Partially Stripped

On March 15, 2019, the EPA proposed as a Final Rule a scaled down version of the total ban on the use of methyl chloride in paint stripper. The EPA proposed the Final Rule in connection with its administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under the scaled down version, methyl chloride is banned from all consumer use paint removers but this toxic chemical can still be used for commercial applications provided there is appropriate training. This version of
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BREAKING: Second Jury Finds That Glyphosate Causes Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Approximately seven months after a California state jury found that DeWayne Johnson’s workplace exposure to glyphosate-containing Roundup and Ranger Pro caused him to develop Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, another jury in California, this time in federal court, has arrived at the same conclusion. On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in a trial overseen by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, the jury found that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff Ed Hardeman’s Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, that it was more than
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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Push Nuclear Power Bailout, Further Define Alternative Energy Initiative

Pennsylvania legislators have proposed a new law that would preserve the existence of nuclear power by funding operations via large-scale government subsidies. Lawmakers recently proposed “Keep Powering Pennsylvania” House Bill (HB) 11, which, if passed, would re-classify nuclear power as a qualifying energy resource under Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) and effectively subsidize the entire industry within the state.  As part of Pennsylvania’s larger alternative energy initiative, AEPS was enacted to provide economic development opportunities by increasing the mix of alternative energy generation. The law requires each distribution company in Pennsylvania to supply 18% of its
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1,4-Dioxane is Back in Court, Following a New and Familiar Template for Water Authority Claims

Late last week, a pair of lawsuits on water contamination were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of local water authorities. Back in the news is the emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane, which made headlines in late 2017 in a related and similar groundbreaking lawsuit that sought to recover costs against major manufacturers for the design, construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of water treatment facilities and equipment required to remove the 1,4-dioxane from
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New Mexico Joins the PFAS Fight with Major Enforcement Action

We recently reported that the lately-inaugurated governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, has taken a strong stance on environmental issues, including oil and gas development. Now, the state has taken further steps to enforce its contamination laws and improve the state’s environmental profile. Last week, the State of New Mexico filed suit against the United States based on PFOS and PFOA contamination originating at two Air Force bases — Cannon Air Force Base in eastern New Mexico and Holloman
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Yet Another One Bites the Dust – Latest Climate Change Lawsuit Dismissed in Pennsylvania

In what definitely is becoming a pattern, yet another climate change lawsuit has been dismissed. On February 19, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed the case Clean Air Council, et al. v. United States of America, Civ. No. 17-4977. With this dismissal, six significant climate change lawsuits, and several more questionable suits, now have been rejected by different US courts around the country: [in addition to Clean Air Council, what can be considered
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Coal Ash Alert: Report From Environmental Groups Claim 9 out of 10 Coal Ash Ponds Cause Groundwater Contamination

A collection of environmental groups have released a report claiming that the vast majority of coal ash ponds in the United States have leaked toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater. The report, based on monitoring data released by 250 power plants, found that 91 percent of the nation’s coal-fired power plants reported elevated levels of at least one contaminant such as arsenic, lithium, chromium and other pollutants in nearby groundwater. The report also claims a majority of the plants reported having
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Senate Follows House’s Lead: Legislation Introduced by the Upper Chamber Aims to Classify PFAS as “Hazardous Substances” Under CERCLA

On March 1, 2019, new legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to classify per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under Superfund.  A similar bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019. PFAS are a class of fluorinated chemicals that are found in consumer products such as non-stick pans, food packaging, and rain gear, as well as commercial products including firefighting foam. The chemicals do not break down once released into
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Breaking: U.S. Supreme Court Will Weigh in on Clean Water Act Circuit Split, and EPA May Tip the Scale

Big news on the Clean Water Act (CWA). With the backdrop of a major circuit split (previously discussed here), the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Ninth Circuit case of County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The Supreme Court will now have to determine whether discharges of pollutants to surface waters via groundwater are regulated under the CWA. In County of Maui, plaintiff-environmentalists alleged that the wastewater from a municipal wastewater treatment facility was seeping through
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PG&E Wildfire Bankruptcy Doubles Down on Environmental Setbacks for the Golden State

In what the Wall Street Journal touted as “(t)he First Climate Change Bankruptcy,” Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed for federal bankruptcy protection last month after claiming that it faced $30 billion dollars in liability for wildfires that ravaged California over the last several years. Investigators have determined that the California utility company caused at least 17 of 21 major Northern California wildfires that occurred in 2017, and inquiries into PG&E’s culpability for 2018 fires that killed scores of people and
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