Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Class Action Against Chicago Over “Increased Danger” from Lead Water Lines

Illinois’ highest state court in Gordon Berry, et al, v. The City of Chicago has rejected a proposed class action that threatened to overwhelm Chicago with claims over elevated lead contamination risk from its old lead water lines. On September 24, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the ruling of a state appeals court, ruling a Circuit Court of Cook County judge was correct in finding Chicago homeowners needed to do more than simply claim the lead in their water was dangerous in order to …

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EPA Releases Compliance Advisory for UV Devices Designed to Kill Germs, Bacteria, and Viruses

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant shortage of traditional household disinfectant products such as wipes and sprays, numerous ultraviolet (UV) devices have been marketed to consumers with claims that they kill germs, bacteria, and viruses. What some may not know is that UV lights that are sold or distributed with these claims are subject to various federal regulation, including the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIRA), which governs the registration, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides in the United States. …

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Following Ninth Circuit’s Ban, EPA Approves Use of Dicamba Herbicide Until 2025

Over the last few years, the Environmental Law Monitor has monitored regulatory and litigation matters on dicamba herbicide used by farmers to combat broadleaf weeds that have developed resistance to other herbicides (see prior posts here.)

In June 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered a ban on certain dicamba products, which vacated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) prior approval and required it to conduct a new review. However, in late October, the EPA renewed its approval …

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New York Takes Next Step in Nation-Leading Offshore Wind Efforts

The deadline for submitting proposals in response to New York’s second solicitation for offshore wind procurement recently expired, with three companies in the running to land contracts, including Vineyard Wind, Equinor Wind, and Bay State Wind (a joint venture of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy). Each submitted proposals in response to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s July 21, 2020, solicitation for 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy. These proposals followed along the heels of the state’s 2018 solicitation for 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind, which …

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Flint Water Crisis Ruling May Signal Expansion in EPA Liability

The now-infamous Flint water crisis arose when the city of Flint, Michigan, changed the source of its water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River. The raw water drawn from the Flint River, processed through Flint’s outdated and previously mothballed water treatment plant, was highly corrosive and not properly treated by the city’s public works department. As a result, water with excessive lead and copper levels flowed through the city and into residents’ homes, causing them physical injury and damage …

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Presidential Environmental Policy Rigidly Defined by Doubt and Uncertainty

Following what seemed like an interminable and chaotic presidential election cycle, November 3, 2020, is finally upon us, and the country will soon know who our next president will be. Regardless of whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden takes the oath of office come January, what is not certain is how each of their respective policy objectives would play out during the next presidential term―particularly with regard to environmental regulations and oversight. Although one might assume the vast gulf between the two candidates on environmental …

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New Jersey May Be First in Country to Ban Paper Bags

New Jersey is slated to join the ever-growing list of states implementing bans on plastic bags, but a bill passed by the New Jersey Legislature on September 24, 2020 takes the regulation one step further—banning paper bags as well.

The bill, originally introduced in January 2020, seeks to ban “single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, polystyrene foam food service products, and single-use plastic straws.” While plastics do appear to be the focus of the bill, it includes language that “single-use paper carryout bags …

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What the EPA’s Reclassification of Information Under Clean Air Act Means

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a prepublication version of a final rule under the Clean Air Act (CAA) that permits major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) to reclassify as sources if the source reduces its potential to emit HAPs below the major source threshold (10 tons per year of any single HAP or 25 tons per year of any combination of HAPs). In addition, the rule is design to finalize amendments to clarify the compliance dates, notifications, and recordkeeping requirements …

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Golden State’s Governor Takes Bold Measures in Effort to Combat Climate Change; Issues Ban On Gas-Powered Cars

As an unprecedented amount of wild fires continue to ravage the state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-79-20 on September 23, 2020, banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks by 2035—an aggressive attempt to combat the effects of climate change.

The order recognizes that bold action is needed to eliminate emissions from transportation, which is the largest source of carbon emissions in the state. The order also notes that zero emissions technologies reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air pollutants, and …

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