EPA Takes Action on Recent Landfill Rules

Co-authored by Yolunda Righteous, Summer Law Clerk, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P.

EPA has decided to reconsider certain portions of two recent rules relating to municipal solid waste landfills and has issued a stay of those rules for 90 days during the reconsideration process. In doing so, EPA seems to be signaling the beginning of a process to roll-back yet another climate-related rule. Continue reading “EPA Takes Action on Recent Landfill Rules”

Will EPA achieve its core mission?

President Trump has signaled a desire to reduce the burden caused by environmental regulations. An executive order issued Jan. 30 requires that two rules be identified for repeal for every new rule proposed. He issued another executive order Feb. 24 announcing that it is the official policy of the U.S. to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens. At the same time, though, the president has stated he wants to reinvigorate the manufacturing and oil and gas development sectors, while also shortening the environmental review process for major infrastructure projects. Continue reading “Will EPA achieve its core mission?”

RIP to RMP?

The saga of the amendments to the Risk Management Program continues. Based on a premise that turned out to be unfounded, the amendments now seem to be destined for repeal or at least a major re-write.

In April, 2013, a fire and subsequent explosion at the West Fertilizer facility in West, Texas, caused 15 deaths, injured 300 people, destroyed more than 500 homes, and left a crater 93 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Shortly thereafter, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650, which, among other things, directed agencies such as EPA to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities through regulations, information reporting requirements, and site inspections. The White House cited the West Fertilizer explosion as an example of the need to address the serious risks presented by chemicals. Continue reading “RIP to RMP?”

Presentation at the Louisiana Environmental Conference – Federal Regulatory Update

This presentation was given at the Louisiana Environmental Conference in Lafayette, Louisiana on March 16, 2017. It provides a great deal of detailed information about actions the Trump Administration has taken regarding the environment. There has been a lot of activity and there promises to be much, much more. As always, stay tuned!

More Protests in the Pipeline

Pipelines are essential to get crude oil and natural gas from a production site to processing and then for use in the market. When properly constructed, operated and maintained within the pipeline safety rules, they provide an efficient method to transport these products that are so valuable to our economy. However, in recent years, it has become more and more common for environmental groups to protest the construction of new (and safer) pipelines.

The years-long and still ongoing saga of the Keystone XL Pipeline is well known. After undergoing numerous environmental reviews that established it had little overall environmental impact, President Obama declined to grant authority to construct the trans-boundary portion of the pipeline. President Trump issued a Presidential Memoranda in which he invited TransCanada to resubmit its application and stated a final permitting decision must be made within 60 days of the resubmittal. TransCanada submitted its application within several days. Continue reading “More Protests in the Pipeline”

ALERT: The Trump Administration’s Second Week

The Trump Administration’s second week was somewhat calmer as to its environmental agenda. Nevertheless, there were some important developments.

The administration took aim at the number of regulations issued by executive agencies, issuing an Executive Order, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, on January 30, 2017. Dubbed the “One In, Two Out” Order, it essentially requires that, unless prohibited by law, the agency identify two existing regulations to be repealed when it publicly proposes a new regulation. The environmental statues do not contain a specific provision that explicitly prohibits this practice. As a result, EPA should be subject to this order during its rule-makings. However, many of the regulations issued by EPA are based on, or otherwise required by, the environmental statutes. It may be prove difficult for EPA to repeal two regulations when issuing a rule that is required by an environmental statute, as those to-be-repealed regulations may be required by a statute. The order should, however, inhibit or curtail discretionary rule-makings and promote the repeal of other discretionary rule-makings. Continue reading “ALERT: The Trump Administration’s Second Week”

Public Water Supplies Need Help In Managing Increased Scrutiny

The delivery of water into our homes, and the safety of that water, is usually taken for granted.  We turn on the tap and water comes out, which we assume is safe to drink and use for cooking.  But, for a variety of reasons, many people no longer make that assumption quite so readily. As a result, regulatory agencies and citizens have become more engaged. A public water supply must handle violations of the drinking water standards and rules and the possible defense of enforcement actions or suits in a way that ensures the quality of drinking water while minimizing liability for the public water supply.

Public water systems and municipalities are facing an inordinate level of scrutiny due to high profile cases of contaminated drinking water. The most famous, or infamous, drinking water crisis is the Flint, Michigan situation, which, by most accounts, was brought about by very poor decision-making. Flint began using the Flint River as a water source, in what appears to be a cost-cutting move. Even though water from the Flint River was known to require treatment, proper anti-corrosive agents were not used, resulting in lead leaching from the aging service lines. Testing revealed that lead levels in residential water were well over the standard set by EPA of 15 parts per billion. Continue reading “Public Water Supplies Need Help In Managing Increased Scrutiny”