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Litigation

ACTIVISTS FIGHTING EPA RULE ALLOWING DISCHARGES UNDER EXPIRED PERMITS

Environmentalists are asking a federal district court in Hawaii to overturn a long-standing EPA regulation that allows dischargers to continue operating under expired clean water permits if the discharger has applied to renew the permit.

A victory for environmentalists could pressure EPA and state regulators to resolve an existing backlog of dischargers who are operating under expired permits, an attorney involved with the case says, noting that some dischargers have been operating under expired permits for years.

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Court Ruling May Support Bush Administration Goals For Wetlands Protection

A federal appeals court this month has backed a long-standing wetlands protection program by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), a ruling that state officials say is crucial in the wake of the Supreme Court's contentious SWANCC decision and that could help the Bush administration achieve its goal of increasing the nation's protected wetlands.

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Court Inquiry Into EPA Refinery Deal May Signal Increased Oversight

A federal district court is asking the government for more information about a proposed Clean Air Act settlement with the petroleum company Chevron, in an apparently unprecedented court inquiry into the adequacy of an agreement under EPA's long-running enforcement initiative against the refining industry, according to sources tracking the issue.

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Environmentalists Challenge EPA Policy On Expired Water Discharge Permits

Environmentalists are asking a federal district court in Hawaii to overturn a long-standing EPA regulation that allows dischargers to continue operating under expired clean water permits if the discharger has applied to renew the permit.

A victory for environmentalists could pressure EPA and state regulators to resolve an existing backlog of renewal applications by dischargers that are operating under expired permits, an attorney involved with the case says, noting that some facilities have been operating for years under expired permits.

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Court Ruling May Limit Use Of Synthetic Chemicals By Organic Food Producers

A recent federal appellate ruling will limit the amount of synthetic chemicals that food producers can use to be labeled "organic" under regulations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to environmentalists.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled Jan. 26 in Arthur Harvey v. Veneman that several provisions of USDA's rules implementing the Organic Foods Protection Act (OFPA) exceed the department's authority.

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DUKE CASE COULD HOLD KEY TO PENDING NSR SUITS AGAINST UTILITIES

A pending federal appellate court case could provide a key test for EPA's ongoing enforcement suits against utilities for allegedly violating its original new source review (NSR) rules, with many observers saying the ruling could trigger eventual Supreme Court review. The case, United States v. Duke Energy Corp., could determine how industrial facilities calculate an increase in emissions that triggers NSR requirements, industry lawyers and other legal experts say.

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APPELLATE RULING COULD LIMIT CHEMICAL USE IN ORGANIC FOOD PRODUCTION

A recent federal appellate ruling could limit the amount of pesticides and other chemicals organic food producers use and still retain "organic" labeling under Agriculture Department (USDA) rules, environmentalists say.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled Jan. 26 in Arthur Harvey v. Veneman that several provisions of USDA's rules implementing the Organic Foods Protection Act (OFPA) exceed the department's authority.

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ACTIVISTS URGE HIGH COURT TO DENY REVIEW OF LANDMARK CITIZEN SUIT RULING

Environmentalists are urging the Supreme Court to deny review of a landmark federal appeals court case that protects citizens' ability to sue industry for violations even when a state enforcement action is underway, according to a recently filed brief.

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STATES EYE TRANSFER OF CAFO WATER PERMITS TO AGRICULTURE AGENCIES

New plans by at least three states to transfer concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) water permitting authority from their environmental to agricultural departments are drawing concerns from some states and environmentalists, who say agriculture department staff may lack the water quality expertise to issue the permits.

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COURT INQUIRY INTO EPA REFINERY PACT MAY SIGNAL INCREASED SCRUTINY

A federal district court is asking the government for more information about a proposed Clean Air Act (CAA) settlement with the petroleum company Chevron, in an apparently unprecedented court inquiry into the adequacy of an agreement under EPA's long-running CAA petroleum sector enforcement initiative, sources tracking the issue say.

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