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
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Illinois Digs Nuclear? Federal Court Upholds Illinois State Subsidies to Nuclear Power Plants

The State of Illinois recently passed the Future Energy Jobs Act and created a “zero emission credit” program to subsidize nuclear power generation and corresponding sales of nuclear power in the energy market. The statute grants zero emission credits to certain qualifying energy-generating facilities, specifically, several nuclear power plants owned by Exelon in Illinois. Utilities that sell electricity to consumers must purchase zero emission credits from the qualifying power plants, and those utilities then pass the costs of the zero
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Recent Efforts in California to Address Climate Change – New Twists on Established Strategies

As the world continues to confront the reality of a changing climate resulting from anthropogenic (human caused) releases of greenhouse gasses since the dawn of the industrial age, efforts to slow the increase of average global temperatures and combat the worst effects of that temperature rise have taken various tracks — from large-scale international agreements such as the Paris Accord (COP23) and the Kyoto Protocol, to legislative attempts such as cap-and-trade programs, to lawsuits based on international, federal, and state
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The EPA’s Action Plan to Restore a Cornerstone of its Mission

In May, E. Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, issued a memo about prioritizing the Superfund Program and establishing a commission to expedite the identification and revitalization of superfund sites. CERCLA created the Superfund Program in 1980, but efforts to revitalize superfund sites have lately been delayed by red tape, funding issues, bankruptcies, and court proceedings. In his memo directed to the deputy administrator, the inspector general, assistant administrators, and other high level personnel, Pruitt vowed that “the EPA’s Superfund land and
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Does this Water Taste … Nuclear to You? Florida Power Company Granted Permission to Store Wastewater from Proposed Nuclear Reactors Beneath Miami’s Drinking Water Aquifers

After a months-long battle, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently granted Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) application to: (1) build two new nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point Generating Station; (2) store wastewater from the proposed nuclear reactors under Miami’s drinking water aquifers; and (3) eventually store nuclear waste near the same site. This application was granted despite previous citations issued to FPL for its leaks of saltwater into drinking water and wastewater into Biscayne Bay that were from
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How Will Businesses and the Insurance Industry Respond to the Growing Threat of Climate Change?

The ability of the global insurance industry to manage society’s risks likely will be significantly impacted by climate change in coming years. The ClimateWise report recently confirmed that since the 1950s the frequency of weather-related catastrophes has increased six-fold. As these risks occur more often, previously insurable assets are becoming uninsurable, and those already underinsured are further compromised. The overall consequences can be far reaching and as yet, we are not able to comprehend the vast nature of the risk.
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Nuclear Option: New York Federal Judge Strikes Down Challenge to Power Plant Subsidies

On Tuesday, July 25, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed a challenge to New York’s plan to subsidize the state’s nuclear power plants. According to the Judge’s decision, the plan does not intrude upon federal jurisdiction over wholesale electricity markets and passes constitutional muster because it is rationally related to a legitimate state interest: the production of clean energy and the reduction of carbon emissions from the production of other energy. A coalition of power generators and energy
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The Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda: An Exercise in Deregulation

A few weeks ago, we outlined the Trump administration’s rollback of the Clean Water Rule — an Obama era proposal that expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This past week saw the administration continue on that theme, deregulating the Obama era agenda. On Thursday, July 20, 2017, the administration released its semi-annual Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions — a report on the actions that administrative agencies plan to issue in
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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
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Di-can’t-a? Three Midwestern States Act to Limit the Use of Dicamba

On July 14, 2017, Tennessee joined Arkansas and Missouri in limiting the use of dicamba. Dicamba is an herbicide used to combat broadleaf weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides. The use of dicamba has increased significantly since the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of dicamba on soybeans and cotton that are genetically modified to tolerate the chemical. Older formulations of dicamba had been reported to drift after application and affect other crops
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