Category Archives: Environmental Review (CEQA/NEPA)

EPA Opens Environmental Crimes Office in North Dakota

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened a Criminal Investigation Division (CID) office in North Dakota at the end of July. North Dakota has seen its oil production increase to over 1 million barrels a day over the last decade. The Bakken shale, located in the western part of the state, holds almost 11 billion barrels of oil, and production is increasing. EPA’s office is staffed by four agents who plan to investigate operations in the state’s western oil patch, ranging from drilling rigs to disposal sites and everything in between. EPA’s closest offices have been in Montana and Colorado [...]Read more

California Supreme Court: Granting License to Ignore CEQA?

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The California Supreme Court recently issued a ruling in the case of Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court (Wal-Mart), which raised the question does the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) apply to local voter initiatives if the government adopts the initiative without placing it on the ballot for a special election. Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance (TJSBA) filed the suit arguing that the City of Sonora, California violated CEQA went it came to approval of a Wal-Mart expansion project without conducting a CEQA review. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected [...]Read more

Vote For Us For Best Legal Blog

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The American Bar Association (ABA) is accepting entries for their 100 best legal blogs. If you enjoy the content we produce, we ask that you please take the time to submit our blog for consideration. You can do so by visiting their site: http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/blawg100_submit/. Thank you!

Senators Ask EPA to End Hydraulic Fracturing Investigation

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U.S. Republican Senators David Vitter (R-LA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. informing him that they view the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG’s) recent announcement of plans to conduct research into states’ ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing and its potential threat on water sources as “wholly inappropriate,” and request that the investigation end immediately. The senators believe the planned research is outside of the scope of the EPA OIG’s core mission, [...]Read more

EPA to Conduct Reviews at Superfund Sites Across Mid-Atlantic Region

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they will be reviewing Superfund sites across the Mid-Atlantic region this year, specifically mentioning sites in Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The reviews are conducted every five years to determine if the actions being taken are still protecting human health and the environment. The scope of the reviews includes inspecting cleanup technologies; examining monitoring and operating data; reviewing maintenance records; and determining if new regulatory requirements have been put in place since EPA’s original cleanup decision. [...]Read more

EPA to Review Consent Decrees To Ensure Compliance

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EPA is increasing oversight of its open consent decrees. First as part of EPA’s FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, the agency has set the goal of maintaining reviews of the overall compliance status of 100 percent of open consent decrees by 2018.  EPA claims that it reviewed 91 percent in FY 2013, a drop from 100 percent in 2009. While EPA may have reviewed most consent decrees, it did not address not all instances of noncompliance, and likely does not have the means to do so. While some may hope that lax enforcement continues, the petroleum refining sector (at minimum), should take action now to [...]Read more

Landowners Sue Governor Cuomo to Move On Hydraulic Fracturing

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The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York filed a suit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in an effort to force the state to issue an environmental impact statement (EIS) on hydraulic fracturing. The EIS is required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The plaintiffs request that the court compel the state DEC to complete the EIS, as it will determine whether New York will allow hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The suit was filed in the state Supreme Court. [...]Read more

Congressman Dingell Retiring

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Former Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) has announced that he will not seek re-election later this year. Dingell’s retirement, at the age of 87, will end a nearly 60 year career on Capitol Hill, which makes him the longest serving member of Congress in United States history. Dingell began his career in 1955, as he succeeded his father. His legacy will include his work on the Endangered Species Act, amending the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and many other environmental laws. Another legacy Dingell will leave is [...]Read more

Longtime Congressman Henry Waxman to Retire

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Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) will retire after four decades of serving the country as a member of Congress. Waxman served as a leader for the Democratic party on many health and environmental issues over the four decades, including: universal health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, cost of generic drugs, tobacco regulation, air and water quality standards, pesticide regulation, and climate change efforts. His leadership efforts earned him the spot of Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from January 2009 – January 2011. If you asked Republicans, they would say Rep. Waxman [...]Read more

Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse Releases Alternative Assessment Guide

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The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2), an association of state, local, and tribal governments, has released the IC2 Alternatives Assessment Guide in an effort to help businesses, governments and any other interested parties in evaluating alternatives to products containing toxic chemicals. The goal of the Guide is to help make safer products and reduce the role toxic chemicals play on human health and the environment. IC2 worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), companies and others in preparing the Guide. Washington State Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon said the [...]Read more