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Litigation

NEW EPA TECHNOLOGY GROUP SEEKS TO TACKLE HIGH-PROFILE PROBLEMS

EPA's newly formed Environmental Technology Council (ETC) -- an agency clearinghouse intended to boost the use of innovative technologies to address environmental problems -- is targeting 10 high-profile environmental problem areas, including boosting compliance with expensive drinking water rules, limiting agricultural pollution and using new monitoring technologies to assist enforcement.

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POTWs SEEK RULING IN BLENDING LAWSUIT REGARDLESS OF EPA GUIDANCE

Wastewater industry attorneys are urging a federal appeals court to rule in a pending suit against EPA on whether publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) are allowed to blend treated and untreated wastewater -- regardless of whether the agency finalizes an interim guidance that may allow the practice early next year, according to an industry brief.

"Even if EPA finalizes its draft blending policy this matter will not be mooted," three municipal wastewater groups say in their Nov. 17 brief. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com.

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NEW OREGON 'TAKINGS' BALLOT FACES LITIGATION OVER IMPLEMENTATION

The recently-approved Oregon ballot measure allowing land owners to be seek compensation for reductions in property value due to the state's strict wetlands and other land use regulations appears likely to withstand legal scrutiny on its merits but face extensive litigation over how it is implemented, proponents and opponents say.

Litigation over the ballot measure could hamper pending challenges by environmentalists seeking to use state land-use laws to tighten municipal separate storm sewer permits to control nonpoint sources.

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HIGH COURT DENIES CHEMICAL MAKER'S PETITION; DTSC OWED $1.2 MILLION

A major chemical company must pay the toxics department $1.2 million in oversight costs incurred through a Los Angeles County site cleanup, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied the company's petition of a lower court ruling. The court's decision essentially upholds and clarifies existing law with regard to statute of limitations provisions contained in the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA), or Superfund law, according to the department.

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Canadian Firm Appeals Landmark International Superfund Ruling

A Canadian company accused of polluting a Washington state lake with mining waste has appealed a landmark federal district court ruling that found U.S. Superfund law can apply to hazardous releases originating in other countries.

The unprecedented Nov. 8 ruling by Judge Alan McDonald of the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Washington allows a citizen's suit filed by a Washington tribe under federal Superfund law, also known as CERCLA, to proceed.

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Tank Spill Ruling Limits Federal Judicial Review Of State Actions

A recent federal appellate ruling in a case involving a possible $76 million fine for an underground storage tank (UST) spill further limits the ability of private parties to seek federal judicial review of state administrative proceedings, according to an attorney familiar with the case.

While federal courts are generally barred from reviewing state administrative actions, a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gibson v. Berryhill, allows such lawsuits when state agencies demonstrate clear bias against a party, the attorney says.

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JUDGE'S REJECTION OF DATA QUALITY SUIT SEEN AS 'SETBACK' FOR INDUSTRY

A judge's rejection of an industry suit seeking federal court review of the data EPA and other agencies use to make decisions is being viewed as a setback for industry officials who hoped the decision would set a precedent allowing courts to review agencies' data decisions.

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SAB PANEL EYES INCREASED PENALTIES FOR ILLEGAL COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

An EPA peer review panel is likely to recommend a method of calculating economic benefits that could dramatically increase fines for companies that gain a competitive advantage from violating environmental laws, panelists indicated at a recent teleconference on the agency's illegal competitive advantage (ICA) policy.

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NEW EPA TECHNOLOGY GROUP SEEKS TO TACKLE HIGH-PROFILE PROBLEMS

EPA's newly formed Environmental Technology Council (ETC) -- an agency clearinghouse intended to boost the use of innovative technologies to address environmental problems -- is targeting 10 high-profile environmental problem areas, including boosting compliance with expensive drinking water rules, limiting agricultural pollution and using new monitoring technologies to assist enforcement.

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FEDERAL COURT REJECTS NEPA INJUNCTION, CITING NATIONAL DEFENSE

A federal district court has rejected Native Hawaiian groups' initial efforts to stop the Army from expanding its training activities in Hawaii, arguing that national defense concerns should be given more weight than any potential harm to the environment or cultural resources.

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