Happy Holidays!

We wanted to take some time to wish all of our subscribers and their families a happy holiday season and all the best in the new year. 2020 has been a busy, active year in the world of environmental law and we appreciate you dropping by our site on a regular basis for emerging issues and up-to-date information. Environmental Law Monitor will return next week with new posts. Once again, happy holidays!…

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Annual Judicial Hellholes Report Demonstrates Continuing Impact on Environmental and Toxic Tort Litigation

The recently released American Tort Reform Foundation 2020-21 Judicial Hellholes Report highlights nine U.S. jurisdictions where expansive civil litigation continued notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to flourish. In most of these jurisdictions, mass toxic tort and environmental litigation has been prevalent.

Topping this year’s list is the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, followed by New York City and California. South Carolina, Louisiana, and Georgia round out the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions. St. Louis, Missouri, perennial problem …

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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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