Trade Association Submits Challenge to EPA’s New PFOA and PFOS Health Advisories

As reported in our blog back in June, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new drinking-water health advisories (HAs) for PFAS contaminants. Specifically, the advisories drastically reduced acceptable PFOA and PFOS water levels from 70 parts per trillion (set in 2016) down to 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS.  

These new advisories, however, are already the subject of attack. Last week, a leading trade association filed a petition challenging these new HAs.  

The petition was filed with the U.S. …

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DC Circuit asked to say “ethaNO” to biofuel increases

Anything that reduces fuel emissions has to be good for the environment, right? WRONG!

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is facing precisely this seeming anomaly, being asked by the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) this past Wednesday to “review” (read: “halt” or “stop”) the Biden administration’s fuel blending standards, which they claim are a risk to endangered species.

For context, we go back 17 years to when the EPA enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which required transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel …

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Supreme Court Requires Specific Congressional Authorization For Regulations That Give Federal Agencies “Extravagant” Power Over The National Economy

As regular readers of this blog know, we have been keeping tabs on the Supreme Court’s review of West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, a case addressing how broadly executive agencies can interpret the legislation authorizing their activities.  Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion on the matter, holding that the “major questions” doctrine precluded the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to require energy producers to change the type of energy generation they use.

Under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, …

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Superfund: An Unsung Victim of COVID

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) — commonly known as “the Superfund” — was enacted in December 1980 in response to growing awareness of, and concern over, the catastrophic environmental impact of unregulated and largely unrestricted dumping of toxic waste into the ecosystems and communities around dump sites.

Executed by the Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund represented the first federally regulated attempt to address these environmental issues — principally through short-term removal actions, such as properly disposing of partially empty drums of toxic …

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School’s Out for Summer, but EPA’s Latest PFAS Drinking Water Health Advisory Order is No Vacation for the Regulated Industry or Litigants

If you drink water, pay a water bill, or watch the news, you’ve undoubtedly heard or seen (but were likely unable to pronounce) the acronyms for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), two of the most recognized compounds within the family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Known as PFAS compounds, they were used pervasively in American manufacturing dating back to the 1940s and assumed the nomenclature “forever chemicals” because of their remarkable and arguably useful ability to not decompose. PFAS’ unique resistance to breaking …

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Chevron Deference on Life Support?

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 15 issued a unanimous reversal of a lower appellate court, and in which, ruling against the federal government, struck down a Department of Health and Human Services rule significantly reducing Medicare prescription reimbursements to hospitals traditionally serving low-income patients.

Although the 2018 rule did not, on its face, seem to have anything to do with environmental rules or regulations, environmental lawyers, activists, and probably the Environmental Protection Agency itself closely watched the progress of American Hospital Association v. Becerra

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World’s Next Environmental Superhero is a Plastic-Eating Enzyme

If you aren’t toting a reusable water bottle, bamboo straw, or canvas grocery bag, news of a plastic-eating enzyme may not resonate as revolutionary. Nevertheless, plastic waste ranks up there as one of the most pressing environmental problems we face today. There has been little hope in sight of how to shrink the colossal amount of plastic waste—measured in billions of tons—accumulating in landfills across the globe, plaguing our ecosystems, and generating environmental contamination lawsuits. Last month, however, researchers at The University of Texas at …

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Colorado Drilling Project Stopped in its [F]racks!

On May 19, 2022, a Colorado federal district court judge, the Honorable Marcia S. Krieger, issued an opinion and order remanding action, preventing—for now, at least—an expansive fracking plan in Western Colorado from going forward even though it had previously been approved by the United States Bureau of Land Management, United States Department of the Interior, and United States Forest Service (collectively, Agencies) during the Trump administration. Specifically, the court vacated the Agencies’ approval of the North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan (Plan) for hydraulic …

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California’s Clean Air Act Waiver Targeted in New Lawsuit

Ohio, along with sixteen other states, sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday last week, over its March 14, 2022 decision to reinstate a waiver allowing the nation’s most populous state California, under its Advanced Clean Cars Program, to enact tougher vehicle emission standards than those set by the federal government.[1][2]

In 1966, California enacted the nation’s first tailpipe emissions standards in light of its then-severe pollution problems. That was followed in 1970 by the creation of the Clean Air Act, which gave …

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Recommending Federal Discharge Standards for PFAS in Aquatic Life

Known as “forever” chemicals, many PFAS compounds are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world.  They also present at low levels in various food products and in the water, air, fish and soil in many areas. 

Many environmental advocates have called for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set enforceable federal discharge standards for PFAS under the Clean Water Act.  Currently, no such federal regulations exist.  Water utilities in various states have expressed concern that these types of regulations …

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