Minning Yu

All articles by Minning Yu

 

An Example of Hurricane Harvey’s Aftermath: Energy Company Significantly Underestimates Benzene Emission Levels After Leak

Last week, we wrote about Houston’s long road to recovery from Hurricane Harvey, including the aftermath of the toxic environmental mess that Harvey left. This week, we bring you just one of many examples of environmental headaches that continue to persist following the storm. According to self-reported emissions to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), refineries, petrochemical plants, and other industrial operations emitted some 2.6 million pounds of pollutants into the air during Harvey-related shutdowns and accidents in the
Continue reading...  

Woe is Me: EPA Seeks Help Defining WOTUS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) are seeking recommendations from stakeholders and the public in their effort to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The definition and interpretation of WOTUS is critical as it defines the federal government’s regulatory reach (and limits) when it comes to the country’s waterways. On February 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that directed EPA to
Continue reading...  

Growing Illegal Marijuana in California Threatens Polluting the Golden State’s Waterways and Forests

Even as California prepares to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana next year, experts remain concerned that new laws and regulations still fall short in combating the thousands of illegal marijuana farms that threaten federal forest land in California. In 1996, California was not surprisingly the first to legalize medical marijuana, and last year, it became the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana. Right now, it’s legal to use recreational marijuana, while the sale of recreational marijuana is anticipated to be
Continue reading...  

Don’t Spill the Nurdles! EPA Reaches Settlement with Two Plastic Manufacturers Over Pollution of the Los Angeles River and Permit Violations

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it reached an agreement with two Southern California plastic manufacturers over violations of the Clean Water Act.  In 2015, Western States Packaging Inc. (Western States) and Direct Pack Inc. (Direct Pack) were cited for violations relating to their use of plastic pellets, known as “nurdles,” at their manufacturing facilities in Southern California.  Nurdles are plastic beads about 1/5 of an inch in diameter that are used to make jars, bags
Continue reading...  

Water Alert — PFAs Detected in North Carolina’s Cape Fear River Raise Immediate Concerns Over Safety of Community’s Drinking Water Supply

On June 20, 2017, the Chemours Company announced that it will now “capture, remove, and safely dispose of wastewater that contains the byproduct GenX,” from North Carolina’s Cape Fear River — a main supply source for the City of Wilmington’s drinking water. The announcement last week comes on the heels of reports that the EPA is investigating whether Chemours complied with a 2009 order issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that allowed DuPont (from which Chemours was spun-off) to
Continue reading...  

Must Be Something in the Water: High Levels of PFOAs Found in Mid-Ohio River Valley Residents

A recent study by the University of Cincinnati found high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOAs) in residents from the Mid-Ohio River Valley over a 22-year period. The study’s findings are largely consistent with increased detection of PFOAs in water sources nationwide in recent years. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8, persists indefinitely in the environment and is identified as a substance that is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Until recently, PFOAs were routinely used in making a number of consumer
Continue reading...  

CERCLA Update – Watch Out for Inadequacies in Allegations; Pleading Requirements to Satisfy a “Disposal”

Late last year, in our Law360 article “Definition Of ‘Disposal’ Limits CERCLA’s Applicability,” we analyzed an Ohio District Court’s pleading requirements to state a claim for liability under CERCLA. The plaintiffs’ initial complaint in that case had been dismissed because it failed to sufficiently allege “active human conduct” causing hazardous substances to be “discharged, deposited, injected, dumped, spilled, leaked or placed into or on any land or water at the Site so that it could enter the environment.” We left
Continue reading...