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What Happened to US EPA’s New Source Performance Standards and Emission Guidelines for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills?

In 2016, US EPA finalized two rules designed to reduce methane and non-methane organic compound emissions from landfills.  These rules were adopted as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan: Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.  US EPA issued final New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to reduce emissions caused by landfill gas from new, modified and reconstructed municipal solid waste (MSW) … Continue Reading

US Lawmakers Target the Endangered Species Act While Advocates Continue to Sue to Shape the Act’s Implementation

Since President Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, the ESA has directed the identification and protection of endangered and threatened species in the United States. While President Obama remarked that his Administration had “seen more victories under the Endangered Species Act than any previous administration,” the Obama Administration generally applied the ESA … Continue Reading

US Dam Infrastructure Earns a “D” in American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card

In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) completed its quadrennial infrastructure report card, giving American infrastructure a “D +” overall, and a slightly lower “D” for the “Dams” category. With 90,580 existing water impoundments in the US, there is need and opportunity to undertake a variety of activities at all levels of government and across … Continue Reading

Squire Patton Boggs Helps Secure a Victory for the State of Colorado at the US Supreme Court

On June 26, the US Supreme Court denied New Mexico’s petition seeking to institute an original action against Colorado for the 2015 Gold King Mine spill. An original action in the US Supreme Court is a lawsuit between states. Invoking that rarely used procedure, New Mexico sought to hold Colorado liable for the Gold King Mine spill.  … Continue Reading

Traditional SEPs and Mitigation Projects May Still Pass Muster under US DOJ’s New Settlement Policy

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued a new policy barring payments to non-governmental third parties as part of most civil and criminal settlements.  The memorandum does not detail how the US Department of Justice (DOJ) will implement the policy, leaving much to departmental interpretation.  The language is broad enough to have significant impacts on environmental settlements.  … Continue Reading

OSHA to Hold Stakeholder Meetings on Voluntary Protection Programs

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced its plan to hold a stakeholder meeting in Washington, D.C. on July 17, 2017, “to discuss the future direction of the agency’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP),” the agency’s initiative to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through cooperation, collaboration, and targeted hazard prevention and control.  A second stakeholder … Continue Reading

US EPA Approves Ohio’s Lake Erie Impairment Decision After Lawsuits Filed

US EPA recently approved Ohio’s 2016 list of impaired waters not meeting water quality goals which did not list the open waters of the Western Basin of Lake Erie as impaired. A coalition of environmental and conservation groups had recently filed lawsuits to force US EPA action on Ohio’s proposed listing in both the D.C. … Continue Reading

US Congress Creates New Subcommittee to Focus on Challenges and Opportunities for Local Governments

Local governments have a new forum on Capitol Hill focusing on the many challenges and opportunities they face: the Intergovernmental Affairs Subcommittee in the US House of Representatives. The new Subcommittee was created in January at the start of the new Congress and is led by Chairman Gary J. Palmer (AL-6) and Ranking Member Val … Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Join Fight Over “1-in 2-out” Trump Executive Order

Attorneys General from 14 states—led by West Virginia and Wisconsin—filed an amicus brief on April 17 in support of the “1-in 2-out” Executive Order (EO) issued by President Trump.  This EO, which we have covered previously, requires that: For every new regulation promulgated, two regulations are eliminated; Any new incremental costs associated with new regulations … Continue Reading

D.C. Court Gives US EPA 3 Years to Update National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants

On March 13, 2017, D.C. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan granted summary judgment to an environmental advocacy group and ordered US EPA to update its National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant (NESHAP) rulemakings for 20 listed major source categories in three years. The soon-to-be updated major source categories will affect several industries, including: … Continue Reading

OSHA Delays Effective Date of Controversial Rule Regulating Occupational Exposure to Beryllium

On March 16, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted a 60 day effective-date delay for its controversial rule regulating occupational exposure to beryllium (the Final Beryllium Rule). The rule is now scheduled to be effective on May 20, 2017. The delay in the rule reflects the agency’s compliance with a directive issued … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Declines Review of US EPA Practices on Blending and Mixing Zones

On February 28, the D.C. Circuit in Center for Regulatory Reasonableness v. US EPA dismissed a challenge to statements made by the US EPA regarding two wastewater treatment techniques – blending and the use of mixing zones. US EPA previously prohibited these techniques in specified circumstances, and in 2013, the Eighth Circuit vacated these prohibitions in Iowa League … Continue Reading

Are Changes on the Horizon to the Deference Historically Afforded to US Administrative Agencies?

