Another Study Finds Popular Cereals and Snack Products Contain Traces of Glyphosate

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) – a consumer products testing and environmental advocacy organization – recently commissioned a new round of laboratory tests that it claims detected traces of glyphosate in various popular cereals and snack food. Glyphosate purportedly was in these foods because it is used in herbicides applied to various source crops, such as grains and corn. In total, 21 oat-based food products were tested and all but four contained trace levels of glyphosate. The highest levels of
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Global Plastic Proliferation – An Emerging Climate Threat

From teeming landfills, choked rivers, and Pacific Ocean garbage gyres, to potential harm to marine and animal life from micro-plastic debris spanning the poles to the deepest part of the oceans, the growing proliferation of plastics is triggering a growing realization that the world has a plastics problem. This is not just an environmental pollution problem. Scientists are beginning to understand that plastics – from cradle to grave – potentially could have an unrealized significant impact on global climate change.
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WOTUS Woes – Federal Judge Remands Obama-Era CWA Rule

Last week, a federal district judge in Texas remanded the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule to the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE), citing the agencies’ failure to use proper procedure when publishing the rule. ​The 2015 rule, generally referred to as WOTUS, allowed for a drastic increase to the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA), in part, by defining “waters of the United States” to include waters adjacent to waters that had traditionally been considered covered by the CWA.
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New Analysis of Public Data Highlights Emerging Contaminant Prevalence in New York

Just this week, the New York Public Interest Research Group released a report that analyzes an array of public federal data pertaining to unregulated emerging contaminants and their prevalence in New York State. The report is noteworthy for its study of more than 20 different emerging contaminants impacting the state. The report, titled “What’s in My Water?”, clearly notes that the mere existence of emerging contaminants does not necessarily mean that the public’s health is at risk. However, the report
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Roundup Litigation – Not Just Glyphosate Anymore

The massive verdicts against the manufacturer of Roundup in favor of plaintiffs claiming that use of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide caused their Non-Hodgkin lymphoma have rightly garnered significant attention. On the heels of verdicts of $289 million, later reduced to $78 million, and $80 million came the May 13, 2019 verdict of $2.055 billion in a case brought by Alva and Alberta Pilliod. This significantly higher verdict may be heavily influenced by an argument not previously emphasized by plaintiffs that Roundup
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Congratulations, World! Atmospheric CO2 Levels Have Not Been This High in the Past Three Million Years

The world set a new record in May 2019, at least on a human perspective. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reached 415.26 ppm on May 14, as recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, a level not seen in the past three million years.   To put that into perspective, the last time atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were this high, there were no humans on Earth. This was the Pliocene Epoch, where global temperatures were on average 2-3°C (3.6-5.8°F) higher
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Oh, Nuts… California to Enact Ban on Use of Chlorpyrifos

Earlier this month, California state officials announced plans to ban chlorpyrifos, a widely used farm pesticide on crops such as oranges, grapes, and almonds. Chlorpyrifos is still approved for those uses by the EPA. The current EPA administration has been defending the chemical against court challenges after the Obama administration took steps to prohibit its use. In April, chlorpyrifos was formally listed by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) as a “toxic air contaminant,” which California law defines as “an
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Record-Setting $2 Billion Verdict In Glyphosate Litigation

Previously, we reported two significant jury verdicts involving alleged exposure to glyphosate-containing Roundup, including a $289 million verdict and an $80 million verdict, both occurring in California courts within the past year. In another plaintiff’s victory, an Alameda County jury has reached a record-setting $2 billion verdict against Monsanto — the largest in history involving alleged exposure to glyphosate. This is now the third consecutive herbicide trial where a jury has found in favor of plaintiffs. The plaintiffs in this
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Reopener Alert: The Erosion of Peace of Mind

While covenants not to sue purport to provide some security to settling parties, in CERCLA actions, reopener provisions, which the EPA includes in most consent decrees, allow for future liability for unforeseen and unknown conditions that arise following completion of the remedial actions. As a result of these reopener provisions, which became required in all but a few limited circumstances after the 1986 CERCLA amendments, parties that settle CERCLA claims live with the risk that new claims could be asserted to address new cleanup demands arising from previously unknown site conditions or new scientific information about the risks
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Climate Change Litigation: Where Are the Coverage Suits?

There is an interesting question surrounding the present generation of climate change lawsuits currently working their way through the court system. Specifically, where are the duty to defend actions related to these suits? Background By way of background, there are two types of climate change lawsuits currently working their way through the courts: Those filed by government entities that seek to hold energy companies responsible for the costs that government entities are forced to expend in adapting to climate change,
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