PFAS Update: Unregulated (Mostly), Uncertain, and Ubiquitous

Partner George Buermann and associate Oliver Twaddell of the firm’s Environmental Practice Group recently published a short article, “PFAS Update: Unregulated (Mostly), Uncertain, and Ubiquitous,” in DRI’s Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee newsletter.  This update offers a quick read on key developments related to PFAS — chemicals that have become a major focus of both the plaintiffs’ bar as well as regulators relative to environmental, product liability, and toxic tort issues.

Read the full article here. 

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California Leading the Charge In Renewable Energy

Recently, the Assembly of the State of California approved the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 or “SB100” which will require all energy used in the state to come from renewable sources by December 31, 2045. The bill, authored by State Senator Kevin de León, passed the California Senate last year, the Assembly on August 28, 2018, and was reconciled by the Senate on August 29, 2018. All that remains before the bill becomes law, is Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. According to the bill’s …

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EPA Releases Report Linking Sterilizing Chemical to Increased Risk of Cancer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that a suburban area in Willowbrook, Illinois is facing a risk of cancer over nine times the national average due to contamination by ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide has been used for decades as fumigant to sterilize heat-sensitive medical equipment and other goods. The volatile, easily absorbed chemical has been recognized as a carcinogen since 1985. In December 2016, the EPA released a re-assessment linking it more conclusively to breast and blood cancer.

Sterigenics International, a company that’s …

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Trump Administration Continues Rollback of Obama-Era CO2 Regulations

On August 21, 2018, the Trump administration released a proposed CO2 plan that will permit states to establish emission standards for coal power plants rather than encouraging their closure. The new proposal will provide coal companies with a strong financial incentive to keep their plants in operation, rather than the Obama administration’s goal of replacing them with power plants using renewable energy.  According to the EPA, the proposed rule, named the Affordable Clean Energy (rule), contains several key components:

  •  a revised determination of the best
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Legionella Strikes Again In New York City

As we recently reported, New York City recently increased its enforcement of regulations for treating cooling towers, particularly given that the increased risk of legionella from cooling towers during the warmer summer months.

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by pathogen known as legionella. Legionella is a water-borne bacteria, transmitted through aerosolized droplets of water, e.g., the mist or condensation by-products of HVAC cooling towers on top of buildings. While a relatively common bacteria, legionella, when not properly treated in a water system, can …

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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 Roundup, may be carcinogenic to …

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In the Hands of the States: Pesticide Use and Regulation of Marijuana Cultivation

To date, nine states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. Additionally, medical marijuana is legal in another 29 states. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has stated that “With over 60 percent of Americans now supporting the full legalization of marijuana for adults, the momentum behind marijuana law reform will not only continue but increase as we head into 2018.”

Despite remaining illegal on the federal level, in 2017, legal marijuana sales …

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More Challenges Coming Down the Pipeline: 4th Circuit Grants Victory to Green Groups

Building a pipeline is never easy. From planning the route to restoring the pathway, the entire process requires meticulous care, hard work, and even a little luck. These days, the process is more difficult than ever, thanks to the dedicated ingenuity of environmental groups that make it their mission to erect as many regulatory hurdles as possible for pipeline developers.

The most recent example of environmental groups’ success in this arena came last week, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit …

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There Goes the Neighborhood — New Study Links Oil and Gas Facilities Near Residential Areas to Increased Health Risks

The Colorado School of Public Health has released a study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, which claims that people living near oil and gas facilities may be subject to a higher risk of cancer and other diseases.

The study was focused on residents of Colorado’s northern Front Range, an area of Colorado experiencing an increase in both human population and development of oil and gas resources. The researchers took air samples from multiple sites in Northern Colorado at various distances from …

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Not Just for Delivering Packages, Drones Prove Critical in Damage Assessment and Disaster Recovery Efforts

Recreational use of drones has been around for several years now, and Amazon has even toyed with its delivery applications. However, in recent months, the application of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has timely expanded to more practical and even life-saving uses. By August 31, 2017 — just a few days after Hurricane Harvey — the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued 43 UAS authorizations to drone operators supporting the response and recovery for Hurricane Harvey or covering it as part of the media, with the …

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