We Need to Talk … It’s Not Me, It’s You: EPA Accuses California of Worsening Environmental Issues

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has accused California of “failing to meet its obligations” to protect the environment, claiming that the state’s growing homeless population threatens its water quality. In an oversight letter, Administrator Wheeler charged California officials with failing to meet federal health standards in numerous communities where large homeless populations litter the streets with trash, drug paraphernalia and human waste. The letter went on to argue that California’s focus on global warming has come at the expense of more
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New Jersey Governor Announces Ambitious 10-Year Plan to Remove Lead from Service Lines and Paint in Homes Throughout the State

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a comprehensive statewide plan to address lead exposure throughout the state. “My comprehensive statewide plan brings together experts from our cabinet departments, stakeholders, and advocates to create strong partnerships and implement policies to protect New Jersey’s children and families from lead” the governor commented. “Together, guided by the actions outlined in our strategy, we will overcome this public health challenge that has been building for decades to ensure that our residents are safe from
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Third Circuit Court of Appeals Delivers Knockout Punch to PennEast Natural Gas Pipeline, Eminent Domain Squashed

Previously, we reported that that the United States District Courts for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey granted a consortium of natural gas companies the right of eminent domain to take steps toward building the PennEast pipeline to connect natural gas sources in Pennsylvania to parts of New Jersey. We then reported that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay to temporarily stop any physical construction from beginning on the pipeline in New Jersey until the appeal was decided.  ​Now, in the
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Ohio PFAS Class Action Survives Motions to Dismiss

A federal court in the Southern District of Ohio denied the defendants’ 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), and 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss in a PFAS class action lawsuit in early October 2019. The lawsuit brought by lead plaintiff Kevin Hardwick, a firefighter and alleged user of PFAS-containing firefighting foams, paves the way for a case with enormous breadth to proceed. Hardwick sued 3M Company , E.I du Pont de Nemours and Company, the Chemours Company, Archroma Management LLC, Arkema, Inc., Arkema France, S.A., Diakin
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Inspector General Directs the EPA to Improve Oversight of Public Drinking Water Regulations

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report that found the EPA is failing to properly monitor state-level compliance for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Federal regulations mandate that public water systems notify consumers of violations of the national drinking water standards or in situations that pose a risk to the public. These violations and situations are divided into three tiers with specific notice requirements. Under the SDWA, 49 states and certain territories are responsible for implementing the
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New Investigation Reveals Many Potentially Problematic PFAS Chemicals Still In Circulation – And Some Good News Too

PFOA and PFOS, the most notorious compounds in the PFAS family, still contaminate many areas of the country despite being phased out of production (PFOS was phased out in 2002, and PFOA by 2015/2016.) Although human studies have shown these chemicals to be of little toxicity, there are many animal studies that reveal these chemicals to be highly toxic. It’s not surprising then that there is a growing groundswell of advocacy behind federal regulation of these chemicals. And if the
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California v. Trump Administration Round LX: California and EPA War Over Vehicle Emission Standards

The Trump administration’s ongoing war with California over environmental standards has now reached a fever pitch. On September 19, 2019, the EPA announced that it will revoke the Clean Air Act waiver historically granted to California, which has allowed the state to set its own auto emission standards. The next day, California and 23 other states filed suit against EPA challenging the revocation. The EPA’s stated goal is to reduce the regulatory burden on automakers by implementing a single national standard for
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PFAS Companies Take Heat From Congress

Last week, the House Environmental Oversight Committee held a third and final hearing on PFAS issues in the United States. The September 10 2019, hearing, which focused on PFAS contamination by industrial producers, served as a follow-up to the subcommittee’s July 24, 2019 hearing on the human impact of PFAS contamination and state-level efforts to regulate the chemicals. DuPont, its spinoff company Chemours, and 3M all sent representatives to Washington D.C. to attend. In anticipation of the hearing, DuPont issued
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WOTUS War Surges Forward As EPA Announces Repeal of 2015 Rule

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator, Andrew R. Wheeler, signed a rule for publication that would repeal the 2015 Clean Water rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.  The 2015 WOTUS rule allowed for a significant extension of the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by expanding the definition of “waters of the United States” to include waters such as headwaters, wetlands, and streams. The 2015 rule interpreted the CWA to cover these waters reasoning that they require protection “in order to restore and
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Two Strikes – Medical Equipment Cleaning Facility Hit with Over 30 Lawsuits, While its Doors Remain Closed by State Regulators

Over 30 personal injury lawsuits have been filed against Sterigenics LLC in Cook County, Illinois. The suits are the latest development in the company’s issues arising out of claims its medical equipment cleaning plant emits harmful fumes. Jeanne Hochhalter is one of those suing Sterigenics. She claims that the cancer she developed is directly related to the plant’s release of the chemical ethylene oxide. “I got breast cancer. I have no family history of it,” Hochhalter said. A Sterigenics spokesman
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