Pennsylvania to Require Radiological Testing of Leachate at Landfills

On July 26, 2021, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that his administration will soon require that all Pennsylvania landfills—including those that receive oil and gas waste from fracking—conduct quarterly testing of leachate (liquid generated during waste decomposition) for radiological contaminants. Gov. Wolf commented “[w]e take seriously our responsibility and duty as an environmental steward … This additional requirement will improve public confidence that public drinking water and our precious natural resources are being appropriately protected.”

While landfills are currently required to test leachate for various …

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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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Homeowner Associations in New York to Make Way for Solar Power

Homeowner Associations (HOAs) are given broad authority in New York State to enforce covenants, conditions, and restrictions in efforts to manage a community of homes. Absent an unlawful purpose or improper internal procedures, HOAs have been largely permitted to develop and manage their properties as they deem fit. This broad authority included an HOA’s ability to prohibit a homeowner from installing a solar power system on his or her property. However, as New York continues to adopt various green initiatives, this is set to change.…

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Maine Enacts Groundbreaking, Strict PFAS Law to Take Effect in January 2023

On July 15, 2021, Maine became the first state to ban per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from most products by the year 2030. Under the law, PFAS means “substances that include any member of the class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom”—a class of thousands of chemicals.

Maine’s new law titled “An Act to Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution,” sponsored by Representative Gramlich, was adopted by the Maine legislature as an emergency measure (which does not require the …

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9th Circuit: EPA’s Review of Methylene Chloride Will Remain Limited for Now

Methylene chloride (MC) is used as a paint-stripping solvent, an aerosol propellant, in the manufacture of film, and as a solvent in drug manufacturing. In the research laboratory and in food production, it is commonly used for extractions. It has also been clinically demonstrated to cause liver and lung cancer in animals and may be a carcinogen to humans, causing severe irritation and burning to the skin and eyes with exposure above recommended levels.

Because of these risks and in response largely to public pressure, …

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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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EPA Reroutes a “Path Forward” for TSCA Chemical Risk Assessments

In response to recent Executive Orders issued by President Biden, the U.S. Environmental Protection agency recently announced that it will be changing how it evaluates chemical risk under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). These changes will affect risk evaluations going forward, as well as 10 chemicals already evaluated by the EPA under the last administration. The EPA stated that the policy change is meant to ensure the public is protected from unreasonable risks from chemicals in the marketplace while relying on support that is …

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Third Circuit Affirms No Duplicative Reporting for “Federally Permitted Releases”

Two fires at the U.S. Steel Mon Valley Works facility near Pittsburgh, PA in December 2018 and 2019 resulted in the release of pollutants, including hydrogen sulfide, benzene, and coke oven gas into the air. Following air monitoring that revealed increased levels of the pollutants, in compliance with its Clean Air Act permits and regulations, U.S. Steel reported the fires and emissions to the Allegheny County Health Department—the local governmental arm that enforces the Clean Air Act.

Notwithstanding, the Clean Air Council, a nonprofit environmental …

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EPA Increases Pressure on Manufacturers (and Importers) of TSCA High-Priority Substances

On June 29, 2021, the U.S. EPA published a final rule requiring manufacturers (including importers) of 50 specified chemical substances to report certain lists and copies of unpublished health and safety studies to EPA. 86 Fed. Reg. 34147. The EPA’s final rule was issued pursuant to Section 8(d) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the TSCA Health and Safety Data Reporting rule codified at 40 C.F.R. Part 716. The EPA established detailed reporting requirements for chemical substances added by the final rule to …

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Supreme Court Sides with Refineries in Battle over Exemptions from Fuel Blending Requirements

In a 6-3 ruling on June 25, 2021, in HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining LLC et al. v. Renewable Fuels Association et al., the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) sided with the oil refineries in a dispute with biofuel producers. The ruling overturned a Tenth Circuit decision that voided extensions of waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements under the Clean Air Act granted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even though the prior exemptions had expired.

Renewable Fuel Program

Under the …

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