Coal Ash Regulation Update

The U.S. EPA’s efforts to develop a new regulatory path for coal ash (“Coal Combustion Residuals” or “CCR”) by regulating the material either as a hazardous waste or as a solid but non-hazardous waste, are nearing a conclusion. The deadline for EPA to announce a final decision is December 19. As we noted in February, [...]

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Judge Barbier Denies BP Attempt to Limit Clean Water Act Fines

On September 4, 2014, District Court Judge Carl Barbier issued his “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law – Phase One Trial” in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation. In his 153 page opinion, Judge Barbier found BP liable for gross negligence and willful misconduct under the Clean Water Act, which is also known as [...]

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EPA Further Delays Hydraulic Fracturing Study as Controversy Builds

EPA’s current estimate of the completion time for a draft of its study of the risks posed by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to drinking water is now projected by the agency to be developed in early 2015. This is based on comments in a letter originating from EPA’s Region 8 office stating that the study on [...]

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EPA Updates Rule for Site Assessments to Address the Innocent Landowner Defense

On October 6, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) adopted a final rule which will eventually eliminate one of the two recognized ASTM International standards to conduct environmental site assessments, which were designed  to comply with EPA’s “All Appropriate Inquires Rule” (“AAI”). Complying with the AAI rule is required to claim protection from CERCLA (Superfund) [...]

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Dealing With NIMBYs in Local Land Use and Environmental Approval

A developer or property owner may have a permit application for a project that meets the criteria for the applicable regulations, and might receive approval from local government or environmental staff. At that point, the applicant thinks he or she is in good shape going into the public hearing with the city or county commissioners, [...]

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Carbon and Climate Continue to Create Controversy

Late last month, President Obama addressed the United Nations Climate Summit and just a few days ahead of that, EPA announced that it has extended the comment period on the Clean Power Plant proposed rule to December 1, 2014. [EPA extension notice and details]   The proposed rule has been a lightning rod for the climate [...]

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Alabama Continues to Evaluate Water Use and Availability Issues

A combination of factors in Alabama has raised concerns about the reliability of adequate water in various parts of the State in the event of prolonged droughts or significant withdrawals. Industrial users and public water systems would be well advised to become familiar with, and participate in, current efforts by State government and the Legislature [...]

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Georgia EPD Appoints New Brownfield Program Coordinator

Beth Blalock has been named the new Brownfield Coordinator for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, replacing Madeleine Kellam, who has led the brownfield program since its inception and will retire at the end of 2014. Ms. Blalock is an environmental attorney (UGA, 2003), with a background in environmental and land use law. Her prior experience [...]

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FDEP Touts the Success of the State’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) touts the success of the State’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program.  Since its inception in 1997, Florida’s Brownfields Redevelopment Act ( Florida Statutes Sections 376.77 -376.85) has been viewed as successfully encouraging the redevelopment of abandoned or underutilized industrial and commercial property. The Brownfield’s program provides a mix of regulatory and [...]

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Current Ethanol Blending Mandate Generates Interesting Opponents and Forces Delay

An increasingly pitched battle between business and agricultural interests over the blending of ethanol in gasoline has turned its focus to EPA’s rulemaking mandate which sets the minimum volume of renewable fuel sold annually in the U.S.  This Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has drawn significant attention because opponents of the use of ethanol in gasoline [...]

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