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Litigation

Agency Coalition Creates System To Share Environment Data In Policy Decisions

A coalition of EPA, state and tribal officials is developing a first-of-a-kind system for sharing environmental studies among different government entities and EPA program offices in an effort to strengthen the development of environmental policy.

But some industry officials question whether the effort would pressure companies to make costly changes to their current practice of submitting data to regulatory agencies.

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EPA Invokes Seldom-Used Superfund Power In Precedent-Setting Cleanup Plan

EPA is close to finalizing an agreement with Massachusetts that relies on little-used Superfund authority allowing states to "enhance" some cleanup plans, which will permit the state to include navigational dredging in EPA's contaminated sediment remedy for New Bedford harbor.

Invoking the authority will allow Massachusetts to streamline permitting requirements for disposal of sediment from the two projects, reduce disposal costs, coordinate monitoring and increase coordination between the two dredging projects, EPA says.

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Environmentalists Cite 'Dirty-Bomb' Cleanup Standard In Attack On Bush 9/11 Response

The Sierra Club says upcoming federal cleanup standards for "dirty-bomb" attacks that will be weaker than acceptable Superfund cleanup levels are key pieces of evidence that the Bush administration is developing policies based on failed government efforts to protect public health in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001.

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EPA Launches Major State Enforcement Review To Ensure Consistency

CHICAGO -- EPA has launched an effort to craft uniform procedures for assessing state enforcement programs following concerns that inconsistent federal oversight creates competitive disadvantages among states, an EPA enforcement official said at a state regulators' meeting here.

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Court Ruling Allows Outside Parties To Challenge EPA Appeals Board Decisions

In a landmark ruling, a federal appeals court has concluded that interested parties have the right to challenge decisions by EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), even if those parties were not allowed to intervene in the initial case.

The EAB is the final word on administrative appeals for all major environmental statutes that EPA administers. Parties wishing to challenge an EAB decision must go to federal court.

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DOJ Revises Environmental Indictments In Key Case To Win Stricter Sentences

The Supreme Court's recent ruling overturning Washington state's criminal sentencing guidelines is prompting the Justice Department (DOJ) to revise its indictments in a key environmental crimes case -- along with a host of other pending criminal suits -- to ensure it can still win strict sentences for defendants in the sentencing phase of the trial.

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Court Ruling Allows Outside Parties To Challenge EPA Appeals Board Decisions

In a landmark ruling, a federal appeals court has concluded that interested parties have the right to challenge decisions by EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), even if those parties were not allowed to intervene in the initial case.

The EAB is the final word on administrative appeals for all major environmental statutes that EPA administers. Parties wishing to challenge an EAB decision must go to federal court.

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EPA Enforcement Directive Allows New Water Discharges From Gulf Drilling

A new EPA directive will allow new water discharges from oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while the agency works to complete Clean Water Act permit requirements for the facilities. The directive was issued following criticism from industry and a member of Congress that the delayed water act requirements were slowing oil and gas production and exacerbating rising fuel prices.

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Inspector General Report Underscores Budget Constraints For EPA Enforcement

A new EPA inspector general (IG) report calling on the enforcement office to improve its tracking of progress under a refining industry enforcement initiative appears to underscore the overall resource pressures faced by the agency as it tries to measure the effectiveness of past industry settlements while pursuing new enforcement actions.

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Industry, Utilities Oppose Lawsuit To Expand Clean Water Permitting Requirements

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and municipal utilities are preparing to fight a lawsuit by an outdoor recreation group that could significantly expand the authority of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to address aesthetic concerns -- such as odor -- under the law's permitting program.

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