General Business Zoning, Planning & Land Use Environmental

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Another Season of Change in North Carolina Environmental Law - Part II

As discussed in Part I of our environmental legislative update published on November 12, 2015, the 2015 North Carolina legislative session resulted in a great deal of change for the state’s environmental programs....more

China Regulatory Enforcement Quarterly - Q3 2015

On August 12, a series of explosions in the northern port-city of Tianjin killed over one hundred people and injured hundreds of others. The explosions were allegedly caused by hazardous chemical materials in shipping...more

New Ozone Standard: Better Than it Could Have Been, But Creates Uncertainty for Industry

EPA has issued a final rule tightening the primary ozone national ambient air quality standard (“NAAQS”) down to 70 ppb from the 75 ppb limit established in 2008. The new NAAQS takes effect on December 28, 2015 (despite the...more

Compliance with the Clean Air Act Increasingly Unlikely to Protect Companies from Nuisance Suits

A recent decision out of the Sixth Circuit found that the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) does not preempt common law claims brought against an emitter based on the law of the state in which the emitter operates. This decision, Merrick...more

CERCLA Update: Court Reverses Divisibility Ruling

Earlier this year, we reported on a case that seemed to breathe new life into the divisibility defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Under CERCLA, a party that...more

Environmental Notes - October 2015

In a significant setback for the Obama Administration, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has temporarily blocked implementation of the Clean Water Rule issued jointly by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...more

Waste on land: a warning for landowners

Fly-tipping continues to cause problems for businesses, governments and communities. Defra recently assessed the number of fly-tipping incidents during 2014-2015 at around 900,000 in England alone.1 It comes as a surprise to...more

Changes in Environmental Due Diligence in Commercial Real Estate Prevent Toxic Investments

Financial due diligence in a commercial real estate purchase is a necessity, but equally important to purchasers and lenders is environmental due diligence. Many properties may have environmental issues from prior use, and...more

EPA Issues New Residual Risk and Technology Rule for Petroleum Refineries

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or the “Agency”) promulgated its final Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review (“RTR”) and New Source Performance Standards (“NSPS”) rule...more

New California Laws Will Ease Groundwater Right Battles, Yet Encourage More Litigation

On October 9, 2015 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two bills aimed at making groundwater disputes easier and faster to resolve in court. The new laws—companion bills AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226 (Pavley)—streamline...more

DEC Explains New Enforcement Initiative to the New York Oil and Gas Industry

On September 30, 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held a public information session regarding DEC enforcement of regulations relating to Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS), petroleum spills...more

Prompted by Independent Study, EPA Issues Notice of Violation to Volkswagen for Circumventing Federal Emissions Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of a notice of violation last week to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (collectively Volkswagen) appears to have further validated EPA’s and...more

EPA To Propose Overhaul of RCRA Generator Regulations

EPA is poised to publish a proposed rule revising regulations applicable to hazardous waste generators under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq. (RCRA). The proposed rule, which has not yet...more

A Busy Summer for Environmental and Land Use Law

In the past three months, we have witnessed a breathtaking series of decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Connecticut Supreme Court, and the California Supreme Court that have provided important rulings and...more

100 subsurface areas of solid minerals and groundwater are auctioned in the Republic of Kazakhstan

The RK Ministry of Investments and Development has approved a list of subsurface areas of solid minerals and groundwater subsurface use rights to which will be auctioned in Kazakhstan. The list includes 100 subsurface areas...more

The Animas Spill: EPA Liability and Insurance Coverage

When a contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally released three million gallons of contaminated mining work wastewater into the Animas River in August 2015, the EPA immediately took responsibility, as it...more

Is that Wetland Jurisdictional? A Practical Guide to the New Clean Water Rule

The Clean Water Rule recently issued by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers defines the scope of federal jurisdiction over wetlands and other “waters of the United States.”[1] It’s effective on August 28, 2015, so you need...more

Can First Nations Claim Aboriginal Rights and Title as well as Treaty Rights?

Yes, said the Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Court) in its recent decision in Chartrand v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations). The Court found that the provincial Crown had not adequately...more

Does Next Generation Compliance Mean Expanded Enforcement?

EPA is in the process of rolling out Next Generation Compliance, or NextGen, in an effort to make its programs more effective, facilitate compliance, and, ultimately, enhance environmental benefit.  But in many ways, NextGen...more

Addressing Environmental Issues in Real Estate Development

Dealmakers sometimes overlook environmental issues when negotiating transactions, leaving important business and legal issues unaddressed until they inevitably pop up shortly before closing and send everyone scrambling. This...more

Disclosing Violations to EPA in a Digital Age

Under EPA’s Audit Policy and Small Business Compliance Policy, companies that discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously correct environmental violations may be entitled to penalty mitigation and other incentives. EPA...more

Alaska Supreme Court Says Exploration is a Transfer of Interest in State Land, Cannot Be Allowed Without Full Public Notice and...

The Alaska Supreme Court’s recent decision in Nunamta Alukestai v. Pebble Limited Partnership, No. 7011 (Alaska filed May 29, 2015) significantly alters the permitting process for projects within the jurisdiction of the...more

(US) Revised Phase I Environmental Standards Will Impact Property Acquisitions this Fall

The All Appropriate Inquiries Rule (the “AAI Rule”), set forth at 40 CFR Part 312, serves as a benchmark protocol for inspecting a property’s environmental condition. If the benchmark is met, a prospective purchaser can be...more

Superfund Divisibility Defense Gets New Life

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, is a federal law under which contaminated sites are identified and evaluated by the Environmental Protection...more

Proposed TSCA Legislation Ramps Up Safety Requirements for Manufacturers, EPA

While consumers typically believe that anything they can buy in the store has been government tested for safety, that's not always the case. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been in effect and essentially unchanged...more

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