Last month, I noted that shrinking EPA budgets would lead to greater focus on citizen enforcement. This week, an article in Law360 concerning EPA’s draft 2014-2018 strategic plan has driven that message home. While talking about increased use of technology to monitor compliance more efficiently – all well and good and certainly for real – the strategic plan acknowledges a likely significant decrease in the number of enforcement actions to be brought by EPA. … More
Monthly Archives: November 2013
The Old Razzle Dazzle Is Not Sufficient: DOE May Not Collect a Nuclear Waste Disposal Fee If It Has No Way to Dispose of the Waste
In an opinion last week surprising only for the shortness of the shrift that the Court gave to DOE’s arguments, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that DOE may not continue to collect nuclear waste handling/disposal fees from nuclear plant operators when DOE does not have a plausible estimate of the cost to construct and operate a nuclear waste disposal site.
The Court had previously ruled that DOE had violated a statutory obligation to determine annually what the waste disposal fee should be. … More
Some decisions are valuable not because they make new law but because they reaffirm well known principles of law. City of Banning v. Dureau is one such decision. There, a federal district court in California ruled that an owner of real property was strictly liable under CERCLA for the release of hazardous substances on her property and could not escape CERCLA liability by arguing that she was ignorant of the conditions giving rise to the release. … More
Last week, what appears to be a draft (so long that it is in two separate parts) of EPA’s proposed rule defining “waters of the United States” was widely circulated. Part of what I love about this story is that it is uncertain whether this is in fact the draft rule that EPA sent to OMB to review. On one hand, it has many of the hallmarks of an EPA proposed rule. … More
Hoist on Its Own Petard: The Ninth Circuit Reverses EPA’s Approval of Nanosilver Pesticides in Textiles
Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals remanded EPA’s approval of two nanosilver pesticides for use in textiles. The case, NRDC v. EPA, is a fascinating application of the issue of “how safe is safe” and, in particular, how much conservatism must be applied to risk estimates when there is significant uncertainty in the analysis.
EPA sets the acceptable exposure to pesticides under FIFRA by determining the risk and then addressing uncertainties. … More
In September, I noted that Judge Mark Wolf had dismissed CLF’s law suit challenging EPA’s approval of the TMDLs for the Cape Cod embayments, ruling that CLF did not have standing. CLF, as is its wont, is not going gentle into that good night. It is still raging, raging, at EPA’s decision. More to the point, it has refiled its complaint.
EPA’s Groundwater Remedy Completion Strategy: Making Cleanups More Efficient Or Just Increasing PRP Costs?
Last week, EPA released a draft Groundwater Remedy Completion Strategy. The strategy is intended to provide:
a recommended step-wise plan and decision making process for evaluating remedy operation, progress and attainment of [remedial action objectives] using an updated conceptual site model, performance metrics and data derived from site-specific remedy evaluations.
I like to think that I am skeptical, not cynical. Having worked on this stuff for 25 years,… More
And You Thought Ending Flood Insurance Subsidies Would Be Difficult? Try Persuading a Politician to Support “Managed Coastal Retreat”
Earlier today, I posted about the political difficulties inherent in reforming flood insurance programs to avoid subsidizing those who choose to live in coastal areas subject to flooding. When even Democratic legislators supportive of efforts to fight climate change oppose such reforms, you know you are in trouble.
Well, when it rains, it pours, as it were. Just hours later comes news of the release of a report from the Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law on “Managed Coastal Retreat.” The title pretty much tells it all. … More
A story in E&E Daily on October 30 highlighted the difficult choices – including political choices – that are going to have to be faced in the process of adapting to climate change. The story noted that a number of Democratic members of Congress who have supported efforts to address climate change are now opposing efforts to reform the National Flood Insurance Program so that it does not encourage people to locate in areas subject to flooding.… More