Water faucet

EPA Enforcement Alert: It’s Critical for Community Water Systems to Review Cybersecurity Protections

The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week issued an enforcement alert, explaining cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities to community drinking water systems (CWSs) and actions needed by these systems in order to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

The alert is part of a government-wide effort – led by the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – to reduce the nation’s infrastructure and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. EPA issued the alert because threats to, and attacks on, the nation’s water system …

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Hand with a spatula renovating the paint.

Don’t you know that you’re toxic? EPA spears most uses of controversial solvent.

In late April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a ban on most uses of methylene chloride, a toxic solvent used for paint stripping and linked to over 85 deaths in the last 45 years. The ban forbids all consumer use of the substance, as well as most industrial and commercial uses. TheEPA did not completely ban all uses — it did allow some exemptions for the military, in addition to makers of climate-friendly coolants and electric-vehicle components.

Users often employ methylene chloride to refinish bathtubs …

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Smoke emerging from chimneys

Greenhouse Gas Regulation Heats Up as EPA Finalizes Rule for Reducing & Reporting Methane Emissions

After much anticipation, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule this week aimed at cutting methane emissions as well as strengthening and updating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reporting for the oil and gas industries.

Methane is a “super pollutant” that is many times more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane also contributes to approximately one third of the global warming from GHGs today, and the oil and natural gas sector is the largest industrial source of methane emissions in the United States.  Toward that end, …

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Aerial/Drone view of a wind farm with multiple wind turbines at sunrise

New NEPA Rule Eases Permitting Process while Advancing Environmental Justice

On the final day of April 2024, a week and a half after Earth Day, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized a rule intended to simplify and modernize the federal environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A pillar of environmental law passed in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a wide array of agency activities, such as land management, infrastructure construction, and permitting decisions. This …

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business report on digital tablet

With Mounting Litigation from Multiple Courts, SEC Stays its New Climate Disclosure Rules

Last month, our readers will recall that we reported on some pushback raised regarding the new climate disclosure rules promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requiring publicly traded registrants to provide certain climate-related information in future registration documents and annual reports (the “Final Rules”).

As SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a press release announcing the new disclosure rules, the Final Rules were meant to “reflect the Commission’s efforts to respond to investors’ demand for more consistent, comparable, and reliable information …

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Thick smoke rising from chimneys

Attorneys General from 23 States Petition to End EPA’s Use of Disparate Impact In Regulating Pollution

Attorneys General from 23 states have filed a petition for rulemaking with the Environmental Protection Agency demanding the agency stop using Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when regulating pollution. The petition, the main signatory of which is Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, comes on the heels of a decision in Louisiana v. EPA, No. 2:23-cv-692, 2024 WL 250798 (W.D. La. Jan. 23, 2024), where the EPA was enjoined from enforcing any Title VI based requirements on the state based on …

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Stock of barrels with chemicals at an industrial plant

EPA Reopens Pandora’s Box with CERCLA Designations of PFOA & PFOS; Seeks to Minimize Apprehension with Enforcement Policy

As our readers are likely familiar from our past blog posts here, here and here, in September 2022, EPA proposed to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under section 102(a) of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Now, EPA has made it final: the agency has designated perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, as hazardous substances (See Pre-Publication Notice).

EPA concluded that designation of those two substances is warranted “because both …

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smoke background

New Federal Regulations Regarding Soot Create Challenges for States

Fine particle pollution – also known as soot – is a cause of respiratory disease, increased asthma symptoms, cancer, and cardiovascular dysfunction. Incomplete combustion of organic materials such as wood, fuel oil, plastics, and household refuse create soot – which is released from smokestacks, vehicle exhaust, wildfires, agricultural work and some forms of cooking. Soot is smaller in diameter than a human hair and is small enough to pass through human bloodstreams after inhalation.

This year, the Environmental Protection Agency implemented much more stringent standards …

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EPA Offices, Washington DC

Big Wheel Keep on Turnin’, EPA Keep on Churnin’ Out Regulations

Stationary combustion turbines, often referred to as gas turbines, are used to generate high volumes of electricity at power stations, dams, and industrial centers. Despite their size, noise, and prodigious output, these engines are simple, with a design that dates, at least in concept, all the way back to 150 BC when a Greek inventor named “Hero” designed a ‘toy’ sitting on top of heated water, the gases of which caused the toy to spin.

This concept, compressing air and then injecting fuel and heat …

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Supreme_Court

Chevron with the Wind? In What Might be a SCOTUS Preview, Federal Courts Chip Away at Expansive Regulatory Interpretations

Regulations — and executive agencies’ interpretation of those regulations — can make or break companies, and even entire industries.  For decades now, the judiciary’s approach to administrative review, found in the landmark 1984 case Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. National Resources Defense Council, largely deferred to government agencies’ interpretation of their governing statutes on the grounds that such agencies were best positioned to interpret those statutes. “Chevron deference” became a foundational framework for administrative law.  

But in recent years, critics have argued that Chevron

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