Category Archives: Environmental Law

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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EPA OIG Will Evaluate EPA’s Management of Resistance Issues Related to Herbicide Tolerant GE Crops

On March 25, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) sent a memorandum to Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), announcing that it plans to begin preliminary research to assess EPA’s management and oversight of resistance issues related to herbicide tolerant genetically engineered (GE) …

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Ohio v. Sierra Club: The Integrity of the Clean Air Act

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it will not grant Certiorari in Ohio v. Sierra Club, et al. In this case, the Sixth Circuit found an area must adopt required pollution-control measures before the EPA can designate it as having satisfied the law’s health-based pollution standards. In 1997, the EPA created the National …

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U.S. Court of Appeals Issues Split WOTUS Ruling

water with a green ball_WIDE

On February 22, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Cincinnati) issued a split 2-1 decision, ruling that it has jurisdiction to proceed with challenges to the Obama administration’s “Waters of the United States” rule, or WOTUS, as opposed to federal district courts. A wide range of government, industry …

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EPA Proposal Acknowledges Areas With Dangerous Air Pollution, But Leaves Some Out and Has Failed to Step in When States Haven’t Protected Residents

Two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency published proposals to designate 12 areas of the country—including Alton and Marion, Illinois; Jefferson and Posey, Indiana; DeSoto Parish, Louisiana; Anne Arundel and Baltimore, Maryland; St. Clair, Michigan; Franklin, Missouri; Muskogee, Oklahoma; and Freestone, Rusk, and Titus, Texas—as “nonattainment” for the dangerous pollutant sulfur dioxide, or SO2.  While …

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New Endangered Species Act (ESA) Critical Habitat Rules Expand Federal Authority and Add Uncertainty

On February 11, 2016, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”), together with the National Marine Fisheries Service (“MFS”) (collectively “Services”) published two final rules and a final policy that purport to clarify their procedures for listing species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and designating and revising critical habitat for listed species. Hundreds …

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European Parliament EU Bioplastics

EU Policy Update – February 2016 re: Dutch Presidency and Brexit, Digital Single Market Policy, Energy and Environment

Dutch Presidency and Brexit In January, the Netherlands took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Luxembourg.  In line with the political intentions of the Juncker Commission to be ‘big on the big issues but small on the small issues’, the Netherlands promises to focus on the essentials during its Presidency.  …

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The ‘Commoditization’ of Water in The West

The treatment of water as a commodity, rather than a utility service, is gaining momentum in the western U.S. A recent Pro Publica/The Atlantic (February 9, 2016) article addresses the acquisition of water by hedge fund investors as commodity investments, instead of water service. A New York City hedge fund manager, Disque Dean Jr., has …

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