EPA Bans Use of Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

On August 18, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a pre-publication notice of a final rule banning the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food in order to better protect human health. Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide used for a number of agricultural and non-food applications. It has been linked to numerous health risks including neurodevelopmental risks to infants and children, and harm to agricultural workers who work with the pesticide.

Per the final rule, the EPA announced the revocation of chlorpyrifos “tolerances”—which establish the …

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The Green Bank—Part of New York’s Mission to Become a National Leader in Clean Energy

In 2013, New York State set course to become a national leader in clean energy. Later declaring a mission to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030, New York developed an aggressive and robust plan to radically change energy production, transportation, and consumption in the state. New York dedicated itself to upgrading its energy infrastructure, promoting renewable energy portfolios to consumers, and most importantly investing in large scale-renewable projects.

Though not an invention of New York, a unique piece of its clean energy plan was …

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Fracking Ban Defeated in New Mexico

On Aug. 3, 2021, Chief U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson rejected the effort to prevent hydraulic fracturing (fracking)—the method of extracting oil and natural gas by injecting high-pressure fluid into subterranean rock formations—near archeological and cultural sites in the Mancos Shale geological formation in New Mexico, determining that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had done sufficient environmental review to back up its decision and that it didn’t predetermine it would approve drilling permits.

In rejecting the injunction sought by the Sierra Club and …

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Ethylene Oxide—Back in the Spotlight with 150 New Lawsuits

Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a chemical long used to sterilize products that cannot be sterilized with steam, such as medical equipment and surgical devices. One of 187 hazardous air pollutants that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates, EtO has been shown to cause various cancers when inhaled over time. In December 2016, the EPA concluded that EtO gas, a human carcinogen, was more dangerous than previously thought, and updated its risk value. Although the EPA subsequently moved to update rules under the Clean Air Act …

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CERCLA Alert: NJ Petitions to Designate Superfund Status to the Hackensack River

If the hallmarks of Jersey summers are languid days down the Shore, time-off, and welcomed passivity, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection missed the memo. Late last month, the NJDEP roused potential responsible parties from their summer slumber with its unexpected announcement that the state intends to aggressively pursue the lower Hackensack River as a federal Superfund site in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. The NJDEP’s mid-summer announcement puts past and present industrial players throughout the Garden State on …

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CA Department of Insurance Takes Aggressive Action to Help Mitigate Against Climate Change Environmental Risks

In recent years, the effects of climate change have greatly impacted many California residents. Climate change events are a growing concern along the West Coast, where property development has greatly increased the number of risks exposed to wildfires. Among other challenges, Californians are struggling with higher insurance costs due to climate change impacts.

In response to California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s climate insurance law, Senate Bill 30, Chapter 614, Statutes of 2018, which formed a group of environmental advocates, researchers and insurance experts, the California …

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Pennsylvania to Require Radiological Testing of Leachate at Landfills

On July 26, 2021, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that his administration will soon require that all Pennsylvania landfills—including those that receive oil and gas waste from fracking—conduct quarterly testing of leachate (liquid generated during waste decomposition) for radiological contaminants. Gov. Wolf commented “[w]e take seriously our responsibility and duty as an environmental steward … This additional requirement will improve public confidence that public drinking water and our precious natural resources are being appropriately protected.”

While landfills are currently required to test leachate for various …

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House Takes Steps to Require EPA Regulation of PFAs

On July 21, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the PFAS Action Act of 2021 (Act) that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to regulate two per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances. PFAS are commonly known as “forever chemicals” due to their ability to persist in the environment, including drinking water supply systems, the human body, and in animal populations as well. The use of PFAS chemicals has been widespread throughout the world as a result of their resistance to …

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Homeowner Associations in New York to Make Way for Solar Power

Homeowner Associations (HOAs) are given broad authority in New York State to enforce covenants, conditions, and restrictions in efforts to manage a community of homes. Absent an unlawful purpose or improper internal procedures, HOAs have been largely permitted to develop and manage their properties as they deem fit. This broad authority included an HOA’s ability to prohibit a homeowner from installing a solar power system on his or her property. However, as New York continues to adopt various green initiatives, this is set to change.…

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Maine Enacts Groundbreaking, Strict PFAS Law to Take Effect in January 2023

On July 15, 2021, Maine became the first state to ban per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from most products by the year 2030. Under the law, PFAS means “substances that include any member of the class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom”—a class of thousands of chemicals.

Maine’s new law titled “An Act to Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution,” sponsored by Representative Gramlich, was adopted by the Maine legislature as an emergency measure (which does not require the …

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