semi truck driving

How New Emissions Standards Are Leading to Selfies with Trucks

Just a few weeks ago, in late October, trucking and manufacturing representatives from across the United States convened in San Diego for the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition to discuss the impact that new and pending emissions regulations will have on the trucking industry and its equipment market. The conference’s particular focus was on standards announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year, and on California’s Air and Resources Board’s (CARB) finalized Advanced Clean Trucks rule and proposed Advanced Clean Fleets …

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WHO Draft Drinking Water Guidance on PFOA and PFOS Raises Material Differences With U.S. EPA Guidance

The World Health Organization recently released for public comment its first document evaluating PFAS: “PFOS and PFOA in Drinking-water, Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality.” According to WHO, one of its primary goals is that “all people, whatever their stage of development and their social and economic conditions, have the right to have access to an adequate supply of safe drinking water.” One function that WHO exercises to achieve that goal is the proposal of regulations, and “to make recommendations with …

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EPA Launches Civil Rights Investigation for Jackson, Mississippi’s Ongoing Water Crisis

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) accepted for investigation an administrative complaint filed against the Mississippi Department of Health (MDH) and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) based on their role in the City of Jackson, Mississippi’s ongoing water crisis. This is an investigation opened by the EPA’s new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (“OEJECR.”). The agency announced on Thursday October 20, 2022, that it will investigate whether MDEQ and MDA discriminated against Jackson’s mostly Black population by refusing to provide funding for much needed repairs to Jackson’s water infrastructure. 

For those not aware, Mississippi’s …

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Federal Lawsuit claims the US EPA has become ‘inert’ when it comes to judging pesticide ingredients

Last week, four environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing  to assess the hard-data consequences of pesticides in its approval process. 

 Back in 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) created lists of pesticides, dividing inert ingredients into four categories based on their toxicological concern; List 1-Inerts of toxicological concern, List 2-Potentially toxic inerts/high priority for testing, List 3-Inerts of unknown toxicity, and List 4-Inerts of minimal concern. 

 Despite this list clearly demonstrating that the EPA has been aware—for decades—of the potential for …

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The EPA Flexes Creating a New and Robust Office Dedicated To Sanctioning Environmental Justice

As a follow up to one of our team’s ELM articles earlier this month, (here), the EPA launched a brand-new environmental justice office signaling, for the first time, that clean air, clean water, and environmental justice are a birthright to be protected by the federal government- regardless of privilege, socio-economic status, or geographic location. During his announcement of the groundbreaking initiative, Agency Administrator Michael Regan was anything but ambivalent about the EPA’s latest regime stating very clearly that by nature of its creation the …

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The Clean Water Act’s Not So Clean Application in Close Cases

Just last week, on October 3, 2022, Sackett v. EPA found itself once again before the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments, its first appearance at SCOTUS having been a decade before. In January 2022, when the Supreme Court agreed to hear Sackett for a second time following remand, the petitioner Sacketts had amended their complaint in order to challenge the subject compliance order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibiting the Sacketts from modifying the wetlands on their property on the basis that …

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EPA Establishes Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights

On September 24, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the establishment of a new office dedicated to advancing civil rights and environmental justice. The Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR) was created through the merger of three existing internal programs: the Office of Environmental Justice, the External Civil Rights Compliance Office, and the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center. The OEJECR will oversee the delivery of over $3 billion in grants to assist communities that are adversely impacted by environmental challenges such as …

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EPA Asks the Ninth Circuit for Permission to Reconsider Its Human Health and Ecological Determinations on the Common Herbicide, Paraquat

Paraquat dichloride is a synthetic chemical compound that has been used as an active ingredient in herbicide products sold in the United States since the mid-1960s. One of the most commonly used herbicides in the U.S., it has been described as “a fast-acting, non-selective herbicide used in an array of agricultural and other settings” … “typically applied via knapsack sprayers, hand-held sprayers, crop dusters, trucks with pressurized tanks, and tractor-drawn pressurized tanks.” The EPA has designated paraquat as a “Restricted Use” product (RUP), which means …

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First-of-its-kind Ethylene Oxide Verdict Awards Record Damages Against Defendant Sterigenics

On September 19, 2022, a Cook County (Illinois) jury awarded $363 million to 70-year-old plaintiff Susan Kamuda  in the first of many lawsuits against industrial sterilization company Sterigenics.  These lawsuits accuse the company of a reckless, decades-long pollution of Willowbrook, Illinois with ethylene oxide.  The jury in this case went beyond the damages requested by Ms. Kamuda, who lived within a quarter-mile of Sterigenics’ Willowbrook facility for more than 30 years.  While Ms. Kamuda only asked for $21 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded …

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EPA Incites Further Controversy Proposing to Designate Forever Chemicals Under CERCLA

While critics may say the federal government has been slow to react to PFAS, last week the EPA took its most aggressive stance — publishing its notice for a proposed federal rule to designate two specific PFAS compounds, PFOA and PFOS, as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and now the clock is ticking. 

Found in surface water, air, soil, and even more recently food packaging, PFOA and PFOS were used pervasively in American manufacturing beginning in the 1940s for their durability, heat/grease resistance, and waterproof nature, and quickly assumed the nomenclature “forever chemicals” because of their remarkable inability to decompose. 

When talking shop, lawyers, insurance carriers, and manufacturers alike have labeled PFAS the ‘emerging contaminant’ to watch out for …

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