Emerging Contaminants: Testing Finds 1,4-Dioxane Present in Dozens of Household Products

Testing conducted by the group Citizens Campaign for the Environment, which is purportedly pushing for a New York state ban on 1,4-Dioxane in household products, has found the chemical at various levels in “65 of 80” commonly used (and commonly disposed of) high-end and less expensive personal care and detergent products. In conjunction with an uptick in 1,4-Dioxane litigation, these new studies likely provide lawyers, litigants, and other concerned parties a hint at what’s to come. As a refresher, 1,4-Dioxane
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Attention New York City Cooling Tower Owners and Operators: NYC Council Expands Cooling Tower Inspection Reporting Requirements

It has been three years since Legionnaires’ disease made national headlines following an outbreak surrounding the cooling tower of the Opera House Hotel in the South Bronx. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by the waterborne pathogen known as Legionella. It is contracted when susceptible individuals inhale water droplets or mist containing elevated levels of legionella bacteria. New York City has as many as 1,200 towers with evaporative heat exchangers, usually installed on the top of a building as part of its
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Houston-Area Rocked by Second Chemical Fire in Last 20 Days

For the second time in three weeks, black smoke was seen emitting from a Houston-area chemical plant. This time, the fire was at the KMCO plant in Crosby, Texas. The explosion at the KMCO chemical plant happened when a transfer line ignited a tank full of isobutylene. Isobutylene is a highly flammable colorless gas. The fire also spread to a nearby storage building containing solid goods. KMCO is a chemical manufacturing and toll processing company. KMCO’s Crosby facility has batch
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Pennsylvania Appellate Court Grants Landowners New Path to Recover Natural Gas Royalties

In a case of first impression, a Pennsylvania Appellate Court has granted an interlocutory appeal permitting the state’s Attorney General to pursue restitution claims on behalf of landowners who claim that natural gas companies violated the terms of their subsurface mineral lease agreements by improperly withholding royalty payments. In Anadarko Petroleum Corp., et. al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Court recently ruled that the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office can bring royalty claims on behalf of landowners against natural gas
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Breaking: Jury Awards Plaintiff $80 Million in Second Glyphosate Verdict

In the second glyphosate personal injury case to go to a jury trial, a federal jury in the case of Hardeman v. Monsantomatter returned a unanimous verdict of $80 million for the plaintiff against the defendant. The verdict ended a two-part trial over the plaintiff’s allegations that his exposure to glyphosate over a period of approximately 25 years of spraying Roundup on his 56-acre property caused him to develop Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the first phase, which ended last week, the jury
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Environmental Study of Glyphosate Raises Issues Beyond Personal Injury Litigation

Aside from toxic tort litigation pertaining to the use of glyphosate, a recent study has evaluated environmental issues pertaining to the world’s most widely used herbicide. The study, out of McGill University, evaluates whether glyphosate may contribute to environmental phosphorus levels. Phosphorus pollution in U.S. water bodies is a major concern of the EPA, which has stated that nutrient pollution (phosphorus and nitrogen) is one of the country’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems. Phosphorus, although naturally existing, has
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WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke – How Shoud GHG Emissions be Estimated?

On March 19, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling blocking, at least temporarily, approved oil and gas drilling on approximately 300,000 acres in Wyoming. The case, WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke, et al., 16-1724 (D.C. Cir.), was brought by two advocacy groups, Wildlife Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility, which alleged that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated federal law by not sufficiently considering climate change when authorizing oil and gas leasing on federal land in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.
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Partially Stripped

On March 15, 2019, the EPA proposed as a Final Rule a scaled down version of the total ban on the use of methyl chloride in paint stripper. The EPA proposed the Final Rule in connection with its administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under the scaled down version, methyl chloride is banned from all consumer use paint removers but this toxic chemical can still be used for commercial applications provided there is appropriate training. This version of
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BREAKING: Second Jury Finds That Glyphosate Causes Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Approximately seven months after a California state jury found that DeWayne Johnson’s workplace exposure to glyphosate-containing Roundup and Ranger Pro caused him to develop Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, another jury in California, this time in federal court, has arrived at the same conclusion. On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in a trial overseen by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, the jury found that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff Ed Hardeman’s Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, that it was more than
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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Push Nuclear Power Bailout, Further Define Alternative Energy Initiative

Pennsylvania legislators have proposed a new law that would preserve the existence of nuclear power by funding operations via large-scale government subsidies. Lawmakers recently proposed “Keep Powering Pennsylvania” House Bill (HB) 11, which, if passed, would re-classify nuclear power as a qualifying energy resource under Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) and effectively subsidize the entire industry within the state.  As part of Pennsylvania’s larger alternative energy initiative, AEPS was enacted to provide economic development opportunities by increasing the mix of alternative energy generation. The law requires each distribution company in Pennsylvania to supply 18% of its
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