Monthly Archives: October 2015

EPA To Rename OSWER: How About “The Office That Should Be Eliminated As Soon As Possible”?

According to the Daily Environment Report (subscription required), EPA is going to change the name of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response to the Office of Land and Emergency Management.  What a grand name; surely it is an improvement.

I don’t think that this quite rises to the level of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic titanic(though I certainly have clients who would not object if OSWER sank without a trace),… More

CERCLA Remains Ridiculous: A Remedy In Operation For 18 Years Is “Short Term”

Far too frequently, we are reminded just how hard judges must work to save CERCLA from itself.  The decision last week in California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation is the most recent compelling example.

Fluor Corporation has been performing response actions at a site, including operating a soil vapor extraction system, since no later than 1997.  Fluor’s remedial action plan was not approved until 2011 and a modified RAP was approved in 2014.… More

While The Outcome In the Lower Fox River Case Continues to Change, The Legal Standard For Apportionment Is The Same

In 1832, Abraham Lincoln said that ” it is better to be only sometimes right, than at all times wrong, so soon as I discover my opinions to be erroneous, I shall be ready to renounce them.”  Judge Greisbach of Eastern District of Wisconsin apparently lives by this credo and once again has reversed himself in the  Fox River PCB Superfund litigation.   The history of Judge Greisbach’s readiness to renounce his opinions is catalogued in a string of my blog posts. … More

The Sixth Circuit Stays the Waters of the United States Rule: Just a Plain Vanilla Preliminary Injunction — Not!

Today, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide stay against implementation of the “Waters of the United States” rule.  The case is so weird, alice in wonderlandin so many ways, that I don’t even think I can count them.  Here are a few.

  • The Court stayed the case, even though, as the dissent pointed out, there is question whether it even has jurisdiction to hear the appeal.…
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Pre-enforcement Review? Not Enough. How About Pre-issuance Review?

In Sackett, the Supreme Court ruled that EPA could not issue enforcement orders under the Clean Water Act without allowing the subjects of the order the right to bring a pre-enforcement challenge to such orders under the Administrative Procedure Act.  Now, in Ron Foster v. EPA, Judge John Copenhaver of the Southern District of West Virginia has ruled that Sackett’s victory was in fact hollow,… More

EPA Updates Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards For Steam Electric Generating Facilities – It’s Only Been 33 Years

On September 30, EPA released its long-awaited (long-feared?) final rule governing wastewater discharges from steam electric generating facilities.  2000px-Coal_fired_power_plant_diagram.svgThe trade press is presenting the rule as a victory for environmentalists (The Law360 headline was “Enviros Score Major Win in Final EPA Effluent Rules”) and I think that that’s probably a fair description.

Here is the quick summary of just the more important aspects of the rule for existing sources:

  • The most stringent aspects of the rule apply to coal-fired plants with a nameplate capacity great than 50 MW (there are less stringent requirements for oil-fired facilities and smaller coal-fired facilities)
  • For fly ash transport water,…
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EPA Lowers the Ozone Standard to 70 PPB: Industry Isn’t Happy, But It Should Be

On Thursday, EPA finally released its final rule revising the ozone NAAQS to 70 ppb.  I do not spend much time peering into a crystal ball, fortune-teller with a shining crystal ballbut I will go out on a limb and say that the industry challenges to the rule will fail. Just ain’t gonna happen.

The environmental group challenges pose a more interesting question.  There’s a fair bit of evidence of health impacts below 70 ppb,… More

A Brief Rant on Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Yesterday, I posted about the 3rd Circuit’s decision to remand EPA’s approval of Pennsylvania’s regional haze SIP.  Although I think that the decision was important and largely unobjectionable, it did get one issue wrong, and it happens to be an issue near and dear to my heart – cost-effectiveness analysis.  I am regularly surprised by the number of people who oppose its use and the number of people who just plain don’t get it. … More