Colorado Proposition 112: If Colorado Bans New Oil and Gas Development, What Next?

OilwellThe State of Colorado is a leader in regulating oil and gas development. But a ballot initiative proposes a more dramatic regulatory step: restricting oil and gas development all together. In the upcoming election, Colorado voters will decide whether to enact Proposition 112, a law requiring a 2,500-foot setback between any new oil and gas developments and any “occupied structure” or “vulnerable area.”

Proposition 112 will ban oil and gas development in Colorado.

The measure changes the setback under state law from 72 acres to 450 acres. And the law defines “new” oil and gas development to include reentry of an oil or gas well previously plugged or abandoned. Even Sierra-club endorsed Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis opposes the measure, recognizing it as a near-total “ban” on oil and gas development in Colorado. Continue Reading

US Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit Orders Ban on Chlorpyrifos

In a 2-1 opinion this August, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals instructed US EPA to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos, one of the most widely used conventional insecticides in the United States.  If left in place, this ruling will effectively ban domestic use of the popular pesticide, though the Ninth Circuit may revise its injunction to allow continued non-food applications. 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 as water supply. Exploring this option is especially appealing in water stressed regions, such as much of the western United States. For example, in southern California, the Metropolitan Water District supports “[r]ecovering degraded groundwater supplies for municipal use” as part of its Local Resources Program. The idea is to conduct environmental remediation of groundwater in a way that unlocks new unused water resources. In cases where contaminated groundwater is hydrologically separated from aquifers that are being beneficially used, a remedy that involves the extraction of water and treatment for later recharge into the principal water supply aquifer can actually increase the volume of water naturally available for human use. Continue Reading

Proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule: Navigating US EPA’s Clean Power Plan Replacement

On August 31, 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) published its proposed rule providing a replacement to the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  The proposed rule, named the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, outlines revised emissions guidelines and the process for states to submit plans for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from affected electric utility generating units (EGUs).  Key components include a shift to “inside-the-fenceline” emission reduction measures at individual sources for the best system of emission reduction (BSER) and proposed changes to applicability requirements for EGUs under the New Source Review (NSR) program.  Comments on the proposed rule are currently due on October 31, 2018, and the only public hearing thus far was held in Chicago on October 1, 2018.  The Agency is taking steps to organize the comments by indexing each comment solicitation and directing commenters to “include the corresponding identifier” when providing relevant comments.

The CPP remains subject to a stay in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals since February 9, 2016.  On September 4, 2018, a group of petitioners including seventeen states filed a response and motion requesting the court lift the abeyance and issue a ruling.  The basis for the motion included that US EPA does not have sufficient grounds to continue the stay and is unduly prolonging the abeyance.  The petition noted that such a decision would not prevent US EPA from pursuing this proposed rulemaking. Additionally, the Agency published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on December 28, 2017 seeking comments as to a proposed replacement rule. For a detailed overview of these background events, see this article.

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September 2018 Update: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy

Online NewsWe are pleased to share our latest edition of “frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy”. In the September edition, we summarise more than 30 developments in the environmental, safety and health sector. Top stories this month include:

  • The Court of Appeal’s decision in Serious Fraud Office (SFO) v Eurasian Natural Resource Corp Ltd (ENRC)
  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fining a logistics company £1.5 million after the death of a worker
  • A new national strategy for product safety strategy has been introduced by the OPSS
  • The Court of Appeal reducing a fine by £765,000 for breach of work at height requirements
  • Further guidance introduced from the government on what a “no deal” Brexit would look like for the UK

For more detailed information on these developments and access to the remaining summaries, download a copy from our website. Make sure you also subscribe to receive our most recent edition every month.

California Turning Away From Traditional Imported Water Sources and Toward More Resilient Localized Water Supplies

In 2014 California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which provides the framework for local water management agencies to develop and implement groundwater sustainability plans in order to sustainably manage the state’s groundwater within 20 years. This legislation was California’s first ever attempt to sustainably manage groundwater resources, a long overdue effort given that the state relies on groundwater for 40 percent of its total water supply in an average year. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act aims to ensure that groundwater basins are being managed in a way that achieves “sustainable yield”—the maximum quantity of water that can be withdrawn annually from a groundwater supply without causing an “undesirable result.” Continue Reading

California Water Board Sues Federal Agency for Pollutants Entering the U.S. Via the Tijuana River

DrainThe San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) filed a complaint on September 4, 2018 against the United States Section of the International Boundary Water Commission (IBWC), alleging violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) related to contamination in the Tijuana River. Relying on a 1944 U.S./Mexico treaty, the complaint alleges that the IBWC is responsible for addressing waste entering the U.S. from Mexico along the Tijuana River watershed.

The Tijuana River crosses the border into California through a flood conveyance channel operated by the IBWC, feeds the Tijuana River Estuary—a coastal wetland home to multiple species protected under the California Endangered Species Act—and eventually flows into the Pacific Ocean. The IBWC constructed and maintains a wastewater treatment plant and a supporting system of concrete channels, detention basins and pump stations to capture and treat waste flows entering the U.S. from Mexico. And, in 2014, the Water Board issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to the IBWC, allowing discharge of treated water into the Pacific Ocean. Continue Reading

August 2018 Update: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy

Electronic NewsWe are pleased to share our latest edition of “frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy”. In the August edition, we look at a host of relevant new developments in the environmental, safety and health sector. Top stories this month include:

  • The Home Office’s report into the economic and social cost of modern slavery
  • A West Midlands haulage firm being prosecuted following a fatal incident
  • The publication of a new national product safety strategy by the OPSS
  • Detectives involved in the Grenfell Tower fire investigations consider corporate manslaughter charges after conducting interviews under caution
  • The Sentencing Council’s Manslaughter Definitive Guidelines are set to come into force from 1 November 2018

For more detailed information on these developments, as well as access to the remaining summaries, make sure you download a copy from our website. You can also subscribe to ensure you receive our most recent edition every month.

MPs Recommend Giving UK Local Authorities Power to Charge Employers for Health and Safety Enforcement Action

There has been a general decline in health and safety inspection and enforcement by local authorities since 2010 principally due to reduced funding and competing priorities, according to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health (APPGOSH). According to their recent report, “Local Authorities and Health and Safety”:

  • the overall number of inspections and other interventions by local authorities fell by 65% between 2010 and 2016;
  • the number of full-time local authority health and safety inspectors fell by nearly 47% between 2010 and 2017; and
  • the number of enforcement notices issued by local authorities fell by 64% between 2010 and 2016/7.

However, one of their proposals, the extension of the Fees For Intervention regime (FFI) to local authorities, is likely to prove unpopular with employers, given the experiences of those sectors regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Continue Reading

July 2018 Update: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy

Electronic NewsWe are pleased to share with you the latest edition of “frESH Law Horizons: Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy”. In our July edition, we look at 37 new developments that may be relevant to anyone with an interest in the environmental, safety and health sector. Some of the top stories this month include:

  • A look at the government white paper on the UK/UK relationship post Brexit
  • A multi-agency initiative to detect waste crime and non-compliance with waste legislation
  • A reminder to company directors that there are potentially severe liabilities for regulatory offences
  • A nation-wide recall of frozen vegetables from supermarkets following a listeria risk
  • How the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 is making provisions in relation to transport technology
  • Dangerous gas installations see a utilities company fined £466,000

For more detailed information on these developments, as well as access to the remaining summaries, make sure you download a copy from our website. You can also subscribe to ensure you receive our most recent edition every month.

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