Battles over Lead Paint Rage On in California

Three paint manufacturers who have been in a tug-of-war with several California counties regarding potential liability for lead paint resorted to a state balloting process to shift the potential exposure. The battle started to intensify earlier this year when the California Supreme Court declined to review a 2014 state appeals court ruling that held manufacturers Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and ConAgra Grocery Products Co. liable for $1.15 billion dollars in costs associated with remediation of lead paint in housing
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The Roundup Windup

Widespread personal injury litigation based on exposure to Roundup, the widely-used pesticide produced by the Monsanto Company, is no longer a plaintiffs’ bar pipe-dream — it is close to becoming a reality. Hundreds of cases have been filed, mostly in St. Louis and San Francisco, and the first trial of such a matter will commence this week in California state court. As we have reported previously, there has been broad and long-running controversy over whether glyphosate, the active ingredient in
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400 Months and Counting – Warm Temperatures Continue!

Despite the miserable cold and wet April weather experienced by most of the eastern half of North America, April 2018 turned out to be the third warmest April on record, continuing a streak of 400 continuous months (33 years) where the monthly average temperature was above the 20th century average. Only April 2016 and April 2017 were warmer. Nine of the 10 warmest Aprils have occurred since 2005. Especially notable was the possibility that the city of Nawabshah, located in
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How Clean is Clean? Environmental Issues Hamper CA Wildfire Recovery

Late last year, we reported on the looming environmental threat of the 2017 California wildfires. The threat has become reality with respect to two contaminants in particular: benzene and arsenic. As reconstruction moves forward in Northern California this year, real human health hazards created by the devastating fires are now present. Municipal officials in Fountaingrove, California have found elevated benzene readings in hundreds of samples of drinking water over the last several months, and the city is evaluating the necessity of
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Rounded Down: An Update on California Glyphosate Litigation

Last November, we brought your attention to litigation in federal court in California regarding the listing of glyphosate as a substance “known to the state to cause cancer.” Since then, there have been developments in both the originally reported federal court case and a state court case on the same subject. First, a refresher: glyphosate is a common pesticide sprayed on more than 200 types of crops across four million acres in California. Monsanto Company, the principal plaintiff in both
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The Coming Battle Between California and EPA Over Vehicle Fuel Standards — The Implications for CO2 Emissions and Climate Change

Two weeks ago, we reported on potential moves by the EPA to weaken fuel economy standards, and in doing so, picking a fight with California and the state’s ability to set its own emission rules through its waiver under the Clean Air Act. Those threatened moves are now reality, as the EPA announced on Monday that current fuel economy standards will be revised. But underlying the moves to roll back fuel economy standards is the ongoing war between the Trump
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Cutting out the CARBs: EPA Administrator Suggests Possible Split with California on Emission Standards

Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently discussed a broad range of issues in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Chief among those, Pruitt stated that the EPA is opposed to setting stricter fuel economy standards beyond 2025 and has questioned whether individual states should be able to enact their own tougher emissions rules for cars and light trucks. Pruitt said that California, which has a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act giving it authority to
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Tijuana Blues: Mexican Wastewater Contaminates SoCal Coast, According to New Lawsuit

SoCal surfer dudes were in for a surprise when a serious funk rolled in with the tides in Imperial Beach and Chula Vista, California. A new lawsuit has been filed against the International Boundary & Water Commission – United States Section (IBWC or the Commission) and Veolia Water North America West for repeatedly failing to address “devastating pollution discharges” from the Tijuana River, which had been used as a dump for decades. In the last three years alone, severely polluted
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The Bar Lowered: Lower Causation Standard for Plaintiff Under California’s Polanco Redevelopment Act

The California Court of Appeals rang in the New Year for plaintiffs by handing owners, operators, transporters, and arrangers that work with hazardous materials an adverse decision on the issue of causation. In the City of Modesto v. The Dow Chemical Company (2018 WL 317043 (Cal. Ct. App., Jan. 8, 2018), the court focused on the standard of causation that a plaintiff must meet to support a finding of liability under the Polanco Redevelopment Act (Polanco Act). The court lowered
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Rounding Up a Posse? Industry Groups and Manufacturers Fight Back Against California Listing World’s Most Heavily-Used Agricultural Chemical a ‘Carcinogen’

Glyphosate is sprayed on more than 200 types of crops across four million acres in California, making it the most widely used herbicide in the state, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Globally, it’s available in hundreds of generic formulations from numerous companies, and accounts for 25 percent of all pesticide use worldwide. Glyphosate is a relatively simple molecule and breaks down easily. It works by targeting an enzyme found in plants, but not found in humans or
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