Environmental Issues and The Republican Majority

Expectations are running high among some that the incoming Republican majority in both Houses of Congress will act to change or eliminate various environmental regulations and statutory provisions that they claim harm the economy. Interest groups are extending these efforts to enlist State officials in opposing these regulations at that level and, for his part, [...]

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EPA Re-Defines “Solid Waste”

On December 10, 2014, the EPA administrator published its latest version on a rule revising recycling related provisions under the definition of solid waste rule (DSW rule). See 40 CFR Parts 260 and 261, Docket No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2010-0742 (Dec. 10, 2014). The revisions were made to help alleviate concerns regarding disproportionate health and environmental risks suffered [...]

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Winter Draws Mixed Opinions Regarding Fracking

Fracking received much attention and debate in the fourth quarter. Fracking is the process of injecting large amounts of water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressures in order to release oil and natural gas into underground rock formations. On December 17, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his administration’s plan to [...]

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New Year Brings New Coal Ash Regulations and New Legislative Proposals

December 19, 2014 marked the deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to announce its final decision regarding a new regulatory scheme for coal ash disposal (Coal Combustion Residuals or CCR). The new regulations are to focus on the disposal of coal ash. The pressure for new regulations began mounting after the rupture of a [...]

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EPA Releases Annual Environmental Enforcement Results

December 18, 2014, marked the release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual environmental enforcement and compliance results. See News Release, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Announces 2014 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results (Dec. 18, 2014). According to the EPA, its enforcement actions in 2014 required businesses across the country to invest more than $9.7 [...]

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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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