New York Bans Products Containing 1,4-Dioxane Effective January 1, 2022

On December 9, 2019, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo approved legislation that will eliminate the sale of products containing the chemical 1,4-dioxane in New York state. The ban, which is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022, has a broad reach and includes many household cleaning products, some cosmetics, and personal care products containing the soon to be banned chemical. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified 1,4-dioxane as a likely carcinogen. It is a man-made chemical that
Continue reading...

Pennsylvania Launches $4 Million Investigation Into Whether Fracking Causes Rare Form of Cancer in Children

Throughout the past decade, the human health effects that may be caused by hydraulic fracturing have been widely scrutinized by a variety of individuals, institutions, and experts. Allegations of health problems ranging from respiratory complications, birth defects, blood disorders, cancers, nervous system issues, and other ailments have attempted to be linked to fracking operations in some capacity, many with a low degree of scientific certainty. In response to public outcry concerning a unique situation unfolding in western Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom
Continue reading...

Breaking News: Fraud Claims Against Exxon Mobil Dismissed in Landmark Trial

Early this morning the court cleared Exxon Mobil in hotly contested litigation that was pending in New York. In a bench trial[1], which took place in October 2019, the New York State attorney general alleged that Exxon defrauded investors by inflating their value with internal climate risk metrics. Additionally, several have alleged that such misrepresentations have led to significant impacts on climate change globally. Today, the court ruled that the New York attorney general failed to present sufficient evidence to
Continue reading...

SCOTUS Ponders Limits of Federal and State Oversight of Hazardous Waste Cleanup

On December 3, 2019, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian, which addresses the limits of state and federal oversight of hazardous waste cleanup. Landowners in Montana obtained a 2017 Montana State Court win, in which the court granted them permission to seek funding for additional cleanup of hazardous waste emanating from a former anaconda site contaminated with arsenic and smelter lead in order to go beyond what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Continue reading...

Blowin’ in the Wind: New Jersey and New York see a Gust of Activity in Clean Energy Efforts

New Jersey and New York are leading the way with respect to the ongoing development of renewable energy sources,  in particular, as it relates to the procurement of offshore wind projects expected to produce renewable power for hundreds of thousands of homes in each state. There has been recent activity in both states’ efforts to make these projects a reality with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issuing Executive Order No. 92 on November 19, 2019, which more than doubles the New Jersey’s offshore wind goal to 7,500 megawatts by 2035, and, with the October 23, 2019
Continue reading...

An Exercise in Separation of Powers: Second Circuit Signals Affirmance of Dismissal of NYC Climate Change Lawsuit

“Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government,” said district court judge John Keenan last July in nixing New York City’s climate change nuisance suit that seeks to hold major oil companies liable for global-warming related injuries resulting from greenhouse gas emissions. New York City appealed Judge Keenan’s dismissal to the second circuit, arguing that its action is not an attempt to regulate emissions. Late last week, hearing New York City’s appeal of
Continue reading...

CDC Revises Number of Reported Legionellosis Cases Upward

The original number of cases of Legionellosis reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for calendar year 2018 was already at a record 8,356 cases. This November, that number was revised upward to 9,933 cases, representing an increase of 18.8 percent . Although Legionellosis includes both Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever, the vast majority of these newly reported cases were for the more serious diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by a
Continue reading...

Power to the City: New Jersey Appellate Court Affirms Municipal Courts may Enforce Spill Act

The New Jersey Court of Appeals provided greater flexibility to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in enforcing the New Jersey Spill Act. A DEP employee filed a complaint against Alsol Corporation in municipal court in Milltown, New Jersey. In the complaint, the DEP made bare allegations that Alsol failed to remediate certain property in violation of the New Jersey Spill Act (N.J.A.C. 7:26C-2.3(a)). Although the regulation is detailed and complex, DEP’s complaint merely alleged the date of Alsol’s alleged violation.
Continue reading...

EPA Announces Draft Risk Evaluation for N-Methylpyrrolidon (NMP)

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of the draft risk evaluation for N-methylpyrrolidon (NMP) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The purpose of a risk evaluation is to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment under the conditions of its use and to analyze the risks from potential exposure. The draft risk evaluation will be peer-reviewed by the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) on December 5- 6, 2019 with a final regulation
Continue reading...

EPA’s Supplemental “Transparency in Regulatory Science” Rule Likely to Restrict the Use of Scientific Studies in Determining Pivotal Environmental Actions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to publish a supplemental proposed rule that would expand the applicability of a preexisting proposed rule from 2018 impacting how environmental regulations come about.  The supplemental proposal would require underlying data in scientific studies used in the promulgation of significant regulatory actions be publicly available—underlying data that’s often confidential, proprietary, and may contain private personal information subject to confidentiality agreements.  As reported by the New York Times, this rulemaking action would supplement the April 2018 proposed rule entitled “Strengthening Transparency in
Continue reading...