algae bloom

New Technologies Being Developed to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms in Upstate New York

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)—neither pretty nor safe—have been an ongoing issue in certain Upstate New York lakes and other bodies of water. However, it appears that some good news has arrived for those otherwise bucolic upstate areas. Recently, the state of New York announced that new HAB mitigation technologies—being developed by Clarkson University and SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)—are being tested: hydrodynamic cavitation with hydrogen peroxide, and electrochemical oxidation filtration.

According to the DEC, “Both treatment systems are designed to collect algae-laden water near …

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COVID-19 and the U.S. Drinking Water Supply: What We Know Now

As the nation grapples with COVID-19, we wanted to pass along information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that may not be relayed as frequently as other critical details and advice on prevention and awareness.

Presently, the CDC states that COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water, and that conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection (like those found in most municipal drinking water systems) should be effective in removing or …

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Trouble in Paradise: Honolulu Brings Climate Change Lawsuit Against Fossil Fuel Companies

Last week, the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii filed a lawsuit against major corporate members of the fossil fuel industry, alleging they knew the negative effects their products would cause via climate change but obscured the information from public knowledge in order to reap greater profits. According to the complaint, the fossil fuel companies worsened the climate crisis by undermining climate science and delaying a transition to clean energy.

According to the lawsuit, the fossil fuel companies’ actions have resulted in sea level rise that …

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New York Senator Presents Bill to Permanently Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

Despite the December 2014 existing regulatory ban on hydraulic fracturing from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the new legislation – Senate Bill 6906 – is focused on providing New York with a permanent legal protection from hydraulic fracturing activities, including gelled propane fracking, a new process being advocated by the oil and gas industries. New York Sen. Jen Metzger stated that more than five years after the current ban was put in place, more than 1,000 scientific studies have been undertaken to confirm the public …

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Breaking News: Fraud Claims Against Exxon Mobil Dismissed in Landmark Trial

Early this morning the court cleared Exxon Mobil in hotly contested litigation that was pending in New York. In a bench trial[1], which took place in October 2019, the New York State attorney general alleged that Exxon defrauded investors by inflating their value with internal climate risk metrics. Additionally, several have alleged that such misrepresentations have led to significant impacts on climate change globally. Today, the court ruled that the New York attorney general failed to present sufficient evidence to support its claims …

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EPA Announces Draft Risk Evaluation for N-Methylpyrrolidon (NMP)

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of the draft risk evaluation for N-methylpyrrolidon (NMP) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The purpose of a risk evaluation is to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment under the conditions of its use and to analyze the risks from potential exposure. The draft risk evaluation will be peer-reviewed by the TSCA Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) on December 5- 6, 2019 with a final regulation likely to be …

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Next-Gen Nuclear Gaining Steam as Green Power Alternative with Governmental Partnerships

In early October 2019, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) executed a memorandum of understanding to share technical resources and expertise to accelerate the development and implementation of advanced nuclear technologies. Under the agreement, the DOE would run a National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) with a goal of funneling private sector funds to the testing and validation of reactor concepts, and would assist potential providers of advanced nuclear technology with guidance through relevant regulatory processes. The …

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Navigating Landowners through the Brownfields

The EPA recently updated its vintage standard guidance on CERCLA’s landowner defenses. This was the first update since 2003. The update was explained as an effort to provide clarity.

Historically, under CERCLA, the owner or operator of a contaminated property could be held strictly, jointly, severally and even retroactively liable for releases of hazardous substances. The three statutory liability defenses available under the 2002 Brownfields Amendments to CERCLA provide important liability limitations for landowners who qualify as:

1. Bona fide prospective purchasers (BFPPs)

2. Contiguous …

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Florida Appellate Court Finds That State Laws Preempt City-Enacted Anti-Styrofoam Ban

Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal recently struck down a 2016 Coral Gables’ law that prohibited the sale and use of food-related polystyrene containers (i.e., Styrofoam) by food service providers and stores. This decision reverses a trial court decision granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of the city and finding that the three state laws in question were unconstitutional.

In its decision, written by Judge Norma S. Lindsey, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal held that the ordinance was preempted by …

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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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