Not Just for Delivering Packages, Drones Prove Critical in Damage Assessment and Disaster Recovery Efforts

Recreational use of drones has been around for several years now, and Amazon has even toyed with its delivery applications. However, in recent months, the application of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has timely expanded to more practical and even life-saving uses. By August 31, 2017 — just a few days after Hurricane Harvey — the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued 43 UAS authorizations to drone operators supporting the response and recovery for Hurricane Harvey or covering it as part
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The Empire Strikes Back? Oil Interests Make Push Against Pro-Biofuels Appointments to the USDA

Midwestern agriculture interests were concerned when former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was appointed to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Gov. Perdue was the first Southerner to be appointed to head the USDA since 1994. The majority of the recent U.S. agriculture secretaries have come from the Midwest, including former Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. The Midwest has been able to rely on the USDA to help support its interests in biofuels, an increasingly important
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The EPA’s Draft Strategic Plan — Part of the Rebalance?

In May, we wrote about the intentions of EPA director Scott Pruitt to rebalance the EPA. At the time, we reported on the speech Pruitt delivered at CERAWEEK, an annual conference involving leaders in industry, energy, the financial sectors, and government. In early October, the EPA released a Draft Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018-2022. This draft, released for public comment and review, echoes the comments made by Pruitt during CERAWEEK, including the three goals (listed below) to support the
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Contaminated Water Supply Continues to Plague Puerto Rico

More than a month after Hurricane Maria reached Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 as a strong Category 4 hurricane, its catastrophic environmental effects continue to be felt as new problems complicate relief efforts. As of the middle of October 2017, approximately 35 percent of residents in Puerto Rico had no access to clean water. Relief teams began distributing water from a well at the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site, which had been on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund list
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Di-can’t-a Part 2: Enter the Plaintiff’s Bar

In July, the Environmental Law Monitor reported on regulatory responses to the herbicide dicamba from Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri. Dicamba has been a hot button topic in the farming/agricultural world, which often finds itself at the busy intersection of environmental and toxic tort issues. As many of you know, dicamba is an herbicide that’s been in use for decades, but in the past couple of years suppliers have designed certain types of crops that are genetically modified to tolerate having
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Environmental Due Diligence for M&A Transactions

Part 1-Introduction A common purchase in the United States is a car, something necessary for many of us to get to work, travel to the grocery store, pick-up kids at school — among the thousands of destinations where Americans use their car. When we buy a car, we often do an investigation, so to speak. We do online research on the vehicles that peak our interest, we inspect the vehicle at the dealership, we ask questions of the dealer, and
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2017 CLM Southeast Conference 

On November 2nd and 3rd in Atlanta at the CLM Southeast Conference, Goldberg Segalla Partner George Buermann, CEO Dawn Krigstin, Envoy Specialty LLC, and Senior Vice President Philip Watters, P.E., Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. will hold a panel discussion on “Environmental Cost Recovery Actions and Spill Litigation.”  The discussion will be geared towards addressing the myriad of challenges that face insurers and insureds in CERCLA /Superfund matters and other similar state actions and offering tips that will position your company
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Two Birds With One Violation: EPA Uses Settlement with Heritage Environmental Services LLC to Upgrade Indiana Schools

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a unique settlement with Heritage Environmental Services LLC over multiple hazardous waste violations issued in 2012 during an inspection of Heritage’s Indianapolis waste disposal facility. As part of the settlement, in addition to improving its waste handling procedures and paying a $77,385 civil penalty, Heritage agreed to install energy efficient, PCB-free lighting and new drinking water fountains with lead-filtering systems at the Carrie Gosch Pre-K Early Learning Center and the Joseph L.
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Scrapping the Scrubbers — Illinois EPA Proposes Wholesale Changes to the Pollution Limits for Coal Plants

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has announced new rule proposals for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal plants. The proposed amendments to the state’s Multi-Pollutant Strategy would limit sulfur dioxide emissions to 55,000 tons per year and limit nitrogen oxide emissions to 25,000 tons per year. The Multi-Pollutant Standard, or “MPS,” was originally negotiated between power companies and Illinois in 2006. Under the MPS, the power companies agreed to install pollution control equipment for sulfur dioxide, mercury and
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“How am I doing?” — The Preliminary Hurricane Scorecard for the EPA

The EPA maintains that it is working with local, state, and federal officials to respond to Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria. With all three hurricanes, the EPA maintains that its role is to assess and assist with drinking water and waste water systems, Superfund sites, and flood waters. Christine Todd Whitman, former EPA Administrator, recently interviewed by Bloomberg News claimed that vacancies at the top of nearly all 10 regional EPA offices will likely hamper EPA’s response to Hurricane Harvey. Whitman said that regional offices are missing Trump appointees and that this “…makes it difficult, because what you’ve got is a lot of career
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