Pennsylvania Appellate Court Shapes Public Notification Requirements for Hydraulic Fracking Operations

Previously, we reported the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Marcellus Shale Coalition v. Department of Environmental Protection, et. al., where the court decided to preserve an injunction against the Department of Environmental Protection of Pennsylvania (DEP) to prevent the enforcement of various new rules pertaining to hydraulic fracturing operations. However, one of DEP’s proposed rules that the PA Supreme Court did not address was the public notification requirement, which, as we predicted, would be scrutinized by the lower courts. In the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s most recent decision related to challenges by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, some of DEP’s proposed public notice requirements were upheld; however, the court also
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Trump Administration Continues Rollback of Obama-Era CO2 Regulations

On August 21, 2018, the Trump administration released a proposed CO2 plan that will permit states to establish emission standards for coal power plants rather than encouraging their closure. The new proposal will provide coal companies with a strong financial incentive to keep their plants in operation, rather than the Obama administration’s goal of replacing them with power plants using renewable energy.  According to the EPA, the proposed rule, named the Affordable Clean Energy (rule), contains several key components:  a
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EPA’s Slow March Towards Federal Regulation of PFAS

In May, we reported on developments involving a case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania involving water contamination and exposure to per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS is a family of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, and PFNA (and many others). The chemicals are commonly found in many consumer products, including stick-proof food packaging, waterproof clothing, and non-stick cookware. The plaintiffs in the PA case alleged that aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) used for firefighting drills at the Naval
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$289 Million Verdict for Plaintiff In Roundup Litigation

Well, it finally happened: in the first glyphosate exposure case to go to a jury trial, a San Francisco, California jury awarded a former school groundskeeper $289 million dollars. Back in June, we reported that DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, a groundskeeper for the school district in Benicia, California, had filed suit alleging that workplace exposure to glyphosate-containing products Roundup and Ranger Pro had led him to develop lymphoma. His case went to trial in late June, and last Friday, the jury
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Ninth Circuit Bans Use of Pesticide Chlorpyrifos in Agriculture

On August 9, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ordered that the EPA ban a widely used pesticide called chlorpyrifos within 60 days. The court found that EPA had failed to determine that chlorpyrifos was safe.  The decision marked the end – albeit perhaps only temporarily – to a decade-long battle between the pesticide and agriculture industry on one side and environmental and public health groups on the other. By way of background, EPA, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
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AIRROC & EECMA Climate Change Symposium

Join Goldberg Segalla’s John F. Parker on September 6, 2018 at the Climate Change Symposium in Philadelphia, PA hosted by AIRROC and EECMA. This one-day symposium will cover the insurance risks associated with the failure of climate change and servere weather adaptation and how it relates to the new wave of climate change related lawsuits filed against the oil and gas industry. John will be part of a panel discussion titled “How States, the International Community, Cities and Businesses are Responding to Climate
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Temperatures And Enforcement Actions On The Rise In The Garden State

New Jersey state officials are moving forward with plans to increase environmental enforcement lawsuits. In what he described as a “new day,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the filing of six separate lawsuits on August 1, 2018. In a statement, Attorney General Grewal said “We’re sending a message to every company across the state: if you pollute our natural resources, we’re going to make you pay.” Three of the lawsuits are aimed at recovering damages for the harm caused by
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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Government’s Request for Stay in Climate Change Suit Brought by Minors

On July 30, 2018, the United States Supreme Court denied the federal government’s request for a stay in the climate change lawsuit brought by 21 children, pending in the U.S.D.C. for the District of Oregon, known as the Juliana matter. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2015 against President Obama and numerous federal agencies, alleging that the executive branch contributed to climate change in violation of the children’s rights under the Fifth and Ninth Amendments to the Constitution and an
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NYS DEC Adopts First Major Update to State’s Environmental Quality Review Regulations in 20 Years

On June 28, 2018, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) promulgated revisions to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). These are the first substantial revisions to SEQRA in over 20 years.The amendments go into effect beginning January 1, 2019 and will apply to all pending and future actions. Under SEQRA, actions are classified into three main designations: Type I, Type II, and Unlisted. The new amendments provide major changes to the types of projects that fall under the Type I and Type II classifications. The new
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New Class Certifications in Toxic Tort / Environmental Litigation May Be Indicative Of A Larger Trend

It is well-known in toxic tort and environmental legal circles that plaintiffs have inherent difficulties when seeking to certify a class of “injured” plaintiffs. Individualized issues of causation, exposure, and damages pervade just about all cases — and courts have long recognized this. Our blog posted recently on the medical monitoring PFOA class action in upstate New York that was certified in early July 2018 (i.e., Burdick v. Tonoga). That case is a clear outlier as it may be the
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