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Litigation

BIAS CLAIM EXPECTED TO CHANGE JUDGE IN LANDMARK ACRYLAMIDE CASES

A new judge is expected to take over landmark Proposition 65 cases regarding the food chemical acrylamide, after one of the plaintiff group lawyers challenged the current judge's impartiality in the pending cases. The lawsuits are shinning new light on the health hazard office, which has been contemplating for more than two years several regulatory proposals to address the acrylamide issue under the toxics warning law. It is because of the office's proceedings that several major acrylamide cases have been stayed for years.

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APPELLATE CASE TESTS WRCB WATER RIGHTS FEES ON FEDERAL ENTITIES

Water agencies and farmers this week filed opening briefs in their appeal of a controversial water rights fee case attorneys say may end up in the state Supreme Court. They hope the case will set a precedent for whether the state can impose water rights fees on federal contractors, and decide once and for all the question of whether the fee is actually an illegal tax. But the state water board plans to defend the fees, and recently moved to raise some of the fees.

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WRCB IMPAIRED WATER BODY LIST CHANGES SPARK NEW ANXIETIES

The water board's newly revised draft list of impaired water bodies is generating substantial stakeholder concerns, including regional water board apprehension over exotic species inclusion and environmental and local government anxiety over the removal of more than 100 bodies from the list.

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Activists Eye Lawsuit As EPA Exempts Sources From Incineration Rule

Environmentalists are likely to file a lawsuit challenging an EPA final rule that defines industrial incinerators subject to air toxics standards, because it includes language that exempts potentially thousands of facilities from compliance, activist sources say.

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SAB Seeks Improvements In Louisiana Hurricane Debris Disposal Plan

As Louisiana officials prepare to dispose of mountains of waste and debris stemming from hurricane damage, EPA science advisers are urging EPA and state officials to expand and improve air monitoring and carefully consider their waste disposal methods because the state's disposal plans will release scores of contaminants, including asbestos, lead, mercury and other toxics.

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EPA Plan To Waive Asbestos Rules Could Prompt Class-Action Suits

Former EPA and other federal attorneys say agency officials could face class-action lawsuits similar to those filed after the Sept. 11 attacks if the agency proceeds with plans to waive Clean Air Act rules limiting emissions of asbestos to ease disposal of hurricane-related debris. EPA lays out in its Oct.

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SUIT CHALLENGES WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

A review board at the Department of Labor (DOL) is considering a case that could overturn long-standing precedents allowing federal employees to enjoy special whistleblower protections under the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws, in a dispute that is likely to end up in federal court.

The board is citing a decision it issued earlier this year, ruling that environmental whistleblower protections do not extend to state employees -- raising questions about whether federal employees are protected or not.

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ACTIVISTS EYE LAWSUIT AS EPA EXEMPTS SOURCES FROM INCINERATION MACT

Environmentalists are likely to file a lawsuit challenging an EPA final rule that defines industrial incinerators subject to air toxics standards, because it includes language that exempts potentially thousands of facilities from compliance, activist sources say.

EPA and some industry sources counter that the exemptions are likely to affect only a handful of incinerator units that are not emitting significant amounts of air toxics, and the units are necessary for useful energy recovery purposes.

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Suit Challenges Whistleblower Protections In Environmental Laws

A review board at the Department of Labor (DOL) is considering a case that could overturn long-standing precedents allowing federal employees to enjoy special whistleblower protections under the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws, in a dispute that is likely to end up in federal court.

The board is citing a decision it issued earlier this year, ruling that environmental whistleblower protections do not extend to state employees -- raising questions about whether federal employees are protected or not.

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Trial Lawyers Weigh Environmental Tort Claims In Hurricane Aftermath

Plaintiffs' attorneys are considering legal theories for bringing class-action litigation against oil and chemical companies for contamination and other environmental impacts associated with the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes, which would add to a growing number of environmental lawsuits already filed in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, according to legal and industry sources.

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