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Ohio Appeals Dismissal of the State’s Complaint Against Rover Pipeline LLC Due to Ohio EPA’s Failure to Timely Respond to Request for CWA Section 401 Certification

On March 12, 2019, Judge Kristin G. Farmer for the Stark County Court of Common Pleas dismissed the State of Ohio’s Third Amended Complaint against Rover Pipeline. The State alleged that Rover had committed widespread environmental violations during the construction of its 713-mile interstate natural gas pipeline. The court dismissed the complaint on the grounds that … Continue Reading

US EPA Formally Proposes Repeal of “Once In, Always In” Policy

On June 25, 2019, US EPA issued a proposed rule that would reverse the “once in, always in” policy for sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) that has been in place for more than 20 years. The rulemaking formalizes a January 2018 US EPA memorandum repealing the policy, an action that was challenged by environmental groups and … Continue Reading

Mobile Sources Face an Increased Risk of Agency Enforcement and Citizen Suits

On June 12, 2019, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) announced its seven enforcement and compliance assurance priority areas for fiscal years 2020-2023. One of the National Compliance Initiatives includes “Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines.” Specifically, the Agency expressed that it will have a focus on reducing aftermarket defeat device manufacture, … 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

US EPA Extends Date For Designation of Inactive Substances on the TSCA Inventory to August 5, 2019

US EPA has announced that the formal designation of substances as inactive on US EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory will become effective on August 5, 2019. (84 Fed. Reg. 21773 (May 15, 2019)). US EPA’s action gives companies an additional three months to continue to manufacture, import and process substances, even though the … Continue Reading

Springtime Showers Brings State Legislation in the US Friendly to Solar and Wind Energy

During the spring’s customarily dreary weather, many states have been seeking out sunshine and wind. In the months of March and April alone, eight states in the US passed legislation in an attempt to either make the permitting process easier for solar and wind power or to commit to the use of renewable power by … Continue Reading

Local Control in the US Gaining Steam … Again?

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 19-181 (SB19-181) into law.  SB19-181 was a controversial bill as it made its way through the Colorado Legislature, and it is now a controversial piece of legislation.  Indeed, SB19-181 passed the Colorado Legislature strictly along party lines, and it has now pitted some … Continue Reading

US District Court Blocks Trump Administration Effort to Revoke Obama-Era Mineral Leasing Withdrawals

On March 29, 2019, the US District Court for the District of Alaska blocked the Trump Administration’s efforts to revoke the Obama Administration’s prior withdrawal of portions of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from mineral leasing under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).  The court’s decision is noteworthy, not just for its implications for … Continue Reading

President Trump Signs Drought Contingency Plan for Colorado River

Months ago, in the face of “unacceptably high” risk to the Colorado River’s complex system of reservoirs, US Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, Brenda Burman, indicated that if the seven Colorado River Basin States could not agree to a drought contingency plan (DCP), then the federal government would post a notice in the federal register seeking … Continue Reading

President Trump Signs Two Executive Orders to Promote Development of Critical Energy Infrastructure

On April 10th, President Donald Trump signed two Executive Orders that seek to promote timely review of critical energy infrastructure projects in the United States. These changes to the review process seek to “enable the timely construction of the infrastructure needed to move our energy resources through domestic and international commerce.” (EO 13868.) “By promoting the development of … Continue Reading

US EPA Finalizes Rule Employing “SNUR-Only” Approach for TSCA New Chemical Reviews

On April 5, 2019, US EPA finalized significant new use rules (SNURs) for 13 new chemical substances under section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Notably, the 13 chemicals are not also subject to orders under TSCA section 5(e) or 5(f) – an approach that differs substantially from US EPA’s long-standing past practice. … Continue Reading

Keystone XL Pipeline Litigation Takes a Turn on Heels of President Trump’s New Presidential Permit

The Keystone XL Pipeline is back in the spotlight. In the first quarter of 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction prohibiting TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP and TransCanada Corporation (TransCanada) from beginning construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline. On … Continue Reading

Four Things to Know About US EPA’s Draft WOTUS Rule

On February 14, 2019, the US Army Corps of Engineers and US EPA (Agencies) published in the Federal Register the proposed rule to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States,” the term that identifies the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.  The proposed rule is the second step in a two-part process … Continue Reading

US EPA Approves Missouri’s Innovative Approach to Limiting Nutrient Pollution

In December 2018, the US EPA approved Missouri’s standards for limiting nutrient pollution in lakes and reservoirs in the state. The Agency’s approval comes after years of past debate and litigation between US EPA and Missouri over the state’s approach to nutrient criteria and, notably, represents a reversal from US EPA’s Obama-era opposition to the state’s … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court to Reconsider Key Agency Deference Standard

Often called the fourth branch of government, administrative agencies implement the labyrinth of federal regulations governing people and companies in the United States. Administrative agencies play a particularly important role in regulating environmental, health, and safety in the United States. Those administrative agencies may soon face greater scrutiny from federal courts in their interpretation of their own … Continue Reading

After Shutdown, US EPA Announces New Hearing Date for the New WOTUS Rule

As a result of the recent lapse in appropriations, the US EPA and US Department of the Army (Army) delayed a planned January 23, 2019 hearing regarding the proposed new “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) definition. Publication of the proposed rule and the start of the comment period on the rule were also postponed due … Continue Reading

Latest News and Perspectives on California Prop 65

The latest news and perspectives on California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65) track the passage of the newly-amended Clear and Reasonable Warnings regulations under Prop 65, which took effect on August 30, 2018. Significantly, plaintiffs have started to target companies whom they believe to not be in compliance with the newly-amended regulations.  Read more below about … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Proposal to Freeze Tailpipe Emission Standards

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a proposed rule regarding existing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and tailpipe greenhouse gases (GHG) emission standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks on August 24, 2018. With this proposal, US EPA’s goal is to finalize a rule … Continue Reading

US OSHA Continues Emphasis on Excavation and Trenching Safety

Effective October 1, 2018, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Trenching and Excavation, with the intent of describing “policies and procedures . . . to identify and to reduce hazards which are causing or likely to cause serious injuries and fatalities during trenching and excavation operations.”  The updated NEP … Continue Reading

Two Federal Courts Issue Decisions Against EPA “Suspension” Rule, Reviving and Protecting Obama-era Waters Rule

In the past two weeks, U.S. District Courts in South Carolina and Washington issued decisions that dealt additional blows to the Trump Administration’s efforts to unravel the 2015 Obama-era “waters of the United States” rule (“Obama Rule”).  In light of these rulings, the Obama Rule appears poised to remain effective in 22 states for at least … 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

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

The 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 … 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 … 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
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