How Long Should We Wait for Those Good Things They Say are Worth Waiting For?

On July 25, 2017, the EPA’s recently created Superfund Task Force released a number of recommendations on how to “streamline and improve the Superfund program.” These recommendations (e.g., recommendation number one is “Target NPL Sites That Are Not Showing Sufficient Progress Towards Site Cleanup and Completion”) were generated after the EPA director criticized the cleanup time involved in the Superfund process. Has the process been taking too long?

The Superfund program involves both an identification and investigation process that’s been time consuming. To …

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The EPA’s Action Plan to Restore a Cornerstone of its Mission

In May, E. Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, issued a memo about prioritizing the Superfund Program and establishing a commission to expedite the identification and revitalization of superfund sites. CERCLA created the Superfund Program in 1980, but efforts to revitalize superfund sites have lately been delayed by red tape, funding issues, bankruptcies, and court proceedings. In his memo directed to the deputy administrator, the inspector general, assistant administrators, and other high level personnel, Pruitt vowed that “the EPA’s Superfund land and water cleanup efforts will be …

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EPA’s “Sham Recycling” Rule Partially Discarded by D.C. Circuit

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down portions of a 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency final rule designed to limit “sham recycling” of hazard waste materials. See American Petroleum Institute v. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017 WL 2883867 (2017).

In 2015, EPA promulgated a final rule (Final Rule) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) attempting to prevent “sham recycling.” The Final Rule came as a result of years of negotiation, and litigation. Yet, subsequent to …

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The Rollback Begins: Is it the Beginning of the End for the Clean Water Rule?

President Trump recently got the ball rolling on rescinding or revising The Clean Water Rule (the Rule) — a President Obama-era environmental regulation that sought to expand the federal government’s reach under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

For background, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, enacted in 1948 and later reorganized and expanded in 1972, is known today as the CWA. The CWA establishes a structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulates quality standards for surface …

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A Gang of Thirteen — The Attorneys General Condemning Rollback of Federal Emissions Standards

On March 15, 2017, President Trump rescinded “executive action of new vehicle emission standards” claiming that the previous administration had set these federal fuel efficiency standards “far into the future” and then threatened auto jobs by cancelling a previously promised midterm review of the standards. Trump stated that “if the standards threatened auto jobs then common sense changes could have and should have been made.” Trump claimed that “[j]ust days before my inauguration the previous administration cut short the promised mid-term review in an eleventh …

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EPA Postpones Effective Date for TSCA Nanomaterial Reporting Rule and Releases Draft Guidance for Public Comment

On January 12, 2017, the EPA finalized a rule on nanomaterial reporting and record keeping under Section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). See 82 Fed. Reg. 3641. The rule, called Chemical Substances When Manufactured or Processed as Nanoscale Materials; TSCA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements (Final Rule), was in development for years and was set to go into effect on May 12, 2017. Id.

The Final Rule establishes reporting and recordkeeping requirements for certain chemical substances when they are manufactured or processed …

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Where There’s Fire, There’s Not Always Smoke. EPA Finds No Radioactive Contamination at Homes Near Suburban St. Louis Landfill

The Environmental Protection Agency declared a landfill near St. Louis, Missouri containing Manhattan Project waste has not contaminated nearby homes with radioactive materials.

Approximately 40 years ago, waste materials from the Manhattan Project were buried in the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, a St. Louis suburb. The discovery of an underground fire at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill has led to the lawsuits alleging that radioactive materials could be polluting nearby residential neighborhoods.

In November 2016, Robbin and Mike Dailey filed suit in state court against …

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Pruitt Intends to Rebalance the EPA – Rejecting the idea that “You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too”

In March, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, discussed a new direction for the EPA during his remarks at Ceraweek, an annual conference involving leaders in industry, energy, the financial sectors, and government. In his opening statements, Pruitt discussed changes at the EPA dedicated to these core values: (1) where process matters; (2) the rule of law will be respected; and, (3) cooperative federalism. Pruitt explained this new balance as a synergy of pro-growth and environmental policy.

According to Pruitt, “the process …

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