Regulatory Alert: EPA Publishes Draft Risk Evaluations for 1,4-Dioxane and HBCD

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued controversial draft risk evaluations for 1,4-Dioxane and Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD), two of 10 chemicals subject to scrutiny under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act which amended the TSCA in 2016, the EPA is required to publish information regarding “hazards, exposures, conditions of use and potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations,” regarding the enumerated chemicals. These risk evaluations are open for public comment for …

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Don’t Go Taking My Land: Did SCOTUS Find a Serious Hurdle for State Limitations on Energy Development?

What does a private graveyard have to do with environmental regulation? Potentially a lot. The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that property owners can forgo state court to assert claims that the government unconstitutionally allowed a “taking” of their land. Most are familiar with the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment: “[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” That is, governments are not permitted to take private property without providing fair value.

The decision, Knick v. Township

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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 case, Alva and Alberta …

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Breaking: Jury Awards Plaintiff $80 Million in Second Glyphosate Verdict

In the second glyphosate personal injury case to go to a jury trial, a federal jury in the case of Hardeman v. Monsantomatter returned a unanimous verdict of $80 million for the plaintiff against the defendant. The verdict ended a two-part trial over the plaintiff’s allegations that his exposure to glyphosate over a period of approximately 25 years of spraying Roundup on his 56-acre property caused him to develop Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the first phase, which ended last week, the jury found that the plaintiff’s …

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WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke – How Shoud GHG Emissions be Estimated?

On March 19, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling blocking, at least temporarily, approved oil and gas drilling on approximately 300,000 acres in Wyoming.

The case, WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke, et al., 16-1724 (D.C. Cir.), was brought by two advocacy groups, Wildlife Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility, which alleged that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated federal law by not sufficiently considering climate change when authorizing oil and gas leasing on federal land in Wyoming, …

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Senate Follows House’s Lead: Legislation Introduced by the Upper Chamber Aims to Classify PFAS as “Hazardous Substances” Under CERCLA

On March 1, 2019, new legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to classify per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under Superfund.  A similar bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019.

PFAS are a class of fluorinated chemicals that are found in consumer products such as non-stick pans, food packaging, and rain gear, as well as commercial products including firefighting foam. The chemicals do not break down once released into the environment and persist in …

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No Straw for You!

On January 1, 2019, the District of Columbia and the State of California became the latest jurisdictions to ban restaurants from offering their customers a plastic straw and other single-use plastics, including coffee stirrers.  Seattle and Vancouver have similar straw bans in place and regulations are now proposed or pending in New York City, Miami Beach, Fort Myers, and Monmouth Beach, among others. The straw ban movement has expanded beyond the U.S. and Canada; the United Kingdom proposed a ban on selling plastic straws, stirrers …

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Factory Farms, Emissions, and Nuisance Litigation

U.S. EPA this month proposed a rule that will seek to exempt factory farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), from reporting emissions from animal waste under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (who President Trump has now officially recommended to head up the EPA) stated that exempting factory farms will provide clarity to farmers and ranchers, who were given an exemption in March of this year from reporting air emissions under the Comprehensive …

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George Buermann to speak at CLM Southeast Conference on Mitigation Tools for Environmental Crisis Management

Join Goldberg Segalla’s George Buermann on November 9 at the 2018 CLM Southeast Conference in Atlanta, GA. George will be part of a panel discussion titled, “Weathering the Storm: Effective Mitigation Tools for Environmental Crisis Management.” The panel will discuss the actions insurers and businesses can take to shift their posture from being reactive to a preplanning and preventative stance as well as ways to minimize and mitigate damages that arise from environmental disasters and emergencies.  The panel will offer instruction on how to prepare …

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First Climate Change Trial Now on the Horizon

On October 15, 2018, Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S.D.C. for the District of Oregon denied the federal government’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and motion for summary judgment in the Juliana lawsuit filed by 21 minors. As previously explained in this blog, the minors allege that the government has violated their constitutional rights with regard to decisions that have led to climate change. Further, the minors seek to compel the federal government to prepare a consumption-based inventory of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and …

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