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EPA Does Have a Duty to Update Its Lead Paint Standards: Cass Sunstein Agrees With Me

As a follow-up to my post last week about the 9th Circuit decision requiring EPA to propose new lead paint standards under TSCA within 90 days, I was encouraged to see Cass Sunstein support the decision in a BloombergView...more

Does EPA Have a Non-discretionary Duty To Make a Statute Work?

If this Administration’s first year has taught us anything, it is that determining when EPA has an affirmative duty to act is going to be very important over the remaining 3 (or 7!) years of the Trump presidency. That was...more

Shareholder Activism on Climate Is Only Going to Increase

While EPA continues to go backwards on climate, evidence continues to mount that investors are only going to get more aggressive. There were two developments worth noting this month. First, Bloomberg Markets reported that...more

The Members of EPA’s Superfund Task Force Had Really Good Memories

In July, EPA released the recommendations of the Superfund Task Force. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a FOIA request, looking for documents related to the operation of the Task Force. This week, the...more

EPA Will NOT Second-Guess Generators’ Projections of Future Emissions Under the NSR Program

I’ve noted numerous times that the NSR program is incomprehensible gibberish. These are scientific and objective comments. The most recent example of this is the DTE litigation, in which a one-judge minority somehow ended...more

12/12/2017  /  EPA , NAAQS , NSR

Significant Nexus Lives! (For Now, In the 9th Circuit)

On November 27, 2017, the 9th Circuit affirmed the conviction of a Joseph Robertson, Montana man who: “discharged dredged and fill material into the surrounding wetlands and an adjacent tributary, which flows to Cataract...more

AG Sessions Speaks. No More Guidance. Make It So.

Last week, Attorney General Sessions sent a memorandum prohibiting the use of guidance in place of notice and comment rulemaking “when purporting to create rights or obligations binding on members of the public or the...more

Opposing NPDES Delegation to Massachusetts Is So 20th Century

On November 14, 2017, the Boston Globe joined most local environmental organizations in opposing delegation of the NPDES program to Massachusetts. How wrong is this? Let me count the ways....more

11/15/2017  /  Boston Globe , EPA , NPDES

If the Apocalypse Approaches, But the Administration Ignores It, Will It Make a Sound?

Last week, the government released the Climate Science Special Report, the first volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. It makes grim reading – or perhaps more accurately, grim reaper – reading. Here’s what we...more

Sometimes Guidance Actually Provides Guidance

As regular readers know, the tension between guidance and regulation is one of my favorite topics. My view is that, in general, guidance is too often used simply to avoid notice and comment rulemaking and that, once issued,...more

Pruitt Banishes “Sue and Settle” – A Solution In Search of a Problem?

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a Directive prohibiting the practice of “sue and settle.” He also issued a Memorandum to senior staff explaining in more detail some of the concerns about “sue and settle.” They are two...more

10/17/2017  /  Citizen Suits , EPA

Cooperative Federalism Requires Cooperation From Both Sides

In 2011, the National Parks Conservation Association sued EPA for failure to enforce the regional haze requirements of the Clean Air Act. EPA and the NPCA settled in 2012, establishing a schedule by when SIPs or FIPs had to...more

What’s a Court to Do When EPA Misses a Statutory Deadline?

Earlier this week, a divided 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed entry of a consent decree between the Sierra Club and EPA, resolving litigation over EPA’s failure to promulgate attainment designations for the sulfur...more

The Arbitrary and Capricious Standard Remains in the Eye of the Beholder

In a very interesting – and extremely rare – case, Emhart Industries has successfully defended itself against a unilateral administrative order issued by EPA under CERCLA, on the ground that key decisions made by EPA were...more

The Montreal Protocol Is Not a Climate Change Statute

Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down part of an EPA rule promulgated pursuant to the Montreal Protocol. The section that was struck down would have required manufacturers of HFC-134a, which is not...more

Real Superfund Reform Would Not Place It At the Center of EPA’s Core Mission

Earlier this week, Scott Pruitt released the results of the Superfund Task Force he established in May.  Though skeptical, I was pleased at the creation of the task force and goals he established for it.  With the release of...more

7/28/2017  /  EPA , Superfund

EPA Fails to Justify Its Use of Surrogates for Certain Hazardous Air Pollutants

July 18, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals remanded EPA’s MACT standards for PCBs, polycyclic organic matter, and hexachlorobenzene to EPA. Rather than setting specific MACT standards for these compounds, EPA regulated...more

7/20/2017  /  Air Pollution , Appeals , EPA

EPA Delays Compliance with Massachusetts MS4 Permit

On July 13, 2017, EPA extended the compliance deadline for its General Permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems for one year, until July 1, 2018. The move almost certainly prompted a collective sigh of relief...more

NGOs 1, Trump EPA 0: The First Skirmish in the Great Environmental Rollback War Goes to the Greens

Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals handed environmentalists at least a temporary win in what I think was the first case to reach judicial decision in Scott Pruitt’s great environmental roll-back tour of...more

EPA Does Not Have a Non-Discretionary Duty to Assess the Impact of Clean Air Regulations on Employment

On June 29, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit reversed a District Court decision and rejected the lawsuit by Murray Energy which argued that EPA had a non-discretionary duty under § 321(a) of the Clean Air Act...more

Meet the New WOTUS. Same as the Old WOTUS.

Earlier this week, EPA and the ACOE began implementing the Trump administration’s efforts to deconstruct the Obama rule defining “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. EPA and the ACOE submitted for Federal...more

Attorney General Sessions Bars Settlement Payments to Third Parties: RIP SEPs?

Earlier this week, Attorney General Sessions issued a brief memorandum barring DOJ from entering into any civil or criminal settlement that would provide for a payment by a defendant to any non-governmental person that is not...more

Trump’s “2 for 1” EO: Can You Say “Arbitrary and Capricious”?

On June 5, 2017, on behalf of our client, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Foley Hoag filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in the case challenging President Trump’s Executive Order 13771, the so-called “2 for...more

Superfund Reform, Part 2: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Last week, I offered less than fulsome praise of EPA Administrator Pruitt’s announcement that he was taking control of remedial decision for big Superfund sites. Now, he’s followed up with a memorandum announcing...more

Scott Pruitt Just Solved All of the Problems with Superfund. Not.

Last week, EPA Administrator Pruitt issued a memorandum requiring that all Superfund remedies estimated to cost at least $50 million be approved by the Administrator. I’m not optimistic that this will cure, or even...more

5/17/2017  /  CERCLA , EPA , Hazardous Substances , Superfund
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