Oliver E. Twaddell

All articles by Oliver E. Twaddell

 

Feed It Once And Now It Stays: Another National PFAS Class Action Seeking A Study Rather Than Money

It’s been written about exhaustively in PFAS circles: the C8 Science Panel and its “probable link” findings between PFOA and various diseases. This was a groundbreaking study that was part of a settlement agreement in watershed litigation that ultimately led to a whopping $671 million payout for over 3,000 individual plaintiffs. The defendant, DuPont, had not only agreed to the creation of an independent panel of experts to evaluate any link between exposure to PFOA and human disease, but it
Continue reading...  

Environmental Due Diligence: What’s The Latest On Federal Environmental Review?

Just a few days ago, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee — in a tight split — voted to support a bill that seeks to target the slow pace of the permitting process for infrastructure and development projects that require review by federal agencies. The bill, named the “Permitting Litigation Efficiency Act,” is expected to impose limits on federal review of projects, i.e., an apparent two-year deadline for federal agencies to determine whether a project can go forward. Other
Continue reading...  

New Class Certifications in Toxic Tort / Environmental Litigation May Be Indicative Of A Larger Trend

It is well-known in toxic tort and environmental legal circles that plaintiffs have inherent difficulties when seeking to certify a class of “injured” plaintiffs. Individualized issues of causation, exposure, and damages pervade just about all cases — and courts have long recognized this. Our blog posted recently on the medical monitoring PFOA class action in upstate New York that was certified in early July 2018 (i.e., Burdick v. Tonoga). That case is a clear outlier as it may be the
Continue reading...  

And Then There Were Five: One State Expands Its Concern To Other PFAS Chemicals And Other Major (Breaking) News On PFAS

Every week there’s more news surrounding the mystifying nature of PFAS chemicals. Our firm recently published a well-received article that explored the state of PFAS and what the horizon holds for regulation and litigation. And this week we have more news on the PFAS front. We should buckle-up because it’s only going to heat-up from here. In November 2017, we reported on the New Jersey scientists that were urging the state to impose a strict limit of 13 ppt for
Continue reading...  

Environmental Due Diligence for Corporate Transactions: The Bona Fide Purchaser and the All Appropriate Inquiry Rule

A few months ago we posted our first blog on environmental due diligence, and as promised, we will continue to post on this important subject. This week we will focus on the popular, yet oft-mistaken, bona fide purchaser exception and the all appropriate inquiries rule (AAI rule) under CERCLA. In purchasing property, a buyer will conduct an assessment to determine whether a parcel (or property connected to an entity being acquired) has potential environmental contamination concerns and whether any issues
Continue reading...  

Legal Acrobatics or Sound Interpretation: Ground Water Regulation under the Clean Water Act

In February, we reported about whether ground water can be regulated under the Clean Water Act. As a refresher, we discussed Hawaii Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui — a case involving the indirect discharge of injection well wastewater into the ocean by traveling through groundwater. The court held there that for purposes of the CWA the injection wells were a point source, requiring an NPDES permit for groundwater because “the pollutants are fairly traceable from the point source to a
Continue reading...  

Pain in the Ash: Byproduct Contamination at Coal Power Plants Back in Focus

Landfills and man-made ponds have been used for decades as dumping grounds for coal ash, which is the byproduct waste left over from burning coal in coal-fired power plants; it is one of the most prolific types of industrial waste generated in the United States. After all, coal is the biggest source of electricity production in the nation. Coal ash though contains a number of known carcinogens and is often stored in unlined pits, creating the potential for environmental and
Continue reading...  

Ultraviolet Reactor? The Newest Technology to Combat Emergence of the Unregulated Chemical 1,4-Dioxane

New problems often necessitate new solutions. In the world of toxic torts and environmental liability, advances in remediation techniques are constantly being developed to alleviate the sometimes unavoidable, questionable, and/or nascent effects of innovation, manufacturing, and commerce. One emerging contaminant causing a stir is 1,4-dioxane — a flammable liquid with a variety of industrial applications, such as the manufacture of adhesives, sealants, and other chemicals. It is used in paint strippers, dyes, greases, varnishes and waxes, and it can be
Continue reading...  

Clean Water Rule Update — The EPA Postpones Effective Date of WOTUS

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulates quality standards for surface waters. In May 2015, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the Clean Water Rule (the Rule or WOTUS), hoping to clarify the reach of the elusive phrase “waters of the United States” — the bodies of water protected under the CWA. When the Rule passed in 2015, developers, farmers, and
Continue reading...  

The PFOA/PFOS Conversation Moves from New Jersey to New York

In November, we reported on New Jersey’s adoption of the lowest Maximum Contaminant Limits (14 parts per trillion) for PFOAs (perfluorooctanoic acid) in the nation. And a few weeks ago, we reported on the New Jersey scientists that are urging the state to impose a strict limit of 13 ppt for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) as the level at which human health would be protected over a lifetime of exposure. Now we move to New York. In September 2017, New York
Continue reading...  

