It’s About Time—New York PSC’s New Approval Timeline

Historically, the process to complete large scale utility projects has gone at a deliberate pace. Beyond the traditional issues with any new construction or large scale project, delays were attributed to the extended approval process required by the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). However, on April 3, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, which “aimed at improving the siting and construction of large-scale renewable energy projects in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective …

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Environmental Disclosures: This Looks Like a Job for … the SEC?

$600 Billion. That is the amount of money directly attributed to weather events brought on or exacerbated by climate change over the past five years. Now a coalition of states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and led by California (the Coalition), are pushing for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require U.S. companies to disclose their financial risks posed by climate change.

As stated in a press release by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, “Rising temperatures are …

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Dairy Milk, Farms, and PFAS—Issues Recently Highlighted in Hearing Before SAAS

Dairy farmers—particularly in Maine, but in the Midwest as well—have recently made headlines because of alleged PFAS contamination on farms and in dairy milk. The U.S. senators from Maine are bringing to light farm contamination in their states, and it is likely to gain traction in other agriculture-heavy jurisdictions, particularly the Midwest.

“Over the past several years, we have seen family farms in Maine affected by PFAS. In 2016, a dairy farmer in Arundel, Maine, discovered that the milk produced on his farm contains some …

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The EPA’s Campaign to Transform WOTUS from Ephemeral to Resolute

If we are being honest, when it comes to the Clean Water Act, “navigable” is just one of those words that makes us all a bit tongue tied—not just because it’s tricky to pronounce, but because it is even more vexing to define, especially when we look to make sense of the regulatory definition of “waters of the United States.” Unpacking the definition of navigable and federally protected waters has indeed been the perennial work of scholars, judges, lawyers, and politicians alike since the CWA’s …

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Can “Microrobots” Help Humans Battle Microplastics Pollution?

The presence of microplastics—fragments of plastic smaller than 5 millimeters—is ever increasing across all types of environments, from cities to waterways. Moreover, microplastics do not biodegrade easily; the process can take hundreds of years. The ubiquity of durable microplastics in our environment, and the challenges we face in removing them due to their small size, has resulted in a significant amount of research intended to assess the ways by which microplastics can be eliminated.

A recent study in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the …

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Air Quality Control Board Votes to Cut Emissions in Southern California

Southern California is known for its beautiful beaches, perfect weather, and for being the smoggiest region in the nation. On May 7, 2021, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) passed the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule (Warehouse Rule) in a 9-4 vote in an effort to combat Southern California’s smog problem. The Warehouse Rule is essentially a program that will focus on reducing the exposure of nitrogen oxide and diesel particulate matter in the air over the next three years. Specifically, the Warehouse Rule …

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Supreme Court Holds CERCLA Contribution Requires Resolution of a CERCLA-Specific Liability

As previously reported by the Environmental Law Monitor, in January 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in the matter of Guam v. United States, to resolve a long-standing circuit split on an issue related to CERCLA’s settlement and contribution provisions.

By way of background, the United States and Guam have been embroiled in a decades-long dispute over the Ordot Dump, which was constructed by the United States Navy in the 1940s, and served as a toxic military waste deposit …

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The Methane Moment

On April 28, 2021, the U.S. Senate voted 52-42 to restore regulations on the oil and gas industry to address methane emissions. Specifically, the regulation will seek to limit methane gas leaks relating to drilling operations by establishing stricter monitoring requirements and requiring corrective actions when leaks are detected. While methane only represents 10 percent of the United States greenhouse gas emissions, it is more efficient at trapping radiation than other greenhouse gases. Due to this characteristic, methane is viewed as a key contributor to …

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President Biden Continues to Act on Climate Change with Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk

On May 20, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on climate-related financial risk, in which the new president directs the federal government to develop a strategy to curb the risk of climate change on public and private financial assets in the United States. The order notes that it is the policy of the administration to “advance consistent, clear, intelligible, comparable, and accurate disclosure of climate-related financial risk” and directs certain federal agencies to incorporate climate risk and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into …

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ATSDR Releases Final Guidance on Perfluoroalkyls

As promised in our November 2018 blog post, “ATSDR PFAS Update: No Final Report Yet, But Further Guidance on Minimal Risk Levels and Drinking Water Concentrations,” we are providing an update on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s recent release of its final Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls (Tox. Profile). This represents the ATSDR’s final guidance on these substances.

The purpose of the toxicological profile is to “succinctly characterize[] the toxicologic and adverse health effects information for these toxic substances…,” which are developed under …

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