Federal Lawsuit claims the US EPA has become ‘inert’ when it comes to judging pesticide ingredients

Last week, four environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing  to assess the hard-data consequences of pesticides in its approval process. 

 Back in 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) created lists of pesticides, dividing inert ingredients into four categories based on their toxicological concern; List 1-Inerts of toxicological concern, List 2-Potentially toxic inerts/high priority for testing, List 3-Inerts of unknown toxicity, and List 4-Inerts of minimal concern. 

 Despite this list clearly demonstrating that the EPA has been aware—for decades—of the potential for …

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Politics Threaten Passage Of Wildfire Mitigation Bills

Lawmakers from both parties, in both houses of Congress, have proposed bills intended to speed up forest-management projects that reduce wildfire fuels, like brush and small trees, which can cause large-scale fires of the sort seen in Western states over the past few years.  The House has already passed the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (“WRDRA”), a package of 49 bills that, among other things, will provide investments to improve fire-adapted ecosystems, protect communities against catastrophic wildfires, and enhance drought resiliency.  The Senate, on …

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The EPA Flexes Creating a New and Robust Office Dedicated To Sanctioning Environmental Justice

As a follow up to one of our team’s ELM articles earlier this month, (here), the EPA launched a brand-new environmental justice office signaling, for the first time, that clean air, clean water, and environmental justice are a birthright to be protected by the federal government- regardless of privilege, socio-economic status, or geographic location. During his announcement of the groundbreaking initiative, Agency Administrator Michael Regan was anything but ambivalent about the EPA’s latest regime stating very clearly that by nature of its creation the …

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The Clean Water Act’s Not So Clean Application in Close Cases

Just last week, on October 3, 2022, Sackett v. EPA found itself once again before the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments, its first appearance at SCOTUS having been a decade before. In January 2022, when the Supreme Court agreed to hear Sackett for a second time following remand, the petitioner Sacketts had amended their complaint in order to challenge the subject compliance order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibiting the Sacketts from modifying the wetlands on their property on the basis that …

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Oil Field Flares Release Much More Methane Emissions Than Previously Thought, A New Study Shows

Oil and gas manufacturers have long relied on a process known as “flaring” to limit the venting of natural gas from their refineries. Specifically, flaring is the process of burning natural gas escaping from oil and gas wells and aims at combusting the powerful greenhouse gas methane to minimize its emission. Flares are designed to eliminate 98% of the methane that passes through them, and that is the standard amount used when calculating the emissions they create. Burning methane through flaring as it is released thereby converts it to …

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EPA Establishes Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights

On September 24, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the establishment of a new office dedicated to advancing civil rights and environmental justice. The Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR) was created through the merger of three existing internal programs: the Office of Environmental Justice, the External Civil Rights Compliance Office, and the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center. The OEJECR will oversee the delivery of over $3 billion in grants to assist communities that are adversely impacted by environmental challenges such as …

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EPA Asks the Ninth Circuit for Permission to Reconsider Its Human Health and Ecological Determinations on the Common Herbicide, Paraquat

Paraquat dichloride is a synthetic chemical compound that has been used as an active ingredient in herbicide products sold in the United States since the mid-1960s. One of the most commonly used herbicides in the U.S., it has been described as “a fast-acting, non-selective herbicide used in an array of agricultural and other settings” … “typically applied via knapsack sprayers, hand-held sprayers, crop dusters, trucks with pressurized tanks, and tractor-drawn pressurized tanks.” The EPA has designated paraquat as a “Restricted Use” product (RUP), which means …

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First-of-its-kind Ethylene Oxide Verdict Awards Record Damages Against Defendant Sterigenics

On September 19, 2022, a Cook County (Illinois) jury awarded $363 million to 70-year-old plaintiff Susan Kamuda  in the first of many lawsuits against industrial sterilization company Sterigenics.  These lawsuits accuse the company of a reckless, decades-long pollution of Willowbrook, Illinois with ethylene oxide.  The jury in this case went beyond the damages requested by Ms. Kamuda, who lived within a quarter-mile of Sterigenics’ Willowbrook facility for more than 30 years.  While Ms. Kamuda only asked for $21 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded …

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PA GOP Can’t Crack Anti-Frack

The Delaware River Basin Commission (“DRBC”), the first government-and-state joint venture in river basin planning since the birth of the nation, itself, won a substantial—but narrow—victory on Friday when the 3rd Circuit ruled that individual state senators did not have standing to challenge the fracking ban in Northern PA inacted by DRBC in February of 2021.

The DRBC was created in 1961 when the governors of New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania joined President Kennedy and signed concurrent legislation creating a regional legal …

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New Microplastics Requirements Put California’s Drinking Water to the Test

As previously reported in ELM, microplastics – plastic fragments smaller than 5 millimeters in length – have been found everywhere from Antarctica (https://environmentallawmonitor.com/emerging-issues/microplastics-found-for-the-first-time-in-freshly-fallen-snow/) to human lung tissue (https://environmentallawmonitor.com/emerging-issues/study-finds-microplastics-in-human-lung-tissue/) to, especially, bodies of water (https://environmentallawmonitor.com/emerging-issues/can-biofilm-engineering-be-used-to-address-microplastics-pollution/). This ubiquity has led to an increased number of studies and ever-improving sampling methods for the purposes of reversing the omnipresence of microplastics. 

After years of research involving several dozen laboratories, last week, California’s Water Resources Control Board approved microplastics testing requirements – the world’s …

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