Majority Views on Roundup Toxicity Challenged by Recent Study

As the next bellwether glyphosate case against Roundup producer Monsanto begins a bifurcated trial on February 25 that places science and causation evidence in the forefront, last week, the journal Mutation Research published a study challenging the prevailing opinions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Food Safety Authority, the European Chemicals Agency, Australia, New Zealand, and German BfR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) which all find that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe and not carcinogenic. Notably, three
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A Trade Off For Clean Water

On February 6, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its updated Water Quality Trading Policy (Updated Policy). The Updated Policy is an effort to respond to a growing environmental crisis — the over-enrichment of freshwater and coastal ecosystems with nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus). Sources of nutrients include agriculture run-off, sewage treatment plants, and urban and suburban storm water. Reducing certain nutrients in water is one of the nation’s most challenging environmental issues. At its most basic principle, “[w]ater
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EPA Releases First-of-its-Kind Nationwide PFAS Action Plan

Earlier today, the EPA’s Acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, announced a nationwide PFAS Action Plan. An EPA official described the plan as the “most comprehensive action plan for a chemical of concern ever undertaken by the agency.” The plan describes actions that are under way and slated for future action. In particular, the plan discusses: moving forward with evaluating the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS; beginning the steps to designate the chemicals as “hazardous substances” 
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Federal Study Provides Further Evidence Of PFAS’ Omnipotence, Adding To Pre-Existing Concern

It’s no secret that more and more states are investigating PFAS chemicals to determine whether regulation is wise. The U.S. Government has been grappling with the same issues. Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), including PFAS, are of great interest to regulators, water treatment utilities, the general public and scientists. When considering, for example, 2016 data collected by federal scientists that estimates that up to 110 million people are served by water supplies with PFAS, investigation is important. As we are
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Business Climate Changes for Oil and Gas Industry in the West

Despite booming operations due to shale gas discoveries in recent years, the business climate for the oil and gas industry in the western United States is suffering because of recent political changes and public concerns over, well, climate change. We start in New Mexico, where Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham inked an executive order in January calling for the state to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, becoming the latest newly minted Democratic
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You’ve Got a Friend in Me — U.S. EPA Finds Ally in Colorado Automobile Dealers Association

As the United States Environmental Protection Agency continues its battle with the state of California over fuel efficiency requirements for new vehicles, a new area of conflict has opened: the state of Colorado. California is the only state that has a waiver under the federal Clean Air Act to impose its own vehicle fuel standards. States without waivers can approve a separate standard as long as it’s identical to California’s. In June 2018, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive
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States Team Up to Bring Air Quality Lawsuit Against the EPA

On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, the Attorney Generals of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, along with the City of New York, joined forces to bring a lawsuit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency and its acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler. The coalition is led by Letitia James, the newly elected Attorney General of New York. The lawsuit aims to force the EPA to take steps to limit air pollution. James was quoted saying the New York
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Now In My Backyard: PA and NJ Federal Courts Grant Right of Eminent Domain for Construction of Natural Gas Pipeline

Recently, the United States District Courts for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey almost simultaneously granted a consortium of natural gas companies the right of eminent domain to take steps towards building a pipeline connecting natural gas sources in Pennsylvania to parts of New Jersey. The opinions, which were released within three days of one another, involved challenges by local residents, environmental groups, and governmental agencies who argued that because certificates of approval had not
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Glyphosate Update: Judge Limits Previous Ruling, Allowing More Evidence at Trial Against Monsanto

The next batch of glyphosate-related trials are scheduled to take place over the next two months. As previously reported, Monsanto (which was acquired by Bayer last year) has been mired in toxic tort litigation over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup. The primary allegations center around whether certain exposure to glyphosate is causally related to the plaintiffs’ development of lymphoma. There are more than 9,300 lawsuits currently pending around the country. Early in January, Monsanto scored a victory when U.S. District
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No Straw for You!

On January 1, 2019, the District of Columbia and the State of California became the latest jurisdictions to ban restaurants from offering their customers a plastic straw and other single-use plastics, including coffee stirrers.  Seattle and Vancouver have similar straw bans in place and regulations are now proposed or pending in New York City, Miami Beach, Fort Myers, and Monmouth Beach, among others. The straw ban movement has expanded beyond the U.S. and Canada; the United Kingdom proposed a ban
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