Filling up a glass with drinking water from kitchen tap

EPA ‘Deletes’ Cybersecurity Safe Drinking Water Initiative

In the 1970’s, a series of tests of community water systems across the country led to some disturbing findings; varied standards of water containment, transmission, and handling were resulting in substantial health risks to more than a third of tested sources. In response, Congress passed the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1974 (SWDA), a landmark legislation setting basic standards for drinking water for the more than 150,000 municipal water sources, nationwide.

Over the ensuing decades, the SWDA has been expanded and updated with the times …

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EPA Offices, Washington DC

Lawsuits Claim EPA’s EtO Rules are Too Little, Too Late

Following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2016 finding that ethylene oxide (EtO), a highly effective chemical routinely used to sterilize medical devices and equipment, was significantly more hazardous than previously understood, individuals and shareholders began filing lawsuits against various EtO-using entities throughout the United States with no end in sight. At the end of last month, however, it was the EPA that became the legal target of furious environmental justice and health advocates acting on behalf of the communities the EPA is tasked to …

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on an flat roof there cooling air conditioning

EPA Announces Latest Actions to Address Hydrofluorocarbons

Nearly one year after ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Environmental Protection Agency announced two additional actions to further this initiative under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM).  The Kigali Amendment is an international agreement aimed at phasing down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs”) by 80-85 percent by 2047. It also seeks to avoid up to .5 °C of global warming by 2100.

By way of background, HFCs are used in applications …

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Close up view of railroad, transport background

Executive Order Aims to Increase Oversight of East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment Response

Just before 9 p.m. ET on February 3, a 150-car, 9,000 foot long, Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, a quarter mile west of the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line. Twenty of the affected cars contained hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol, ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate and isobutylene. Some cars caught fire, others spilled their loads into an adjacent ditch that feeds Sulphur Run, a stream that joins Leslie Run, which eventually empties into the Ohio River.

Since the derailment, the Federal government …

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New York City Planning Commission Approves Zoning Changes Aimed at Meeting City’s Climate Goals

On September 11, 2023, the New York City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the first of several rezoning proposals from Mayor Eric Adams aimed at reducing carbon emissions to reach the city’s climate goals. Specifically, New York has set the year 2050 as the target date by which it hopes to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 percent. The rezoning proposal, called the “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality,” includes 17 citywide zoning changes that are designed to remove “barriers to greener energy, buildings, and water …

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Close-up side shot of hands shows microplastic waste contaminated with the seaside sand. Microplastics are contaminated in the sea. Concept of water pollution and global warming.

Microplastics: Nurdle Law and Regulation Update

By Joshua Fine, Manager, Environmental Claims, Crum & Forster and George Buermann, Partner, Goldberg Segalla LLP

Seventy-nine percent of plastic waste ends up in landfills or the environment, much of which eventually ends up in our oceans. A March 8, 2023 study, estimated the average amount of small plastics in the ocean surface layer using available data on floating ocean plastics from 1979 through 2019 at 171 trillion plastic particles, mostly microplastics, weighing at about 2.5 million tons. Nurdles are “microplastic resin pellets” generally under …

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Black frying pans with a non-stick teflon coating on black background

CPSC Sets its Sights on PFAS in Consumer Products, Bringing Future Regulation into Focus

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently published a request for information (RFI) on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) “used in commerce or potentially used in consumer products,” and as directed toward information on “potential exposures associated with the use of PFAS in consumer products, and potential human health effects associated with exposures to PFAS from their use in consumer products.”

This RFI concerns “consumer products” which includes products used in, or around, the home or school that are subject to CPSC jurisdiction under the Consumer …

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A view of the smoking chimneys of a coal-fired power plant against the backdrop of a dramatic sky with clouds.

Power Companies File Suit against EPA’s Enforcement of Coal Ash Rule

In a world of solar power, green energy, and electric cars, it is sometimes surprising to consider how much of a political hot potato good ol’ fashioned coal remains.

There are more than 300 coal-fired power plants still active in the United States, annually producing roughly 100 tons of coal combustion residuals (CCR), or “coal ash.” This coal ash has historically and routinely been found to contain hazardous compounds — such as arsenic, chromium, lead, and mercury — which are dangerous to plants and humans.…

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Maine State Flag in Blue Sky

Maine’s Difficulties Implementing its PFAS Law Could Foreshadow Similar Issues Nationwide

Maine recently delayed the January 2024 implementation of a first-of-its-kind law requiring manufacturers to disclose PFAS in products sold in the state, effectively banning PFAS in most such products by 2030. 

Manufacturers of products containing PFAS now have until January 2025 to report them. Meanwhile, Maine also created two reporting exemptions — one for businesses employing 25 or fewer people, and one when a sale involves a used product or component.

In response to the State Legislature’s action, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) suspended …

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Lithium ore

A Modern-Day Gold Rush – World’s Largest Lithium Mine Discovered in Nevada

A lithium mine has been discovered within the McDermitt Caldera, located along the Nevada-Oregon border. This finding is significant in that it may hold between 20 million and 40 million metric tons of this rare metal, which is nearly double the current record of approximately 23 million metric tons of lithium found this summer beneath a Bolivian salt flat. To put the magnitude of this finding further into perspective, the McDermitt Caldera is approximately 28 miles long and 22 miles wide.

Lithium is a chemical …

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