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Litigation

POTWs SEEK SANITARY SEWER POLICY TO CURTAIL COSTLY EPA ENFORCEMENT SUITS

Wastewater treatment officials have sent a sewer overflow action plan to EPA that urges the agency to develop a national sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) policy, arguing that the agency's current enforcement policies requiring zero discharges have publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) spending large amounts of money with little return.

The call for a national policy comes in the wake of failed Clinton administration efforts to promulgate a regulation governing SSOs.

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High Court Rulings Raise Doubts Over Environmental Crimes Sentencing

Recent Supreme Court rulings overturning mandatory federal sentencing guidelines are raising questions about how or whether the Justice Department (DOJ) will seek strict criminal penalties for environmental violations, DOJ and defense attorneys say.

Specifically, attorneys tracking the issue say it is unclear whether prosecutors will continue to incorporate aggravating factors -- which can lead to increased, or enhanced, sentences -- into indictments in environmental cases or whether the ruling will prompt a new prosecution approach to winning strict sentences.

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EPA Looks To Integrate Environmental Justice Concerns In Enforcement Actions

EPA has established an internal panel to recommend how the agency should begin integrating environmental justice (EJ) concerns into the agency's enforcement efforts, following criticism that the agency has failed to adequately crack down on industrial pollution affecting minority communities.

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HIGH COURT RULING RAISES SENTENCING DOUBTS IN ENVIRONMENT CRIMES SUITS

Recent Supreme Court rulings overturning mandatory federal sentencing guidelines are raising significant uncertainty over how, or whether, the Justice Department (DOJ) will seek strict sentences for criminal violations of environmental laws, DOJ and defense attorneys say.

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NEW JERSEY CLEANUP MAY TEST NEW STRATEGY FOR COST CONTRIBUTION SUITS

New Jersey efforts to require liable parties to remediate a former military site could test whether settling plaintiffs can use an alternative provision of Superfund law to recover cleanup costs after the Supreme Court limited the more widely used part of the law in its Aviall ruling.

The case could test whether administrative settlements are sufficient to meet requirements in alternative sections of the law for settling plaintiffs to bring contribution suits against non-compliant parties.

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INDUSTRY COULD FACE TOUGH PRECEDENT IN APPEAL OF DATA QUALITY CASE

An industry appeal of a court decision rejecting its ability to seek judicial review of a government study under the Information Quality Act (IQA) faces a significant hurdle because of a prior ruling in the same appellate circuit denying review of an agency action, some legal experts say.

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RULING COULD PROMPT SUIT TO FORCE EPA WATER PERMITS FOR PESTICIDE USE

A recent federal district court ruling could prompt a new round of litigation seeking to force EPA to issue clean water permits for pesticide use, because a pending agency guidance will likely say such permits are not required, attorneys following the issue say.

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INDUSTRY FEARS SWEEPING IMPACT FROM TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTION SUIT

U.S. industry groups are urging a federal appeals court to overturn a recent district court ruling that found federal Superfund law can apply to transboundary contamination, saying the decision could prompt widespread retaliation against U.S. companies by a host of foreign governments over air and water pollution that crosses international borders.

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KEY UTILITY LAWYER SUGGESTS 'GLOBAL SETTLEMENT' TO RESOLVE NSR SUITS

A key industry lawyer is suggesting that EPA, states, utilities, environmentalists and others involved in ongoing new source review (NSR) lawsuits may need to enter "global settlement" talks to resolve the litigation in exchange for the industry agreeing to implement standards in the agency's pending clear air interstate rule (CAIR).

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EPA SEEKS TO INTEGRATE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN ENFORCEMENT

EPA has established an internal panel to recommend how the agency should begin integrating environmental justice (EJ) concerns into the agency's enforcement efforts, EPA sources say, following criticism that the agency has failed to adequately crack down on industrial pollution affecting minority communities.

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