EPA’s COVID-19 “Enforcement Discretion” Policy Challenged in Suit Commenced by Nine States’ Attorneys General

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) continues to face backlash over its policy relaxing certain monitoring and reporting obligations under various federal environmental laws amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week nine states’ attorneys general sued the U.S. EPA in the Southern District of New York in the action titled State of New York et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency et al., No. 1:20-cv-03714, in which New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia contend the U.S. EPA’s decision …

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1,4-Dioxane is Back in Court, Following a New and Familiar Template for Water Authority Claims

Late last week, a pair of lawsuits on water contamination were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of local water authorities. Back in the news is the emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane, which made headlines in late 2017 in a related and similar groundbreaking lawsuit that sought to recover costs against major manufacturers for the design, construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of water treatment facilities and equipment required to remove the 1,4-dioxane from drinking water wells. The same …

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PCB Suit Under Federal Waste Statute Gets Court Go-Ahead

In a decision that may invigorate the plaintiffs’ bar, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The decision in Liebhart provides the plaintiffs with a simpler path to an award of damages in their case and allows the plaintiffs to litigate their other state-law based claims in federal court.

PCBs have flame retardant characteristics and were used in a variety of products, including electrical equipment, hydraulic oils, paints, and caulks. However, PCBs have been …

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