House Takes Steps to Require EPA Regulation of PFAs

On July 21, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the PFAS Action Act of 2021 (Act) that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to regulate two per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances. PFAS are commonly known as “forever chemicals” due to their ability to persist in the environment, including drinking water supply systems, the human body, and in animal populations as well. The use of PFAS chemicals has been widespread throughout the world as a result of their resistance to …

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New Jersey: The Nation’s Newest Ambassador of Clean Energy

New Jersey may be most (ashamedly) well-known for its Snooki legacy courtesy of MTV’s Jersey Shore, but Gov. Phil Murphy intends to re-brand the Garden State as an ambassador of clean, green, and renewable energy. Earlier this month, ceremoniously (and rather ironically) from the infamous Seaside Heights Boardwalk, the Governor approved four renewable energy focused bills aimed to collectively bolster New Jersey’s clean energy agenda, setting the stage for New Jersey to become 50% reliable on clean energy sources by 2030, and 100% reliable …

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A Second Bite at the PFAS: House of Representatives Passes PFAS Action Act of 2021; Similar to Act Passed in 2020

Recently, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill—the PFAS Action Act of 2021—that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin regulating perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

The legislation would require the EPA to establish a national drinking water standard within two years for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroactanesulfonic acid (PFOS)—the two most scrutinized PFAS chemicals. Currently, the EPA has a voluntary guidance level of 70 parts per trillion for both PFOA and PFOS combined.

The bill requires …

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Congress Expected to Pass Environmental Justice for All Act

On Thursday, March 18, 2021, Congressional members who drafted the Environmental Justice for All Act (EJAA) reintroduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, co-chair and co-founder of the Senate’s first environmental justice caucus, is co-sponsoring a parallel bill moving through the Senate.

Similar to environmental justice legislation recently passed on the state level in New Jersey (covered by ELM here), the EJAA is a part of a larger effort to prioritize environmental justice in federal policy. Although …

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Hawaii’s Ban on Oxybenzone and Octinoxate-Containing Sunscreen Takes Effect

Hawaii’s sunscreen ban has officially taken effect. In May 2018, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to ban the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. The law went into effect on January 1, 2021, with the goal of preserving Hawaii’s marine ecosystems.

According to the language of the bill, Hawaii’s legislature found that oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals found in many sunscreens, “have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii’s marine environment and residing ecosystems, including coral reefs that protect Hawaii’s shorelines.” Studies …

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Florida Senator Proposes Statewide Cooling Tower Regulation to Protect Citizens From Health Hazards Caused By Legionella

On Dec. 9, 2019, Florida State Senator Joe Gruters introduced Florida Senate Bill 1190 for consideration in the 2020 legislative session that began on Jan. 13, 2020. The legislative intent of this bill is to “protect people from the health hazards of Legionella, a waterborne bacterium that is known to originate in improperly sanitized cooling towers.”

Legionella causes Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia that is contracted when susceptible individuals inhale water droplets or mist containing elevated levels of thebacteria. Even for those persons exposed …

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Three Steps Forward, Three Steps Back- California Moves Forward With Legislation to Adopt Overturned Federal Regulations

In a move that seems tailor-made to create additional litigation, California legislators are considering legislation that would automatically adopt any federal environmental regulations that are weakened or eliminated by the federal government.

“SB 1 ensures clean air, clean water, endangered species, and worker safety standards that have been in place for as long as 50 years are not rolled back as a result of the anti-environment actions of the president and Congress,” Toni Atkins, Senate president pro tem, said in a statement accompanying the legislation.…

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Climate Change Litigation: Where Are the Coverage Suits?

There is an interesting question surrounding the present generation of climate change lawsuits currently working their way through the court system. Specifically, where are the duty to defend actions related to these suits?

Background

By way of background, there are two types of climate change lawsuits currently working their way through the courts:

  1. Those filed by government entities that seek to hold energy companies responsible for the costs that government entities are forced to expend in adapting to climate change, and which could be susceptible
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PFAS Alert: More Bipartisan Legislation Being Introduced

On March 28, 2019, U.S. Senators. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and U.S. Representatives. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) introduced bipartisan legislation to sample water for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The PFAS Detection Act of 2019 would authorize the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a nationwide sampling to test surface and groundwater for PFAS pollution, with a special focus on water near sites already known or suspected to be contaminated. The PFAS Detection Act also appropriates $45 million …

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The EPA’s Recent WOTUS Proposal Continues the Death Knell for the Clean Water Rule (2015)

The 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, suffered another blow last week as the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers released a new proposed definition of covered waters to replace the Obama administration’s controversial regulation, and opened a 60 day period for public comment. As we’ve previously reported, litigation throughout the United States has left a patchwork quilt of states where the WOTUS rule remained in effect. Ostensibly, the new …

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