions about Article 10, the status of a particular project, or how you can participate, please do not hesitate to contact Benjamin E. Wisniewski, Esq. for a free consultation. You can also find useful information on the Department of Public Services Article 10 Website, available here.
We help individuals, groups, businesses, developers, and municipalities in all areas of state and environmental law: from development and environmental quality review to litigation.
We help clients who own, purchase, develop, or use contaminated property. We recommend ways to minimize potential liability for past discharges of environmental pollutants. Even someone who unwittingly buys contaminated property may be held responsible for the cost to investigate and clean up the contamination. We know the environmental due diligence that must be performed in connection with significant business transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, and the purchase or sale of real estate. When a client’s property has been contaminated by a previous owner, we work to recover the clean up and investigation costs and to hold the polluters (or their insurance companies) liable. We also help clients evaluate options for tax credits and liability protection in connection with the redevelopment of contaminated properties.
Environmental Quality Review
We guide clients through the entire environmental review process. Most development projects require administrative approvals that trigger environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). These acts require all potentially significant adverse environmental impacts to be identified and mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. Environmental impacts include factors such as noise, visual impacts, traffic, aesthetic impacts, threatened or endangered species, air quality, parking areas, natural resources, historic resources, and energy use. If the environmental review process is not done properly, the development approvals may be set aside, governmental funding may be revoked, and projects may be significantly delayed. We help ensure the environmental review process is done properly.
We have experience in both the prosecution and defense of a variety of environmental claims under New York State and Federal law. We represent innocent property owners in “cost recovery” actions to recover the cost to investigate and clean up contamination. Typically, cost recovery claims are made against prior owners/operators or adjacent owners/operators and likely involve properties that were once used for:
Additionally, we represent clients whose property has been taken by a regulation that changed the property’s use or by a physical occupation, like flood waters on the property, which was caused by state or local entities without compensation.
We help our clients understand and navigate a wide variety of zoning and land use issues. For example, we assist in applying for and obtaining zoning and state approvals on behalf of municipalities, developers, builders, citizen groups, and individuals. When our clients encounter obstacles to development, we help them negotiate and litigate their claims to remove barriers to developing their properties and to allow them to reach their goals. Additionally, as Special Counsel or General Counsel for Town, Zoning, or other Boards, we advise municipal clients on how to best address their local zoning needs.
Our zoning and land use services include: