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Litigation

ENERGY, DEFENSE ALLEGEDLY BALKING AT FEDERAL NRD SETTLEMENT PLAN

A government effort to encourage natural resource damage (NRD) settlements at federal facilities and privately owned Superfund sites is facing opposition from the Energy Department (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD) -- federal agencies that face massive NRD liability -- even as the program has received support from the White House through a recent executive order, according to government sources.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS EYE SUIT OVER MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM EIS

Environmentalists are objecting to the Defense Department's programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for its missile defense system, saying it inadequately considers the environmental risks posed by the project -- notably the potential release of the rocket fuel component perchlorate -- and are threatening to sue if the PEIS is not significantly altered to address their concerns.

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CITIZENS GROUP MULLS NEW LEGAL CHALLENGE TO SUNSHINE CANYON LANDFILL

The embattled Los Angeles-area Sunshine Canyon landfill may face another legal challenge by a group of citizens that live near the dump, this time over a supplemental environmental review document. If filed, the suit will challenge plans by the landfill's operator, Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), to consolidate city and county requirements into one permit.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS, INDUSTRY REMAIN SPLIT OVER KEY ASPECTS OF EJ PLAN

With comments due shortly on Cal/EPA's Environmental Justice (EJ) Action Plan, environmentalists and industry officials remain split over how the agency should define and address the controversial concepts of cumulative impacts and precautionary approaches.

Cal/EPA will use the comments, which are due Jan. 3, and data from its not-yet initiated pilot projects to craft a working definition of the two controversial concepts.

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Court Rejects Novel Superfund Challenge To Radioactive Water Releases

A federal court has rejected a novel legal challenge to a controversial Superfund plan backed by EPA that would allow a trust of liable parties to discharge radioactive water from a contaminated site into a local sewer system, concluding that the challenge violates the law's bar on judicial review of cleanup decisions. In a Dec. 10 decision in Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders, et al. v. GEMS Phase II Trust, the U.S.

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ENVIRONMENTALISTS EYE RENEWED LITIGATION OVER WASTE INCINERATOR RULE

Environmentalists are considering fresh legal action against EPA arguing that a proposed air regulation for a category of waste incinerators falls far short of a court-ordered agreement.

Earthjustice and Sierra Club say they may go back to court under the existing consent decree, or file a new lawsuit, to try and force a more stringent standard should EPA finalize what they consider a weak maximum achievable control technology (MACT) requirements for the last remaining category of hazardous waste incinerators to be regulated by the agency's air toxics program.

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CRITICS DOUBT DOE VOW TO APPLY CERCLA RULES AT ACCELERATED CLEANUPS

The Energy Department's (DOE) recent commitment to use nine Superfund factors to determine cleanup levels at its sites slated for accelerated cleanup is drawing skepticism from state and tribal officials and other DOE critics, who say the commitment is too vague and does not bind DOE to follow strict cleanup requirements.

The new DOE plan, which comes after years of criticisms from EPA, states and other critics, follows recent complaints from some DOE site managers that the accelerated cleanup program was failing.

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FEDERAL COURT REJECTS NOVEL LEGAL CHALLENGE TO SUPERFUND REMEDY

A federal court has rejected a novel legal challenge to a controversial plan backed by EPA that would allow a trust of liable parties to discharge radioactive water from a Superfund site into a local sewer system, concluding that the challenge violates Superfund's bar on judicial review of cleanup decisions.

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HILL FIX EYED AFTER SUPREME COURT RULING LIMITS VOLUNTARY CLEANUPS

Industry and local government sources say they will push Congress to amend the Superfund law after the Supreme Court ruled that polluters voluntarily remediating Superfund and other contaminated sites must first obtain a judicial settlement or court order before suing other responsible parties to recover cleanup costs.

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STATE COURT RULES AGAINST COST CONSIDERATION IN STORMWATER PERMITS

Developers may appeal a landmark California appellate decision that could be the first in the nation to excuse a state from considering cost when setting permit limits for stormwater runoff, attorneys familiar with the case say.

Attorneys representing developers say the decision could force industry to install costly technology to meet strict California water quality standards governing stormwater runoff -- instead of relying on best management practices (BMPs) used in the past that may or may not have ensured compliance with the standards.

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