Solid & Hazardous Waste

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Supporters of US Plastic Pollution Reduction Bill Press On Despite Challenging Times

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in increased use of disposable plastics and plastic waste reduction efforts have experienced setbacks as the need for these products grows. Nonetheless, proponents of a federal bill aimed at reducing plastic waste, the “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act,” (the Act) continue to advocate for its passage.  Recently, Sen. Tom … Continue Reading

Ohio Adopts CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Defense

On June 16, Ohio Governor DeWine signed into law H.B. 168, which creates a “bona fide prospective purchaser” (BFPP) affirmative defense to liability for performing investigative or remedial activities that arise out of release or threatened release of hazardous substances.  Ohio follows a number of other states that have similarly enacted a BFPP defense or … Continue Reading

Is the UK Heading Towards a Duty on Businesses to Prevent Breaches of Human Rights?

In April 2017, the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights suggested that it might be appropriate for a “failure to prevent” mechanism, such as the one found in section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, to be applied to business and human rights.  Earlier this year, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (“BIICL”) … Continue Reading

We Finally Have the US Supreme Court Decision in Atlantic Richfield, But Who Really Won?

On April 20, 2020, the US Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Gregory Christian. In short, the Court held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) does not strip Montana state courts of jurisdiction over landowners’ claims for restoration damages; but the Court also held … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues New Guidance for Hazardous Waste Cleanup & Emergency Response Sites Impacted by COVID-19

On April 10, 2020, US EPA issued updated interim guidance to regional offices for dealing with the “challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation.” The guidance applies to all US EPA field activities, including cleanup under the Superfund program, RCRA corrective action, TSCA PCB cleanup provisions, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Underground Storage Tank program. … Continue Reading

It Has Been A Busy Year For the TSCA Risk Assessment Process

As 2019 moves into its closing months, US EPA activity under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) remains front and center.  As part of US EPA’s three-step process of prioritization, risk evaluation and risk management for existing chemicals, as we previously reported, EPA began in 2016 by identifying the first ten chemicals for  risk … Continue Reading

How Thoroughly do UK Businesses Need to Investigate What Happens to Their Waste After They Have Transferred It?

A recent prosecution by the Environment Agency, where a company was ordered to pay £327,000, has highlighted potentially difficult issues for businesses in complying with the statutory waste duty of care. What is the Statutory Waste Duty of Care? All businesses generate waste of some description: from paper and kitchen waste in offices, to hazardous … Continue Reading

Asbestos Receiving Renewed Attention in Light of Additional US EPA Assessments under TSCA and Potential Ban by Congress

Asbestos is in the hot seat these days and is receiving significant attention from both US EPA and Congress.  In particular, US EPA continues to evaluate asbestos risks under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and has imposed additional regulations, while Congress is currently considering an outright ban on the substance. On April 25, 2019, … Continue Reading

Left In The Lurch – Another UK Landlord Convicted Following Tenant’s Unlawful Waste Operations

Recent caselaw demonstrates that regulators are prepared to prosecute landlords as a direct result of their tenants’ unlawful waste operations. Landlords should consider this possibility when negotiating with prospective tenants and put in place reasonable safeguards to protect themselves. However, victims of fly-tipping may potentially face a similar risk of prosecution against which such safeguards … Continue Reading

US BUILD Act Clarifies Tenant Standing for Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Protections from Contaminated Property Liability

When President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill on March 23, 2018, he also enacted the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act) (not to be confused with the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018—yet another BUILD Act of 2018). Among the several provisions within the BUILD … Continue Reading

Groundwater Remediation as Potential Tool to Combat Water Scarcity: Navigating Potential Conflicts Between CERCLA Remediation Considerations and Water Policy Issues

New water supplies in the western United States are likely to come from a panoply of non-traditional sources, including storm water capture, waste water recycling, desalination, infrastructure efficiency improvements, and other conservation measures. One potential new water source for municipalities is contaminated groundwater requiring environmental remediation, that, but for its low quality, could be used … Continue Reading

US EPA Revises RCRA Definition of Solid Waste Rule to Comport with D.C. Circuit Rulings

On May 30, 2018, US EPA issued a final rule to revise the regulations associated with the 2015 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule.  US EPA performed this rulemaking to bring the regulations in line with the D.C. Circuit’s 2017 and 2018 rulings in American Petroleum Institute v. EPA (Case No. 09-1038), which vacated and … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Further Clarifies the RCRA Definition of Solid Waste Rule Ruling

On March 6, 2018, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals modified its 2017 ruling in American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, No. 09-1038, concerning US EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which defines when hazardous recyclable materials are excluded from regulation as hazardous waste.  The end result … Continue Reading

US EPA’s Superfund Task Force Recommendations May Expedite Cleanup and Reuse Process for Contaminated Sites

Shortly after being confirmed as the new US EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt appointed a Superfund Task Force to review the approximately 1,300 Superfund sites in the United States and make recommendations on how to improve and restructure the cleanup process. Administrator Pruitt observed that “many of these sites have been listed as Superfund sites for decades, some … Continue Reading

Enforcement of UK Waste Exemptions – No Longer the Light Touch?

Registered waste exemptions are not to be treated lightly and compliance with their conditions is not flexible, as the Environment Agency has reinforced in a recent case.  A lengthy investigation culminating in a nearly £20,000 fine has been handed down by Chelmsford Magistrates Court in relation to illegal deposits of waste on farmland in Essex. … Continue Reading

Increased Risk of Clean-Up Liability for Owners of Closed Council Landfill Sites in England and Wales

A recent Court of Appeal case, Powys County Council v Price and Hardwick, has addressed the issue of liability of successor public authorities under the UK contaminated land regime (Part 2A Environmental Protection Act 1990) (“Part 2A”). The case related to a landfill site that had been operated by local authorities of the county of … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Strikes Down Portions of the RCRA Definition of Solid Waste Rule

On July 7, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision striking down portions of US EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule, which defines when certain hazardous secondary materials (i.e. recyclable materials generated as the remainder of industrial processes) become “discarded” and thus subject to regulation as a solid waste.  The Rule, … Continue Reading

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

Successor Local Authorities May Be Liable Under the UK Contaminated Land Regime

The recent decision of the High Court in Price and Hardwicke v Powys County Council determined that a local authority may acquire potential liability under the contaminated land regime (“CLR”) from its statutory predecessor, notwithstanding that the CLR did not enter into force until over 5 years after the transfer of liabilities took place.… 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

Ninth Circuit Rules Smelter Emissions Are Not a CERCLA Disposal

The Ninth Circuit’s recent opinion in Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., addressed whether, “[w]hen a smelter emits lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury compounds through a smokestack and those compounds contaminate land or water downwind, . . . the owner-operator of the smelter [can] be held liable for cleanup costs and natural resource damages under … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Significant New Use Rule for TCE in Consumer Products

On April 8, 2016, US EPA issued a final significant new use rule (“SNUR”) for trichloroethylene (“TCE”). The TCE SNUR requires anyone manufacturing, importing or processing TCE for use in a consumer product to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing any such manufacturing, importation or processing. The SNUR expressly exempts the use of … Continue Reading
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