COVID-19 Alert: Challenges And Tips For Companies Facing Ongoing Environmental Remediation Projects

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation, states throughout the country are ordering citizens to stay at home and not report to work. All orders, however, contain carve out exceptions for essential or life-sustaining activities, such as providing health care, medicine, and food. Yet, these orders have created much uncertainty as to what constitutes essential or life-sustaining activities. Arguably, many activities not directly related to containment of the coronavirus are still essential and/or life-sustaining. As with every aspect of the country’s economy, the coronavirus …

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Energy Regulators Dial Back Grid Reliability Standards Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Last week the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jointly announced the suspension of certain rules through July 31, 2020, in an effort to allow utility operators to “focus their resources on keeping people safe and the lights on during this unprecedented public health emergency.”[1]  NERC, a nonprofit corporation devoted to reducing risks to the reliability and security of the electrical grid across North America, develops and enforces the Reliability Standards, which are designed to ensure …

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COVID-19 and the U.S. Drinking Water Supply: What We Know Now

As the nation grapples with COVID-19, we wanted to pass along information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that may not be relayed as frequently as other critical details and advice on prevention and awareness.

Presently, the CDC states that COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water, and that conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection (like those found in most municipal drinking water systems) should be effective in removing or …

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Trouble in Paradise: Honolulu Brings Climate Change Lawsuit Against Fossil Fuel Companies

Last week, the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii filed a lawsuit against major corporate members of the fossil fuel industry, alleging they knew the negative effects their products would cause via climate change but obscured the information from public knowledge in order to reap greater profits. According to the complaint, the fossil fuel companies worsened the climate crisis by undermining climate science and delaying a transition to clean energy.

According to the lawsuit, the fossil fuel companies’ actions have resulted in sea level rise that …

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Clean Water Act Alert – U.S. EPA Releases Its Proposed 2020 NPDES Multi-Sector General Permit

The regulated industry needs to be aware that the U.S. EPA, last week, published its proposed 2020 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). The MSGP authorizes stormwater discharges associated with industrial activities in areas where EPA is the permitting authority.

Under Section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act, EPA has been directed to regulate stormwater discharges under the NPDES program–the program by which EPA and authorized states grant permits for discharges from a point source. The MSGP is a general NPDES …

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Butt Out – Illinois EPA Looking at Improper Disposal of Vaping Products

While the recent focus on electronic cigarettes and vaping products has been on their potential health effects on users, the Illinois EPA is looking at a potential new issue – the improper disposal of their waste products.

A team at the Illinois EPA is developing methods to prevent toxic materials in discarded e-cigarettes and vaping products from polluting the environment and damaging human health. E-cigarettes and vaping products contain numerous materials, each with various waste regulations. E-cigarettes, which are disposable and closely resemble a traditional …

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Trump Administration: Environmental (Budget) Impact Assessment

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year 2021 Budget requests. As it has in previous years, the administration has proposed steep cuts in funding for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would also see their budgets trimmed. Although the current Congress is unlikely to agree to such broad-sweeping cuts, the White House’s proposed budget requests provide a strong indicator of the Trump Administration’s priorities. 

The Cuts:

Overall, …

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Paper or Plastic: Why This Should No Longer be an Option

Across the United States, local governments and state legislatures have focused their efforts on reducing and/or eliminating the use of plastic bags at grocery stores and other businesses. Such a reduction is significant to reducing harmful impacts suffered in oceans, lakes, rivers, forests, and other natural habitats for creatures. Furthermore, the implementation of regulations and bans prohibiting the use and sale of plastic bags focuses on improvements in recycling efforts, which is aimed to increase awareness of the negative side effects of the prevalent use …

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Empire State’s Renewable Energy Project Siting Bill: A Different Kind of Regulatory Cleanup

Many efforts in environmental law aim at enacting regulations to help clean up the environment. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo submitted a bill that flips the script last week. The proposed law aims to clean up New York’s regulations about siting for and permitting  renewable energy projects.

Under the proposed law, a new office would be created within the state’s Department of Economic Development tasked with overseeing siting and permitting for renewable energy projects. Environmental reviews for such projects would also be the new office’s …

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Clean Air Act Alert: Coalition of Northeastern States Sue EPA over Good Neighbor Violations

Five states and the City of New York filed suit last week against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Southern District of New York alleging the agency failed to protect the states from ozone pollution traveling downwind, in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The coalition of states, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts, and the City of New York, are seeking an order that requires the EPA to create a plan to limit ozone emissions carried into the states from certain upwind states, including Illinois, …

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