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Superfund Report - 10/08/2018

  • High Court Asks For DOJ Views On CERCLA Pre-Enforcement Review

    The Supreme Court is asking the Justice Department (DOJ) to weigh in on an industry petition seeking to overturn a landmark ruling from Montana's high court allowing state damages claims by local landowners to proceed despite the Superfund law's bar on pre-enforcement review of EPA cleanup decisions, which industry says would create "chaos" and give third parties a significant new role in selecting remedies.

    1145 words

  • 3rd Circuit Backs Precedent For Private PFAS Monitoring Under CERCLA

    Setting a precedent, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has partially reversed a district court decision and found medical monitoring of per- and polyfluoroakyl substances (PFAS) conducted by a private party at a contaminated Navy site is a form of injunctive relief and is not prohibited by the Superfund law's bar on challenges to cleanup actions.

    1783 words

  • Court Rejects Navy Cleanup Decision As Superfund Cost Recovery Trigger

    A federal district court has denied the Navy's attempt to recover cleanup costs from a defense contractor at a naval weapons facility, dismissing on res judicata grounds but also clarifying that a cleanup record of decision (ROD) is not necessarily the trigger for statute of limitations' starting point in cost recoveries.

    1218 words

  • 9th Circuit Rejects Monsanto Bid To Move PCB Tort Case To Federal Court

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has rejected chemical giant Monsanto Company's efforts to move state tort litigation seeking millions of dollars in damages and cleanup costs resulting from polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination from state to federal court.

    818 words

  • Environmentalists' Suit Targets EPA Reviews Of State Coal Ash Permitting

    Environmentalists have filed a broad lawsuit challenging EPA's oversight of state coal ash disposal programs that claims the agency is failing to ensure public participation in the state permitting process, and seeking to overturn EPA's approval of Oklahoma's ash program after an appellate court said the rule on which it was based is unlawfully lenient.

    1154 words

  • Creating Appellate Split, 6th Circuit Rejects CWA Liability For Groundwater

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in two new decisions is rejecting Clean Water Act (CWA) liability for pollution that travels through groundwater to surface waters, breaking with two other circuits that have allowed CWA penalties for groundwater-borne pollution and boosting the odds the Supreme Court might have to resolve the split.

    1244 words

  • Industry Seeks To Ease EPA Rules To Address Ocean Plastic Pollution

    The chemical industry is calling for policymakers to ease EPA's rules to address the growing problem of ocean plastics, including scaling back hazardous waste permitting requirements for thermochemical and gasification processes that convert plastics into fuels and chemicals and to grant renewable fuel credits to fuels derived from plastic waste.

    1184 words

  • Despite Senators' Frustration, EPA Expects PFAS Actions To Take Years

    EPA's top official leading efforts to address perfluorinated chemicals appeared to do little to ameliorate senators' concerns over the slow pace of agency action on the issue, telling lawmakers at a Sept. 26 hearing that if the agency decides to regulate the substances under various environmental laws, it would take years to complete.

    1322 words

  • Citing New Study, Environmentalists Urge Senate To Address PFAS At Bases

    Charging that EPA is "not doing nearly enough," environmentalists are urging the Senate to require the Trump administration to quickly take a series of steps to address water contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), citing a new study that suggests levels at many military bases exceed a federal health agency's draft risk values.

    954 words

  • Congress Backs Allowing Non-PFAS Firefighting Foam For Airports

    Congress has passed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation that contains a provision that will allow commercial airports to stop using firefighting foams that contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), an action that comes as PFAS chemicals continue to be found in drinking water systems near sites where PFAS foam has been used.

    408 words

  • ATSDR Urged To Expand Reach Of Landmark PFAS Exposure Study

    A federal health agency is being asked to expand the reach of its pending study assessing exposure of residents on or near military bases to per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in various water sources so that it also accounts for exposures to first responders and provides analysis of individual-level data, rather than summary statistics.