First for First’s Sake or Sound Policy? New Jersey Again Focuses on PFAS MCLs

A few weeks ago, we reported on New Jersey’s adoption of the lowest Maximum Contaminant Limits (14 parts per trillion) for PFOAs (perfluorooctanoic acid) in the nation. And now we come to you with the latest development in the realm of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). This past week, New Jersey scientists urged the state to impose a strict limit of 13 ppt for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) as the level at which human health would be protected over a lifetime
Continue reading...  

Garden State Leads the Nation in Adopting the Strictest MCLs for PFOAs

A couple of random things you might not know about Jersey. We’ve got great tomatoes, corn, and peaches, and some of the strictest environmental regulations in the country. By way of example, the NJ DEP now leads the nation in setting the lowest Maximum Contaminant Limits (MCL) of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOAs (perfluorooctanoic acid) — a chemical used in the manufacture of consumer products that essentially everyone has used, such as nonstick cookware, food packaging, stain resistant
Continue reading...  

Environmental Due Diligence for M&A Transactions

Part 1-Introduction A common purchase in the United States is a car, something necessary for many of us to get to work, travel to the grocery store, pick-up kids at school — among the thousands of destinations where Americans use their car. When we buy a car, we often do an investigation, so to speak. We do online research on the vehicles that peak our interest, we inspect the vehicle at the dealership, we ask questions of the dealer, and
Continue reading...  

Hurricane Maria Brings Expected Adverse Environmental Impact to Puerto Rico

In recent weeks, we’ve written about the documented environmental effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The recovery periods for those disasters will take substantial time, and even then the ramifications of those powerful hurricanes will be felt long after. Unfortunately, we have seen yet another natural disaster in Hurricane Maria — the destructive Category 4 storm that made landfall on the southern coast of Puerto Rico at around 6:15 AM EDT last Wednesday, since causing much havoc to the territory.
Continue reading...  

Hurricane Harvey’s Devastation Will Be Felt Long After Water Recedes

Hurricane Harvey has decimated the great city of Houston, displacing residents from their homes — and in many cases — destroying homes, investments, and in some scenarios, taking the life of a loved one. It will take billions of dollars to repair Harvey’s destruction, and many people will never replace what the hurricane took. Even with that, the event has more bad news. Not only did Harvey destroy property, and in some instances take human life, it also has created
Continue reading...  

How Long Should We Wait for Those Good Things They Say are Worth Waiting For?

On July 25, 2017, the EPA’s recently created Superfund Task Force released a number of recommendations on how to “streamline and improve the Superfund program.” These recommendations (e.g., recommendation number one is “Target NPL Sites That Are Not Showing Sufficient Progress Towards Site Cleanup and Completion”) were generated after the EPA director criticized the cleanup time involved in the Superfund process. Has the process been taking too long? The Superfund program involves both an identification and investigation process that’s been time consuming. To start the process, EPA identifies the potentially contaminated site and
Continue reading...  

The Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda: An Exercise in Deregulation

A few weeks ago, we outlined the Trump administration’s rollback of the Clean Water Rule — an Obama era proposal that expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This past week saw the administration continue on that theme, deregulating the Obama era agenda. On Thursday, July 20, 2017, the administration released its semi-annual Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions — a report on the actions that administrative agencies plan to issue in
Continue reading...  

The Rollback Begins: Is it the Beginning of the End for the Clean Water Rule?

President Trump recently got the ball rolling on rescinding or revising The Clean Water Rule (the Rule) — a President Obama-era environmental regulation that sought to expand the federal government’s reach under the Clean Water Act (CWA). For background, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, enacted in 1948 and later reorganized and expanded in 1972, is known today as the CWA. The CWA establishes a structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulates
Continue reading...  

Residents, Lawyers, and Advocates Still Skeptical After Imperfect Study of Cancer Rates from PFOA Exposure in Hoosick Falls, NY

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), also known as C-8, is a synthetic man-made chemical that is both toxic and persistent in the environment. It has been used in the manufacture of commercial products like non-stick cookware, stain-resistant clothing and carpets, food wrappers, dental floss, electrical insulation, fabrics, firefighting foam, as well as many industrial products. PFOA has raised health concerns because long-term exposure has been linked to testicular, kidney, and thyroid cancer, as well as high cholesterol, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Our readers
Continue reading...  

NYC’s Plan to Disinfect Sewage and Pipes: Is Chlorine Still a Good Option?

New York City is 305 square miles and about 72 percent of that space is covered with impenetrable surfaces like rooftops, roadways, and playgrounds. So when it rains in the metropolis, the precipitation floods storm drains and sewers. With what some call an antiquated sewer system that treats about 1.3 billion gallons of city wastewater on a dry day (and twice that during moderate rainfall) coupled with a growing population, the Big Apple is experiencing increasing problems in treating the
Continue reading...