As we have previously discussed on this blog, a cornerstone of US administrative law, Chevron deference, is in flux.  That fluctuation and its eventual resolution will impact US businesses, including in the promulgation of critical environmental regulations.  Chevron deference describes a doctrine articulated by a unanimous US Supreme Court in its 1984 decision, Chevron USA, Inc. … Continue Reading

Coalition Seeks to Compel US EPA Action on States’ Impaired Waters Listings for Lake Erie

A coalition of environmental and conservation groups have given US EPA notice of their intent to sue over the Agency’s failure to timely review Ohio’s and Michigan’s biennial impaired waters listings. Under §303(d)(2) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), US EPA is required to approve or disapprove a state’s proposed list of impaired waters not … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Proposed TSCA Risk Evaluation Rule

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has issued its proposed rule outlining the process by which it will conduct risk evaluations on chemical substances under the recently amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), to determine whether the substances present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment under the conditions of use. … Continue Reading

US Mine Safety & Health Administration’s Newly-Issued Workplace Examination Rule Withdrawn Pending OMB Review and Approval

In the final days of the Obama Administration, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released the much anticipated “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines” final rule amending 30 CFR Sections 56.18002 and 57.18002.  The final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017 with an effective date … Continue Reading

President Obama’s Public Land and Coastal Drilling Withdrawals; Could They Be Overturned By The Trump Administration?

As his administration drew to a close, President Obama invoked his executive authority to set aside large swaths of the Western US and the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from future development.  On December 28, 2016, President Obama established the Bears Ears and Gold Butte National Monuments in Utah and Nevada, respectively, setting aside nearly 1.5 million … Continue Reading

Superfund Financial Assurance Rules: Chemical, Coal, Petroleum & Electric Power Industries Face Upcoming US EPA Rulemaking

On December 1, 2016, the US EPA Administrator signed two documents about financial assurance – effectively bonding for facility cleanup – under Superfund for several industry sectors. The longer document with the shorter deadline concerned the hard rock mining and mineral processing industries, proposing specific costly rules, on which comments are due around March 13.  … Continue Reading

Asbestos-Containing Materials: A Non-Scope Consideration Worth Investigating During Environmental Due Diligence

A common question that arises when performing environmental due diligence on commercial real estate is the degree to which the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) should be investigated.  In the case of ACMs, “what you don’t know can hurt you” and, therefore, the old axiom of “less is more” does not apply.  This is especially true regarding asbestos not only … Continue Reading

Proposed Settlement Agreement Requires US EPA to Promulgate Perchlorate Regulations by the End of 2019

US EPA recently agreed in federal court to engage in a rulemaking process over the next three-plus years which would culminate in the promulgation of final perchlorate regulations by December 19, 2019. Perchlorate remains the only unregulated contaminant for which US EPA has made a final determination to regulate since the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was amended in … Continue Reading

Despite New Administration, Environmental Groups May Influence Changes to US Industrial Stormwater Discharge Permits

Although the focus and priorities of a new US EPA administration under President-elect Trump remain unclear, regulatory changes may be in the works that could require certain industrial entities to either change how they handle stormwater discharges or face lawsuits brought by environmental groups. As described more fully below, US EPA entered into a settlement … Continue Reading

Involved with US Export and Import of Hazardous Waste? New Requirements Are Coming

On November 28, 2016, US EPA published its Final Rule revising the requirements applicable to the export and import of hazardous wastes to and from the United States.  The changes enacted by US EPA make three significant revisions to existing regulations by: Aligning existing export and import related requirements with the current import-export requirements for … Continue Reading

US EPA Identifies First 10 Chemicals For Risk Evaluations Under Amended TSCA

On November 29, US EPA announced the first 10 chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under the recently amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  US EPA will evaluate the 10 chemicals to determine whether they “present an unreasonable risk of injury” to health or the environment “under the … Continue Reading

Western US Water Managers Move Towards Collaborative Approaches to Water Management

The completion of the state of Colorado’s Water Plan on November 19, 2015, reflects a growing trend in western water management away from conflict and towards collaborative and inclusive discussion. Increasingly, western water managers are opting, or perhaps feeling obliged, to pursue more creative and coordinated solutions to complex water issues, built on broad-based stakeholder … Continue Reading
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