    1264 words

  • EPA Sets Excavation Remedy At Nuclear Site But Draws Rare Legal Threat

    Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Sept. 27 signed a final cleanup plan for the West Lake Landfill Superfund site, a high-profile, long-debated radioactive site in Bridgeton, MO, continuing a path his predecessor set to support costly excavation cleanups, though the plan is drawing a rare legal threat from one of the site's responsible parties.

    1182 words

  • EPA Criticizes Navy's Lack Of Transparency In Hunters Point CERCLA Review

    EPA Region 9 is raising new criticisms over the Navy's management of re-sampling and cleanup work at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, CA, saying the Navy fails in a recent review of the high-profile cleanup to be upfront about the falsified radiological data sampling that a cleanup contractor was found to have done throughout the site.

    1666 words

  • EPA Seeks Comment On Pilot Criteria For Superfund Adaptive Management

    EPA is soliciting comments on draft criteria it has developed to pilot test adaptive management (AM) plans at several Superfund sites over the next year, as part of an effort to develop new guidance aimed at bolstering the use of AM in order to help fulfill Superfund reform goals of speeding cleanups.

    1500 words

  • EPA Stresses Adhering To Timelines In Federal Facility Cleanup Disputes

    EPA's enforcement and acting waste office chiefs have issued guidance to regional staff reinforcing the importance of adhering to established timelines for disputes with federal facilities over cleanups, responding to Superfund reforms that EPA leadership adopted last year to speed cleanups and ensure disputes between federal parties do not slow work.

    788 words

  • EPA Counsel Seeks To Ensure 'Durable, Defensible' Deregulatory Efforts

    Even as the Trump EPA faces a mixed record defending its deregulatory agenda, EPA General Counsel Matt Leopold says he wants to ensure that rule changes implementing the administration's rollbacks are "durable and defensible" so that its policies will endure, arguing the policies will save billions while also reducing pollution.

    1320 words

  • EPA Union Chief Sees Pay Freeze, Rule Rollbacks Exacerbating Staff 'Exodus'

    The head of a major EPA staff union is attacking President Donald Trump's bid to freeze pay levels for federal employees as a fresh blow to morale for an agency whose staff is already opposed to its current deregulatory agenda, saying it will exacerbate an employee "exodus" that started when EPA pursued major regulatory rollbacks.

    1345 words

  • EPA Faces 'Firestorm' After Sudden Removal Of Children's Health Chief

    The Trump EPA's decision to suddenly dismiss children's health office chief Ruth Etzel days before the start of children's health month and weeks before a meeting of its top advisors, is drawing shock and dismay from the office's supporters, with many warning that the agency is now scrambling to determine how to proceed.

    1080 words

  • EPA Taps Koch Industries' Chemical Engineer To Lead Research Office

    EPA has appointed David Dunlap, a chemical engineer with Koch Industries, as the deputy chief of its research office, a move that will provide the office with political leadership at the deputy level, which does not require Senate confirmation, while allowing the agency to avoid another bruising battle over an industry nominee for the office.

    1135 words

  • In Departure, EPA Political Appointee Tapped As OGC Deputy Chief

    In a reversal from EPA's past practice, the Trump administration has tapped a political appointee as the new top deputy in EPA's Office of General Counsel (OGC), a role that in the past has also served as the agency's top ethics official.

    579 words

  • Houston Leads Opposition To EPA's RMP Rollback Amid Florence Floods

    Citing floodwaters from Hurricane Florence that threatened industrial facilities in the Carolinas, the City of Houston, House Democrats, and former EPA staff are strongly opposing the Trump administration's rollback of an Obama-era rule strengthening EPA's facility accident prevention program, arguing it would make facilities more vulnerable to flooding.

    1035 words

  • Group Seeks More EPA Facility Safety Data After Court Expedites RMP

    A public interest group is calling for stepped-up enforcement of EPA administered industrial facility safety rules that require disclosure of facilities' data after a federal court expedited compliance with an Obama-era rule strengthening the agency's accident prevention program, even as the Trump administration seeks to roll the rule back.

    999 words