CMS Clarifies Legionnaires Infection Control Requirement For Nursing Homes

In early July, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a clarifying memorandum to certified healthcare facilities regarding CMS’s “expectations” for mitigation of legionella risks. Specifically, CMS’s letter revises a prior memorandum and clarifies expectations related to legionella risk mitigation. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by a waterborne pathogen known as legionella. It is contracted when susceptible individuals inhale water droplets or mist containing elevated levels of legionella bacteria. The number of legionnaires cases reported to CDC has been
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Battles over Lead Paint Rage On in California

Three paint manufacturers who have been in a tug-of-war with several California counties regarding potential liability for lead paint resorted to a state balloting process to shift the potential exposure. The battle started to intensify earlier this year when the California Supreme Court declined to review a 2014 state appeals court ruling that held manufacturers Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and ConAgra Grocery Products Co. liable for $1.15 billion dollars in costs associated with remediation of lead paint in housing
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PFAS Alert: New York State Court Certifies PFOA Class Action

On July 3, 2018, a state court in New York certified a class action lawsuit that involves residents of Petersburgh, New York who claim exposure to varying levels of the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is in the class of chemicals known as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances and was used to make heat, water, and stain resistant household and commercial products. Think Teflon, Scotchgard, GORE-TEX, fast food wrappers, etc. This is the first class action matter that’s been certified in the State of New York that involves
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Department of Interior in Need of a Paddle? Lawsuit filed over approval of mines in Boundary Waters Canoe Area

A coalition of nine Minnesota businesses and an environmental group filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C. against the U.S. Department of the Interior challenging its decision to reinstate federal mineral rights leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near Ely, Minnesota. The lawsuit alleges the Department of the Interior exceeded its authority and poses an immediate threat to businesses, the environment and the region’s outdoor recreation economy. The plaintiffs include four
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CDC Reports Outbreaks Associated With Untreated Recreational Water on the Rise: An Overview of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) is a weekly epidemiological digest for the United States published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is considered by many practicing in the public health sector to be the primary publication for sharing public health information and recommendations that have been received by the CDC from state health departments. Recently, The Environmental Law Monitor reported on the May 18, 2018 CDC Report: “Outbreaks Associated with Treated Recreational Water – United
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City of Newark – Facing Citizen Suit Over Allegations of Elevated Lead Levels In Drinking Water

On June 26, 2018, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a New Jersey based teachers’ caucus joined forces to file a lawsuit in federal district court alleging, among other things, that the City of Newark’s water system contains dangerous elevated levels of lead that’s putting the health of residents in the community at risk. As many of our readers are aware, NRDC is the nonprofit organization that brought a citizen suit (along with the ACLU) under the SDWA against the City of Flint, MI and other defendants for
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New York Federal Court Rejects Landowner’s Claimed Right to Drill, But Will Challenges Continue?

A federal court in New York recently dismissed a landowner’s claim that the state’s ban on hydraulic fracturing violated the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment and due process rights. In Morabito v. The State of New York, et. al., the plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Western District of New York, asserting that the state’s decision to prohibit high-volume fracking activities constituted a regulatory taking and/or arbitrary and irrational restriction on plaintiff’s property rights. The plaintiffs, who are farmers, own various properties in western New York atop
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Kivalina and AEP Strike Again – Oakland and San Francisco Climate Change Suits Dismissed

By Order dated June 25, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuits filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland seeking compensation from five of the world’s largest energy producers for the costs of adapting to climate change allegedly caused in part by these companies’ sale of fossil fuels. This dismissal brings to an end, at least temporarily, to two of the fourteen second-generation climate change lawsuits that have been filed
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New York State Requires Manufacturers of Household Cleaning Products to Disclose Chemical Ingredients. Heads Up! This Includes Nanomaterials.

On June 6, 2018, the State of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) launched a new initiative to require the public disclosure of chemical ingredients in household cleaning products. The cited authority for this program derives from Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Article 35 and New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 659. The statute and regulations authorize the commissioner of NYSDEC to require manufacturers of domestic and commercial cleaning products distributed, sold, or offered for sale (including over the internet) in the state
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Old MacDonald Had a Gas Station — EPA Requires Increased Quantities of Ethanol in National GasolineSupply, but Producers are Skeptical

The Environmental Protection Agency has increased the total amount of ethanol and biodiesel that must be used in 2019 to 19.88 billion gallons under the Proposed Renewable Fuel Standard for 2019, a 3 percent increase over 2018 levels. Fifteen billion gallons of the blended gasoline will be traditional ethanol, made from crops like corn and soy, while the remainder will be composed of biofuels and biodiesel. This change was bolstered by agricultural and renewable fuel lobbyists, who argue that American
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