Category Archives: Litigation

Significant Expansion of Judicial Review Under the Clean Water Act

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Today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedent-setting decision in Hawkes v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, holding that jurisdictional determinations issued under the Clean Water Act are subject to immediate judicial review. Under the Clean Water Act, the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters requires a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (other types of discharges require a permit from the United States Environmental Protection Agency or its state-agency designates). Although on its face seemingly straightforward, the question [...]Read more

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment to Georgia Power

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed today the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to Georgia Power in the Ward Transformer Superfund Site litigation.  While this opinion focuses on whether Georgia Power’s sale of used transformers to Ward Transformer constituted an arrangement for disposal of PCB-containing oil, the court’s analysis includes a number of findings related to arranger liability generally.  This opinion is the first Court of Appeals decision to address the test for arranger liability post Burlington, and may impact a number of other pending CERCLA cases and enforcement [...]Read more

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