New Legislation Poised to Bolster Growing Electric Vehicle Network

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, electric vehicles (EVs) are not going anywhere.

While currently expected to account for only 5.4% of all new car sales in the U.S. in 2022, some analysts project this percentage will jump to almost 30% by 2030. Recent federal legislation aims to address this ever-expanding demand for a larger, more reliable EV network. On November 15, 2021, Congress enacted, and President Biden signed into law, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

While the $1.2 trillion IJJA certainly offers …

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California Court Hears Plaintiff’s Expert Testimony in Bellwether Baby Food Toxic Metals Case

On February 3, 2022 a Los Angeles County, California judge concluded an early evidentiary hearing centered on the opinions from four of the plaintiff’s experts in one of the nation’s first lawsuits over baby food allegedly contaminated with toxic metals. In what is known in California as a Sargon hearing, the defendants asked the court to evaluate “whether reliable scientific evidence exists that lead, arsenic, and/or mercury (the “heavy metals”) can cause autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and whether lead can cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder …

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Is There Still Lead in My Water?

In December 2021, the EPA announced new lead and copper rule improvements for drinking water. These rule improvements come on the heels of a prior extension of the final rule from June 2021. The final lead and copper rule was extended by the Biden Administration to provide more time for review and for input from communities that have been impacted by lead in drinking water.

According to the EPA, its “new Lead and Copper Rule” better protects children at schools and child care facilities by …

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Mercury No Longer Rising

A decade ago, as part of a concerted effort to reign in industrial pollution, the Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated the mercury and air toxics standards (MATS) pursuant to its authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The purpose, as implied by the title, was to limit the amount of mercury and other toxins released into the air by coal-fired power plants. It was heralded by proponents and environmentalists as a large step forward in reducing the risk of heart attacks and cancer, and …

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EPA Adds Four PFAS to Toxics Release Inventory as Part of the PFAS Roadmap

As our blog recently reported, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an ambitious national strategy to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) over the next three years. Dubbed a “roadmap,” the EPA says that it is centered on three guiding strategies focused on research, restrictions, and remediation: “Increase investments in research, leverage authorities to take action now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination.” As part of this plan, the EPA announced the automatic …

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Microplastics Suits on the Uptick

* This article is a follow-up to our October 2021 post “No Asylum from Microplastics: How Recent Studies May Spark a Flood of Environmental Litigation.”

It was inevitable. As soon as the media mentioned that microplastics were found in babies’ fecal matter—our most innocent demographic—the proverbial gloves came off, and now plastics manufacturers are in the arena sustaining blows from all angles.

Backstory

Truth bomb: It is estimated that the once esteemed and widespread use of plastics in manufacturing, dating back …

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Largest Oil and Gas Lease Sale in U.S. History Scrapped in Federal Court

A year to the day from when President Joseph Biden announced a moratorium on federal leasing for oil and gas drilling just a week after his term began, a federal district court judge for the District of Columbia invalidated the largest oil and gas lease sale—for 2,700 square miles—in U.S. History. The lease, which fetched a combined offer of $192 million from some of the largest energy companies in the world, was for offshore drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico. The November 2021 auction …

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SCOTUS to Clarify Controlling Test for Wetlands under Clean Water Act

On Monday, January 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will clarify the governing standard for determining whether wetlands are “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act in Sackett v. EPA. The court granted certiorari, limited to the following question: “Whether the Ninth Circuit set forth the proper test for determining whether wetlands are ‘waters of the United States’ under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §1362(7).”

The Sackett case involves an Idaho couple who purchased …

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U.S. EPA Cannot Serve as Mere Bystander under the Clean Water Act

On December 29, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held that, under the Clean Water Act, the EPA does not serve as a “mere bystander” in cases where states refuse to or cannot take action to implement water quality standards that protect aquatic life. See Northwest Envtl. Advocates v. United States EPA (2021) U.S. Dist. LEXIS 247673. For many years, the courts have held that while the states have primary responsibility under the Clean Water Act, the EPA itself must …

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Ethanol Industry Suffers After Supreme Court Decision Regarding Year-Round E15

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a significant setback to the ethanol industry on Monday, January 10, 2022, when it refused to review a ban stopping the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from allowing the year-round sale of a higher ethanol blend of gasoline.  

The sale of gasoline with 15% ethanol (E15) is generally banned in the United States during the summer months (June 1 to September 15) because studies show that such a high concentration of ethanol likely contributes to smog and may damage older …

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