EPA Releases First-of-its-Kind Nationwide PFAS Action Plan

Earlier today, the EPA’s Acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, announced a nationwide PFAS Action Plan. An EPA official described the plan as the “most comprehensive action plan for a chemical of concern ever undertaken by the agency.” The plan describes actions that are under way and slated for future action. In particular, the plan discusses: moving forward with evaluating the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS; beginning the steps to designate the chemicals as “hazardous substances” 
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Business Climate Changes for Oil and Gas Industry in the West

Despite booming operations due to shale gas discoveries in recent years, the business climate for the oil and gas industry in the western United States is suffering because of recent political changes and public concerns over, well, climate change. We start in New Mexico, where Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham inked an executive order in January calling for the state to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, becoming the latest newly minted Democratic
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You’ve Got a Friend in Me — U.S. EPA Finds Ally in Colorado Automobile Dealers Association

As the United States Environmental Protection Agency continues its battle with the state of California over fuel efficiency requirements for new vehicles, a new area of conflict has opened: the state of Colorado. California is the only state that has a waiver under the federal Clean Air Act to impose its own vehicle fuel standards. States without waivers can approve a separate standard as long as it’s identical to California’s. In June 2018, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive
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States Team Up to Bring Air Quality Lawsuit Against the EPA

On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, the Attorney Generals of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, along with the City of New York, joined forces to bring a lawsuit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency and its acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler. The coalition is led by Letitia James, the newly elected Attorney General of New York. The lawsuit aims to force the EPA to take steps to limit air pollution. James was quoted saying the New York
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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
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“PFAS Action Act of 2019” Proposed to Designate PFAS as CERCLA Hazardous Substances as More States Move To Regulate Locally

This month, a trio of bi-partisan legislators from Michigan introduced a bill in the United States House of Representatives that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to classify all PFAS chemicals under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund staute. The bill, introduced by Reps. Dan Kildee (D), Fred Upton (R), and Debbie Dingell (D) and referred to as the “PFAS Action Act of 2019,” would require such designation by
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Short Use, Yet Long Life: New Study Highlights Persisting PFAS Treatment In Common Consumer Products

It’s worth noting that certain everyday products that U.S. consumers encounter frequently may still be treated with PFAS. That’s the focus of a recent study.  The study, conducted by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Toxic-Free Future, screened various retailer’s food-contact materials (i.e., take-out containers, bakery or deli paper, single-use plates) for the presence of suspected PFAS treatment. Although a small sample size, the study found that 5/8 (or about 63 percent) of take-out containers that they had collected from different
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Pincer Move? State AGs Employ Two-Pronged Attack on U.S. EPA Over Landfill Emissions

A multistate coalition of Attorneys General, including California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont; and the California Air Resources Board, joined to file comments demanding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdraw its proposed rule delaying by four years implementation of a regulation that would reduce emissions from landfills. The regulation at issue, known formally as the 2016 Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfill, was designed to reduce landfill emissions
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New Hampshire Proposes MCLs for PFAS Compounds…But Many Aren’t Cheering the Proposals

This week we continue our reporting on the state by state regulatory patch work involving per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). On Wednesday, January 2, 2019, officials in New Hampshire announced a set of proposed drinking water rules outlining Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and Ambient Groundwater Quality Standards (AGQSS) for four PFAS compounds. The new rules were issued along with a summary report prepared by the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). According to the report, NHDES considered 1) the extent
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EPA Proposes Rollback of Mercury Regulations

Last week of 2018, during the partial government shutdown and holiday lull, many may have missed a significant development in the environmental law arena – a proposal by the EPA to rollback an Obama-era regulation to reduce mercury pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants. ​The 2011 rule, called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards(MATS), was promulgated by the prior administration and intended to address the negative effects of mercury on human health and the environment by requiring power plants to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxins by more than 90 percent over 5 years. The regulation focused on
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