Environmental and Energy Law Update

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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Category: Solid Waste and Hazardous Materials

Prop 65: Will the “Short-Form” be Short Lived?

Enacted as part of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) requires businesses with ten or more employees that sell products in the state of California to provide notice to consumers of health risks that are associated with certain chemicals if contained...
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First Circuit Acts on Appeal by South Portland Pipeline Company

On January 10, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit acted on the Portland Pipe Line Corporation’s (PPLC) appeal of the district court order upholding a South Portland zoning ordinance that prohibits the bulk loading of crude oil onto marine vessels. Portland Pipe Line Corp. v...
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A New Hurdle in Prop. 65 Compliance: Inter-Supply Chain Information Requests

Caution Sign
Most industry professionals are aware that a revised set of California Proposition 65 or “Prop. 65” regulations will take effect at the end of the month on August 30, 2018. Prop. 65 is a so-called right-to-know statute that, among other things, requires manufacturers and retailers to provide any California...
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EPA Releases 2016 Enforcement Figures

This year marks the third annual post from this Blog highlighting EPA’s enforcement and compliance figures. And while this year’s data tells a number of interesting stories, no story is larger than the potential impact of the incoming Trump Administration on EPA’s enforcement figures in 2017. With that as...
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Gray Areas for Green Labels: The Current State of Environmental Marketing

Green Label Icon
“Natural,” “green,” “sustainable,” “biodegradable,” – it seems like everywhere you look, from the big box stores to your local farmer’s market, products are being marketed for their environmental and healthful benefits. For a range of reasons, consumer demand for ecologically conscious or healthy products is exploding and the market...
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Vapor Intrusion Intruding on EPA’s Hazard Ranking System under CERCLA

Section 105(a)(8)(B) of CERCLA sets forth the outlines of the scoring system used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”) Superfund program to assess and rank the potential and actual threat associated with sites across the country. The scoring system is known as the Hazard Ranking System (the...
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EPA Releases 2015 Enforcement Statistics

As it does each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA” or “Agency”) recently released its annual enforcement statistics for the past year . As the Agency has been saying throughout Administrator McCarthy’s tenure, it is focusing on high visibility enforcement with greater environmental (and financial) bang for...
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WOTUS Rule Saga Gets Weirder with EPA "Covert Propaganda"

The EPA rule attempting to clarify the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction took another gut punch when the Government Accountability Office found that the EPA's use of social media in connection with its rulemaking violated anti-lobbying laws . The rule in question attempts to define the term "waters...
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Coming Soon—Reporting Requirements: Phthalates and Formaldehyde

Attention distributors, manufacturers, and some retailers of children’s products sold into the State of Maine. The December 18, 2015 deadline to report the intentional use of formaldehyde and certain phthalates in children’s products sold into the State is less than a month away. The Department of Environmental Protection has...
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Count ME In

Count Maine “in” as one of the 18 states filing a motion to intervene to defend the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA” or “Agency”) Clean Power Plan (“Rule”). A coalition including 24 states wasted little time filing suit against the much-anticipated final Rule after it was posted in the...
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Welcome to the Club: Formaldehyde and Phthalates Now Priority Chemicals

Two new rules recently adopted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (“Maine DEP” or “the Department”) added formaldehyde and phthalates to the State’s list of Priority Chemicals. As of July 26, 2015, the Department now has the legal authority to regulate formaldehyde and four phthalates when they are...
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Bold Words from World Leaders Boost EPA Clean Power Plan

G7 Germany
The buzz word coming out of this week’s Group of Seven Summit (G7; formerly the G8, now sans Russia) in Germany was “decarbonisation.” (Yes, across the Pond they swap the “z” for an “s”.) In the first announcement of its type, leaders from the G7 nations agreed to a...
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Far-Reaching Decision: Appeals Court Finds Carbon Offsets Ensure Integrity

In a recent decision by a California Appeals court, the appellant, (Our Children’s Earth Foundation; (Appellant)), challenged the State Air Resources Board’s (Board) use of carbon offsets within its Cap-and-Trade program and more specifically, its method for establishing that the offsets achieve the requirement of “additionality.” That’s a loaded...
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EPA Considers Portion of Hackensack River for National Priorities List

EPA Workers
This article was written with the assistance of Nora Lawrence, Associate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced plans to evaluate whether a 17-mile stretch of the Hackensack River in New Jersey should be added to Superfund’s National Priorities List (NPL). The assessment comes as a response to a...
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Environmental, Health, and Safety Professionals: OSHA Amended its Reporting Rules

OSHA Graphic
Here’s a post for all you Environmental, Health, and Safety professionals following this blog. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration or Agency) has changed its reporting requirements for certain types of businesses with relatively low rates of occupational illness or injury. The list is based on the North American...
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DEP Proposes—or Re-Proposes—Two Chemicals for Priority List

Earlier this month, Maine DEP (Department) announced it would be proposing—or more accurately, re-proposing —the addition of two chemical to its list of “Priority” chemicals. The Department announced that it would be drafting rules to include formaldehyde and phthalates to its list of “Priority” chemicals. By way of background...
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EPA Releases 2014 Enforcement Statistics

At the close of last month, EPA released its annual enforcement numbers for 2014. As the Agency had been saying all year, the data reflects its focus on high-visibility enforcement complete with stiffer penalties and greater environmental benefits. In sum: Bigger Fish with smaller budgets. The website is truly...
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New Massachusetts Regulation – Limit on Commercial Organic Material

Organic Material
Anaerobic digestion converts organic waste into a biogas to supply heat and power. Photo courtesy the Univeristy of Alberta. Next month, the disposal of food wastes and vegetative materials in Massachusetts will change significantly. New regulations take effect on October 1 limiting the disposal of commercial organic material to...
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