Category Archives: Environmental Law

Climate Change Policy Developments in Washington State

Several climate policy initiatives are underway in the Washington State legislature, agencies, and courts.  This alert summarizes these key developments—future alerts will provide greater detail and topical analysis. 1.  Legislative and Ballot Initiatives. In November of 2016, voters rejected a state carbon tax.  Initiative 732, the Washington Carbon Emission Tax and Sales Tax Reduction, would …

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Trump Executive Order Seeks to Limit Scope of Clean Water Act

The executive order asks agencies to repeal or revise an Obama-era rule defining the scope of the Clean Water Act and recommends adoption of a narrower standard articulated by the late Justice Scalia. On February 28, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order asking the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army …

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USDA Releases Report On Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Balance Of Ethanol

On January 12, 2017, USDA released a report on the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of corn ethanol, titled “A Life-Cycle Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Based Ethanol.”  The study reviewed industry and farm sector performance over the past decade and found that in the United States corn-based ethanol generates 43 percent less …

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Obama Bans Drilling Offshore Atlantic, Arctic – But For How Long?

With a new President on the White House doorstep, President Obama has announced a ban – ostensibly permanent – on offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters along the Eastern seaboard and offshore Alaska. President Obama appears to be relying upon a seldom-used provision of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (“OCSLA”) 43 …

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Asbestos Among First Ten Chemicals to be Reviewed Under the Amended TSCA

EPA announced on June 29, 2016, that asbestos and nine other chemicals will be reviewed for hazard and exposure risks under the new procedures of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the June 2016 amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act. Now that the ten chemicals have been chosen, EPA must produce a risk evaluation work plan …

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California Proposition 65: Beep Beep, BPA Labeling

California proposes to amend Prop 65 warning requirements for BPA in canned and bottled foods and beverages. In May 2015, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added bisphenol A (BPA) to the California proposition 65 list as a reproductive toxicant. On April 18, 2016, OEHHA implemented an emergency regulation for BPA, providing a safe harbor warning …

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Cloud-Seeding – Make it Rain, Make it Stop: Monopoly on Weather?

They call it “cloud-seeding.” It’s a process by which clouds are injected with a chemical to induce rain. It sounds a little like science fiction, but it’s happening in California—where droughts are deadly—and in other states across the nation. As scientific weather modification becomes more common and weather contractors are brought in to induce climate …

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What’s New About the Revised TSCA – Toxic Substances Control Act

After years of effort, comprehensive legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) passed the House of Representatives on May 24, 2016.  The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is expected to pass the Senate the week of June 6.  President Obama is expected to sign the legislation shortly thereafter.  At …

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Pre-Permit Challenges to Approved Jurisdictional Determinations

In a major new legal development for the Clean Water Act’s Section 404 wetlands permitting program, landowners can now challenge the federal government’s claim that areas targeted for fill are “waters of the United States” without first having to seek a permit to fill those waters, according to the Supreme Court’s decision issued on May …

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waters of the united states

Army Corps Proposes Renewal of Nationwide Permits for Work in Waters of the United States

On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) released a pre-publication version of its “Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits” (the “Proposal”).  The Proposal presents a draft version of the Corps’ latest renewal of its program for “Nationwide Permits” (NWPs) that authorize general categories of construction in waters of the U.S. …

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