E&W Blog

October 19, 2018

Court decision involving EPA temperature TMDL for Columbia and Snake Rivers has implications for climate change, warming waters, and species . . .

On October 18, the District Court for Western District of Washington rejected EPA’s motion for summary judgment arguing that the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq. did not require EPA to develop a temperature Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Columbia and lower Snake River.  (court order linked here)  The Columbia […]
October 1, 2018

Trump Administration’s ESA Reforms Are Long Overdue . . .

The proposed rules published by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively, “the Services”) on 25 July 2018, if adopted, singly or collectively would be the most significant amendments to the ESA regulations since 1986. These regulatory amendments are long overdue. If adopted, the proposed rules […]
October 1, 2018

Coal-ash policies are not wrong-headed . . .

Author: Dave Moore USA Today Op-Ed Published Sept. 30, 2018 Hurricanes like Florence are force majeur under environmental laws — chance and unavoidable accidents: Opposing view Three years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency placed restrictions on new coal-ash storage and disposal areas as part of laws enacted 30 years ago to address solid wastes. Ash […]
September 21, 2018

Is your company prepared to weather the next severe storm event?

Have you or your company looked at the EHS readiness of your facilities ahead of when the next hurricane arrives?  Last year’s Harvey and this past week’s arrival of Florence put into sharp focus the risks facing companies that don’t plan or respond effectively in the wake of such a catastrophic incident.  With the increased occurrence of severe weather […]
August 30, 2018

DOJ/EPA pursue criminal charges involving environment and worker safety . . .

The recent indictments out of Nebraska related to the deaths of two workers and mishandling of hazardous waste demonstrates EPA’s and DOJ’s continued focus on the intersection of environmental protection and worker safety.  With substantially larger criminal penalties for certain environmental violations than available in worker safety statutes, the DOJ, EPA and OSHA will look to apply […]
August 27, 2018

EPA Announces New National Compliance Initiative

EPA’s Enforcement Chief, Susan Bodine, issued new guidance this week, announcing movement away from “enforcement” to “compliance” initiatives.   The initiative underscores the approach the agency is taking to lighten its civil enforcement footprint, encourage states and tribes to take the lead where they can, and promote compliance over enforcement as a matter of policy.   National Enforcement […]
July 27, 2018

Feds criminally charge water company for hazardous waste violations . . .

The recent multi-defendant indictment against companies in the water and waste industries is one more sign that the environmental cop remains on the beat.  Keep an eye on staffing levels in EPA’s criminal program to see if this type of critical enforcement work can continue at the level needed to keep the playing field level and the public […]
July 27, 2018

DOI limits compensatory mitigation on BLM lands . . .

This week the Trump Administration rolled out a new policy (Memo No. 2018-093) discontinuing certain mitigation practices involving natural resource impacts on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  While the policy states that “voluntary” compensatory mitigation will be allowed in certain circumstances, it ends the practice of BLM accepting monetary payment […]
July 24, 2018

EPA’s Inspector General issues final report on Flint Michigan water crisis – cites management weakness as main culprit . . .

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final report this past week dealing with the circumstances in Flint Michigan that lead to the exposure of residents to elevated levels of lead in drinking water. After Flint switched its drinking water supply in April 2014, inadequate water treatment […]
July 18, 2018

GAO issues new report – millions of school children at risk for harmful lead levels in drinking water . . .

According to the GAO report, Nationwide, school districts vary in terms of whether they have tested for lead in school drinking water, with many not testing. According to our survey of school districts, an estimated 43 percent tested for lead in school drinking water in at least one school in the last 12 months, while […]