Can You Dig Half a Hole? EPA Proposes Partial Excavation at St. Louis Radioactive Landfill

In the early 1970s, a contractor for a uranium producer illegally dumped about 8,700 tons of uranium-processing waste at the West Lake Landfill in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Originally placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1990, the landfill is regarded as one of the most complex Superfund sites because it sits next to another landfill where an underground fire smolders. The landfill was targeted for “immediate, intense action” by the EPA Superfund Task Force in December 2017. The
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The Push for Repeal of Environmental Regulations: One Year into the Trump Administration, Where Do We Stand?

As we move a little more than a year into the Trump Administration, it probably is time to take a look at where we are in regards to the administration’s publicly stated goal of repealing environmental regulations, many of which are related to climate change. In that context, the New York Times, National Geographic Society, Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, and Harvard University’s Environmental Law Program, are great sources, providing useful tracking information and updates regarding
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PFAS Update: DuPont and Chemours Hit With Another Suit in Ohio

Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed suit against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DuPont) and its spinoff The Chemours Company (Chemours) for the release of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), also known as C8, into the Ohio River.  The current suit alleges that between 1951 and 2013 DuPont released toxic chemicals from its Washington Works plant, a 1,200-acre facility along the Ohio River, which forms the border between Ohio and West Virginia.  The lawsuit alleges that DuPont’s internal
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Can Groundwater Be Regulated Under the Clean Water Act?

Recently, we reported on the EPA’s decision to postpone the Clean Water Rule, a controversial rule pertaining to what bodies of water are protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). While the CWA states that it regulates discharge from point sources into surface waters, what constitutes “surface waters” has continued to be an open and debated question, one that appears to have created a Circuit Court split that the U.S. Supreme Court may need to resolve. Specifically, on February 1,
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Michigan County: Worst PFAS Contamination in the Country to Date

This blog post follows our regular postings on one the key emerging unregulated contaminants, PFASs. Following New York’s lead, Michigan’s now considering blood tests for the contaminant in individuals located in what’s considered the country’s most serious PFAS contamination zone. What’s PFAS? A quick recap — per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of human-made toxic chemicals. PFASs were used to make some of the most common consumer products, including Gore-Tex clothing, Teflon cookware, Scotchguard stain-repellant for carpets or
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Calls for Stronger Ban of Fracking Wastewater at Delaware River Basin Commission Hearings

As a follow up to our recent December post, public hearings were held in Pennsylvania last month on the Delaware River Basin Commission’s 2017 resolution that could lead to a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River watershed — a region that includes 24 counties in portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Currently, there’s a moratorium in place that has halted fracking activities in the Basin since 2010. Some property owners in the affected region
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Get the Lead Out

Two recent developments illustrate that the dangers of lead paint need to remain on the radar, especially for employers, property owners, and real estate managers. First, on January 26, a jury in New York handed down a $57 million verdict against the New York City Housing Authority after it failed to perform lead paint inspections and then represented that the inspections had been completed. The Housing Authority’s failure resulted in high blood-lead levels in at least one small child, whose
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Clean Water Rule Update — The EPA Postpones Effective Date of WOTUS

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulates quality standards for surface waters. In May 2015, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the Clean Water Rule (the Rule or WOTUS), hoping to clarify the reach of the elusive phrase “waters of the United States” — the bodies of water protected under the CWA. When the Rule passed in 2015, developers, farmers, and
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Not in My Backyard: Coastal States Seek Exemptions to Offshore Drilling

On January 4, 2018, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, a plan to open nearly all U.S. coastal waters to oil and gas exploration and drilling. The program would lease the coastal areas along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and several regions of the Arctic Ocean (i.e., Alaska) for oil and gas exploration and contemplates 47 leases on the outer continental shelf of US waters. Prior
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Cutting the Red Tape: EPA Moves to Shorten Approval Process for New Products

The Environmental Protection Agency has altered its approach to assessing new chemicals for health and environmental hazards, resulting in streamlining the safety review process that had been criticized as too slow and cumbersome. Under the new approach, the EPA will no longer require that manufacturers offering new chemicals sign legal agreements that restrict the chemicals use under certain conditions. Those agreements, known as consent orders, will still be required if the EPA believes that the manufacturer’s intended use for a
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