Chevron Deference on Life Support?

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 15 issued a unanimous reversal of a lower appellate court, and in which, ruling against the federal government, struck down a Department of Health and Human Services rule significantly reducing Medicare prescription reimbursements to hospitals traditionally serving low-income patients.

Although the 2018 rule did not, on its face, seem to have anything to do with environmental rules or regulations, environmental lawyers, activists, and probably the Environmental Protection Agency itself closely watched the progress of American Hospital Association v. Becerra

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New Report Offers Solutions for Low-Income Californians to Switch to EVs

The Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment (CLEE) at Berkeley Law last month­, in conjunction with the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law, ­issued Driving Equity, a new reportaimed at presenting important policy solutions to make California’s switch to electric vehicles more realistic for lower income citizens. Topping their list of priorities was offering more rebates and incentives for lower-income car owners, enhancing funding and groundwork for charging stations, and offering financial assistance to greater outreach for community-based …

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Microplastics Found for the First Time in Freshly Fallen Snow

In a study published last week, researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand identified microplastics in freshly fallen snow samples collected from 19 different sites across the Ross Island region of Antarctica. According to the authors, this finding, which is the first evidence of microplastics in Antarctic snow, “adds to the growing body of literature regarding microplastics as a ubiquitous airborne pollutant…”

Of particular import, the authors note that Antarctica, due to its inaccessibility, extreme environmental conditions, and barriers such as the Antarctic …

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New York is Ready to Attack Crypto Mining

On June 3, 2022, the New York State Senate passed the first bill in the country that bans certain cryptocurrency (crypto) mining operations. This bill, passed by the New York State Assembly in April 2022, now goes to Governor Kathy Hochul for her signature. The bill imposes a two-year moratorium on crypto mining operations that “require proof-of-work authentication methods to validate block chain transaction.” The bill would also require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to prepare a “generic” environmental impact statement on cryptocurrency mining operations using proof-of-work authentication …

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Plaintiffs in PFAS Food-Packaging Case Met With Motion to Dismiss

A few weeks ago, our blog reported on a number of complaints filed against some of the most recognizable fast food chains, arising from alleged PFAS-containing food wrappers. The alleged concern is that PFAS contained in the wrapper, for example, will migrate into the food itself, creating exposure through consumption of the food. Now, a fast-food chain named in one of the suits is hitting back. A few days ago, the chain filed a motion to dismiss the proposed class action, proffering a number of …

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State tort damages loom for companies plausibly connected to climate change

In April, various California communities moved one step closer to holding energy companies liable for damage to public infrastructure allegedly caused by climate change.  The communities claimed this damage occurred due to the companies’ use of and advocacy for fossil fuels despite the companies’ understanding of those fuels’ negative environmental impacts.

Local governments argue that compensation of climate-related infrastructure damage, for which they bear the cost, is a parochial concern belonging in state court. In County of San Mateo v. Chevron, the Ninth Circuit—like …

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World’s Next Environmental Superhero is a Plastic-Eating Enzyme

If you aren’t toting a reusable water bottle, bamboo straw, or canvas grocery bag, news of a plastic-eating enzyme may not resonate as revolutionary. Nevertheless, plastic waste ranks up there as one of the most pressing environmental problems we face today. There has been little hope in sight of how to shrink the colossal amount of plastic waste—measured in billions of tons—accumulating in landfills across the globe, plaguing our ecosystems, and generating environmental contamination lawsuits. Last month, however, researchers at The University of Texas at …

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Colorado Drilling Project Stopped in its [F]racks!

On May 19, 2022, a Colorado federal district court judge, the Honorable Marcia S. Krieger, issued an opinion and order remanding action, preventing—for now, at least—an expansive fracking plan in Western Colorado from going forward even though it had previously been approved by the United States Bureau of Land Management, United States Department of the Interior, and United States Forest Service (collectively, Agencies) during the Trump administration. Specifically, the court vacated the Agencies’ approval of the North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan (Plan) for hydraulic …

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California’s Clean Air Act Waiver Targeted in New Lawsuit

Ohio, along with sixteen other states, sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday last week, over its March 14, 2022 decision to reinstate a waiver allowing the nation’s most populous state California, under its Advanced Clean Cars Program, to enact tougher vehicle emission standards than those set by the federal government.[1][2]

In 1966, California enacted the nation’s first tailpipe emissions standards in light of its then-severe pollution problems. That was followed in 1970 by the creation of the Clean Air Act, which gave …

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Study Finds Increasing Chemical Exposure in Pregnant Women

A study led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco and Johns Hopkins, and published in Environmental Science & Technology has found widespread exposures to prevalent and understudied chemicals in a diverse sample of pregnant women in the United States. The researchers studied urine samples from 171 pregnant women from California, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and Puerto Rico who were a part of the National Institutes of Health Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program, and measured for 89 different …

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