Tag Archives: Environmental Permitting

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

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

Piercing the Corporate Veil Following Breaches of UK Environmental Permits

The recent Court of Appeal decision in R v Powell and Westwood contains an interesting insight into the extent to which company directors may find themselves personally liable for the cost of remediating contamination which has been caused or knowingly permitted by the companies that they control. It has confirmed that the corporate veil should … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Rules Against the Corps and in Favor of Landowners With Respect to the Reviewability of Jurisdictional Determinations, Reserving for Another Day the Full Scope of Finality under the Administrative Procedure Act

In one of the most closely watched environmental and administrative law cases this term, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the government on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, affirming the Eighth Circuit’s decision allowing federal courts to review the US Army Corps of Engineers’ jurisdictional determinations. Jurisdictional determinations are decisions wherein the Corps determines whether wetlands or dry … Continue Reading

Record Fine Imposed For UK Water Pollution Offence – Prevention Less Costly Than Cure?

The record fine of £1m recently handed down to Thames Water Utilities Limited is further evidence (if any were needed) that the Courts are willing impose extremely tough penalties on very large organisations found to have breached environmental regulations. Background Thames Water has an environmental permit to discharge treated sewage from Tring Sewage Treatment Works into … Continue Reading

US District Court Blocks BLM Rule for Hydraulic Fracking on Federal and Tribal Land

On September 30, 2015, the US District Court for the District of Wyoming preliminarily enjoined the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from enforcing its final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands, pending the resolution of a challenge to the rule under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) brought by various industry, state, … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Sides With US EPA In Pebble Mine FOIA Litigation

On August 24, 2015, Judge H. Russel Holland of the US District Court for the District of Alaska dealt a blow to Pebble Limited Partnership’s (Pebble Partnership) efforts to obtain documents which it believes could support its claim that US EPA failed to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by coordinating with environmental … Continue Reading

US EPA Revises Emission Factors for Flaring

On April 20, 2015, EPA revised AP-42 emission factors for equipment found in refineries, chemical plants, and miscellaneous sources, substantially increasing the estimated emissions produced by equipment from these industry categories.  The emission factors, which were last updated in 1991, were revised as a result of litigation brought by environmental groups that asserted that EPA had … Continue Reading

Enforcement Undertakings for Environmental Permitting Offences – A ‘Win-Win’ Scenario?

On 6 April 2015, the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015/324 came into force and conferred upon the Environment Agency the power to accept enforcement undertakings in respect of certain offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010/675 (“EPR”). This development, which had been long anticipated, means that an offender … Continue Reading

Iowa Utility To Pursue Novel Lawsuit Over Agricultural Nitrate Pollution

The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) recently issued a notice of intent (NOI) to sue three County Board of Supervisors that oversee several drainage districts reportedly responsible for excessive nitrate pollution being discharged from groundwater in subsurface agricultural drainage systems into the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. Recent sampling efforts by DMWW have indicated nitrate … Continue Reading

Environmental Regulation and Nanotechnology in the UK and EU: Challenges, Risks and Rewards

What is Nanotechnology? Nanotechnology is a generic term used to describe the design, engineering, production and use of substances and materials at the nanoscale (1 nanometre representing 1 billionth of a metre).  To illustrate, one sheet of standard paper is approximately 100,000 nanometres thick and one nanometre is roughly how long a human fingernail will … Continue Reading

Use of civil sanctions for UK environmental permitting finally ‘sanctioned’!

As we reported in June 2015, the use of civil sanctions have applied to a range of environmental offences since June 2011, with the notable omission of environmental permitting offences under the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 (EPR), which account for a relatively large amount of prosecution activity by the Environment Agency (EA).  … Continue Reading

Preliminary Injunction Halts US EPA’s CWA 404 Process on Pebble Mine To Evaluate Activists’ Connections

On November 25, 2014, a federal judge granted a motion for preliminary injunction, and ordered US EPA to stop all work pertaining to its investigation of and proposed plan to restrict discharges from the prospective Pebble Mine project near Bristol Bay in Alaska.  The plaintiff, Pebble Partnership, contended that US EPA failed to comply with the requirements … Continue Reading

Controversial “Waters of the US” Rule Proposal Draws Criticism as Public Comment Period Expires

The extended public comment period for the US EPA and Army Corp of Engineers’ proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) expired November 14, 2014.  The proposed rule has come under intense scrutiny for its apparent expansion of CWA jurisdiction.  US EPA received nearly 500,000 public comments … Continue Reading

US EPA Memorandum Withdraws Permitting Requirements For GHG-Only Sources While Confirming 75,000 TPY Threshold For “Anyway” Sources

Last week, the heads of US EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance jointly issued a memorandum to regional administrators clarifying the Agency’s position on permitting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V programs. The memo was issued in response … Continue Reading

Use of civil sanctions for environmental permitting still in prospect for the UK?

Traditionally, environmental offences in the UK have been dealt with by way of criminal sanctions, like cautions and prosecutions, with ensuing fines and even imprisonment in certain cases.  With the introduction of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008, a new range of civil sanctions were opened up for use by regulators choosing to adopt … Continue Reading

UK Sentencing Council Definitive Guidelines for Environmental Offences – The Shape of Things to Come?

The recent decision in R v Southern Water Services Limited (2014) has seen the Court of Appeal take a very firm stance against a utilities provider, upholding a fine of £200,000 following a conviction under regulation 38 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (the ‘2010 Regulations’) for discharging untreated sewage into the … Continue Reading
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