Category Archives: Litigation

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 [...]

One Week Left to 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/ . You have until August 8 to vote. Thank you!

Oral Arguments Held in PhRMA v. Alameda Co., California

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On August 28, 2013 the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California upheld the Alameda County Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance (“the Ordinance”), the first pharmaceutical extended producer responsibility law in the United States. Three pharmaceutical industry associations brought a dormant Commerce Clause challenge to the Ordinance, but the court held that the Ordinance treats all drug companies alike and does not discriminate against those located outside of the county. PhRMA filed an appeal on September 12, 2013 and last Friday, July 11, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Read more [...]

Supreme Court Limits EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule

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The United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 overturning part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPAs) permitting program for greenhouse gas emissions. The opinion in the case of Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA determined that EPA had gone beyond its limits in requiring stationary sources to obtain air pollution permits and install pollution controls. The court also determined that part of the regulation does not comply with the Clean Air Act (CAA), as EPA revised numeric thresholds for greenhouse gases that forced power plants, industrial facilities, and factories to obtain a permit. Read more [...]

King County Adopts Fee Schedule for Drug Take Back Program

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The King County Board of Health adopted a fee schedule as part of the requirements of its Secure Medicine Return Regulations. The scheduled fees include an annual operating fee, as well as plan review fees for: • Review of a proposed stewardship plan; • Resubmittal of a proposed stewardship plan; • Review of changes to an approved stewardship plan; • Submittal of an updated stewardship plan at least every four years; and • Review of any petition for approval to use alternative final disposal technologies. As we previously mentioned here, the total cost for each of 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 [...]

Securities Law Alert: SEC Issues Statement on D.C. Court Of Appeals Decision on Conflict Minerals Rule: First Reports Due by June 2, 2014, as Scheduled

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On April 29, 2014 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s(SECs) Division of Corporation Finance (the “Division”) issued a statement providing guidance on the decision in the case National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. SEC, et al., No. 13-5252 (D.C. Cir. April 14, 2014.) The case challenged SEC’s “Conflict Mineral Rules” (Section 13(p)(1) of the Exchange Act and Rule 13p-1 thereunder). The case left some questions about the first reporting period; however the Division’s statement clarified that all reports for the first reporting period Read more [...]

Supreme Court Rules EPA Did Not Violate CAA With Cross-State Air Rule

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The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Environmental Protection Agency et al. v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., et al and American Lung Association et al., v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., et al.  The cases focuses on efforts of Congress and EPA to address the problem of air pollution emitted in one state, which has caused harm in other states.  As part of the Clean Air Act (CAA), Congress included a Good Neighbor Provision.  This provision calls on States to prohibit in-state sources “from emitting any air pollutant which will…contribute significantly to downwind states 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 [...]

Maine Proposes Four Chemicals for Priority Designation

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The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed four rules that would designate cadmium, formaldehyde, mercury and arsenic as priority chemicals. A public comment period on the proposed rules expired January 31, 2014. The proposed rules would implement Maine’s Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products law, which aims to protect the health, safety and welfare of children by reducing their exposure to chemicals of high concern by providing substitutes when feasible. Maine has already listed bisphenol A (BPA) and nonylphenol/nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NP/NPE) as priority chemicals. This Read more [...]