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Federal Environmental Law Archives

Beekeepers File Suit Against the EPA Over Controversial Pesticide Registrations

Beginning in the winter of 2006-2007, bees began to die in - or simply disappear from - commercial hives around the US. Increasing numbers of beekeepers since then reported similar disappearances of bees, and the phenomenon became known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. While the exact causes of CCD are unknown, beekeepers and environmental groups have argued that the losses are due to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide that is taken up by plants and stored in tissues as the plant grows and develops. Here's why even the pesticide manufacturers are now taking the problem seriously. 

EPA to Defend its "Proposed Plan" for Remediating the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site During Public Meetings on January 23 and 24, 2013

How do you clean up something as big and messy as the Gowanus Canal? On January 23-24, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency will explain and defend its December 27, 2012, "Proposed Plan" for remediating the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site in Brooklyn, NY. The Proposed Plan formally identifies EPA's "preferred remedy" for the pollution in the Gowanus Canal-a technical term which actually describes a range of actions plans to take to clean up the canal-and explains its choices. The Plan resulted from the investigation it has conducted to date, including the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study is released in 2011.

Migration of Contamination Does Not Automatically Create a Single "Facility" Under CERCLA

A federal court in New York recently decided that the migration of subterranean contamination onto a neighboring property was not, by itself, a sufficient basis to hold a neighboring landowner jointly liable for remediation costs under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA").

Can Entering Into a CERCLA Consent Decree Preclude Subsequent Cost Recovery Actions?

Congress enacted the Superfund Act, whose formal name is the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or CERCLA, in 1980 to promote the clean up (remediation) of properties, typically abandoned landfills or other sites, that had been contaminated by the disposal of hazardous materials. To further this goal, Congress cast a wide net and imposed strict liability for all "Potentially Responsible Parties" (PRPs) who contributed to the contamination at a site. See 42 USCS Sec. 9607(a). 

"Fracking NY" Blog Series: Update - Decisions Upholding Zoning Bans on Fracking in NY Appealed

Previously in our "Fracking NY" Blog Series, we summarized the two recent New York Supreme Court cases - Anschutz Exploration Corp. v. Town of Dryden, 940 N.Y.S.2d 458 (Sup. Ct. Tompkins Co. Feb. 21, 2012) and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1420 (Sup. Ct. Otsego Co. Feb. 24, 2012), which both upheld local municipalities' authority to ban oil and gas operations (as a round-about way of banning the controversial high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," operations specifically) - as being not preempted by the State Oil and Gas Act ("OGSML"). To read about those cases, please click here and here. As we expected, both of those cases were appealed to the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department.

"Fracking NY" Blog Series: Update - Federal Regulations

Since our last post regarding the current federal regulations of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (i.e., "fracking") for extraction of natural gas from shale, there have been several developments on the federal level.

Court Holds Citizens Cannot Sue for Violations of Section 404 Permits under Clean Water Act

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Clean Water Act does not allow citizen suits to enforce the conditions of a ยง 404 Permit. See Atchafalaya Basinkeeper v. Chustz, No. 11-30471 (5th Cir. Apr. 25, 2012).

Environmental Due Diligence in Real Estate Transactions Blog Series: Part I - Introduction

This blog series is based on an article written by James J. Periconi and published in the Winter 2008 Bloomberg Corporate News Journal. Mr. Periconi also discusses the details and the nuances of environmental due diligence of commercial real estate transactions in his bi-monthly continuing legal education course. Although we've blogged about environmental due diligence in the real estate transactions before (see here and here, for example), we decided it was time for a refresher series, including legal updates and discussion of new and exciting topics.

Supreme Court Holds That Pre-Enforcement Judicial Review of EPA Administrative Orders Is Allowed

The Supreme Court of the United States has just unanimously ruled that administrative orders issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") under section 319 of the Clean Water Act ("CWA") are "final agency actions" subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"). Sackett v. United States EPA, 566 U.S. ____ (2012). 

"Fracking NY" Blog Series: Part 6 - Courts Uphold Two Local Zoning Bans on Fracking in New York State - Town of Dryden (Part I)

So far in the Periconi, LLC "Fracking NY Blog Series," we've outlined state, interstate, and federal regulation of high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"). We now turn to yet another layer of potential regulation of fracking in New York State: local zoning ordinances. Two towns - Dryden and Middlefield - which have enacted zoning ordinances that ban fracking within their borders have had those zoning ordinances challenged by industry and/or landowners. In the past week, both of these cases were decided in favor of upholding the bans. This blog post will cover the Town of Dryden case. (Click here for the Town of Middlefieldcase.)

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