Colorless Haze? Carcinogenic Gas Found at Monitoring Sites in 16 Cities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new data regarding the concentrations of ethylene oxide, a colorless and carcinogenic gas, found in metropolitan areas throughout the country. That data shows that the highest concentrations can be found in Phoenix, Arizona, followed closely by Chicago, Illinois, Calvert City, Kentucky, and Chester, New Jersey. Ethylene oxide is an industrial compound most commonly used to produce other chemicals or as a sterilizing agent for medical instruments. The EPA released the data as
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New Jersey’s First Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal Seeks Approval Amidst Claims of Environmental Threats

Earlier this year, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) approved a permit for construction of the state’s first ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal at the site of a former chemical plant along the Delaware River in southern New Jersey. Environmental groups have now challenged the issuance of that permit, bringing additional public scrutiny and attention to this large-scale and controversial energy initiative. The liquefaction process of natural gas consists of lowering its temperature to approximately negative 260
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COAL-ASH ALERT: New EPA Regulations Impact Waste Emission Requirements at Coal-Fired Power Plant

On November 4, 2019, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was releasing regulations on how coal-fired power plants dispose of waste laden with arsenic, lead, and mercury. The newly promulgated rules have been considered a weakening of EPA regulations issued during the Obama Administration regarding the disposal of coal ash, which often makes its way to water and is stored in giant pits that could leech into local waterways. The revised rules were a result of
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PFAS Contaminants Discovered at NJ Trump Golf Course

Recent utility tests of drinking water on President Trump’s golf property in Bedminster, New Jersey, revealed, for the third time this year, the presence of perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is one of the more common PFAS compounds. A lab retained by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection measured 3.5 – 3.6 parts per trillion (ppt) of the chemical at the property. Depending on who you talk to, the levels detected could be considered low and not harmful or, alternatively, they
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Illinois Legislature Advance Ethylene Oxide Ban

On October 30, 2019, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to approve legislation that would effectively ban the use of ethylene oxide, which is a chemical used for sterilizing the majority of medical devices found in hospital operating rooms and other health care settings. In moving forward with the legislation, Illinois lawmakers rejected warnings from federal health care regulators and medical device and surgical tool manufacturers that the measure would lead to shortages of properly sterilized health care tools. To
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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
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Environmental Advocacy Groups Mount New Challenges to EPA Decision-Making Under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act

The EPA has been called to task on multiple fronts in the past week by challenges from environmental advocacy groups. The agency faces new claims in a federal suit filed by several entities in the District of South Carolina due to the repeal of the 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which determines the waterways that are covered by the Clean Water Act (CWA). The repeal was previously reported by the Environmental Law Monitor. Additionally, a petition was filed last week by a coalition of renewable fuel
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Early Halloween Scares: Defendants File Motion To Dismiss In 20 Long Island 1,4-Dioxane Litigations

Earlier this year, Environmental Law Monitor  posted about 1,4-dioxane litigations filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. These litigations followed on the heels of the Suffolk County Water Authority’s (SCWA) 2017 watershed action concerning drinking water contamination. Almost two years removed from the SCWA action, it appears that at least 27 Long Island water districts have filed actions (with three new filings this month), mostly following in line with the litigation strategy developed by
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EPA Denies New York’s Good Neighbor Request

Last week, the EPA issued a final rule denying New York state’s bid to have the EPA issue enforceable daily emissions standards for hundreds of emission sources in upwind states in order to allow the New York Metro Area and Chataqua County to comply with 2008 and 2015 national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone under the Clean Air Act. The EPA ruled that the state failed to prove that the upwind pollution sources are interfering with its efforts
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We Need to Talk … It’s Not Me, It’s You: EPA Accuses California of Worsening Environmental Issues

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has accused California of “failing to meet its obligations” to protect the environment, claiming that the state’s growing homeless population threatens its water quality. In an oversight letter, Administrator Wheeler charged California officials with failing to meet federal health standards in numerous communities where large homeless populations litter the streets with trash, drug paraphernalia and human waste. The letter went on to argue that California’s focus on global warming has come at the expense of more
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