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Litigation

Second Circuit Invites Lower Court To Reverse Ruling On Superfund Cost Recovery

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit invited a lower court to reconsider the circuit's previous ruling restricting Superfund section 107 cost recovery suits to innocent landowners, noting that the Supreme Court's landmark Aviall ruling prevents polluters from recovering cleanup costs and discourages voluntary cleanups.

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ADMINISTRATION EYES NEW BILL TO PREVENT RELEASE OF LITIGATION RECORDS

The Bush administration is asking lawmakers to draft new legislation to prevent the public from obtaining records that EPA, other federal agencies and outside parties produce during settlement negotiations, arguing that growing public requests for such data are undermining government enforcement efforts.

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ACTIVISTS REITERATE PITCH FOR COURT TO BACK MOUNTAINTOP MINING RULING

Environmentalists, who won a landmark district court ruling last year halting mountaintop mining in parts of West Virginia because Army Corps of Engineers permits violated the Clean Water Act (CWA), are reiterating arguments for a federal appeals court to uphold the ruling, even though the lower court declined to address some of them.

The environmentalists are also citing arguments on which the lower court did rule, including the Corps' failure to analyze the cumulative impacts of the permitted activities.

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ACTIVISTS' SUIT CHARGES ASBESTOS PLAN VIOLATES RCRA, CLEAN AIR ACT

A public interest law firm has filed a citizen's suit under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) challenging a controversial method for abating asbestos-contaminated structures, which will serve as the first test of the legality of the approach.

The suit was filed shortly before EPA raised questions about the safety of the so-called "wet method" of demolishing asbestos-contaminated buildings, in its comments on a report prepared by the city of St. Louis, which is the defendant in the new suit.

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SMALL FARMERS EYE SUIT OVER REQUIRED FUNDING OF EPA SAFE HARBOR

Small pork producers are likely to sue the federal government over the funding mechanism for EPA's controversial enforcement safe harbor agreement with concentrated animal feeding operations, arguing farmers who do not support the initiative are being forced to pay for it through a mandatory industry fee.

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STATES, ACTIVISTS FEAR DOD SEEKS TO LIMIT CLEANUP LIABILITY AT BRAC SITES

State waste officials and environmentalists are raising concerns that the Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking to limit its future cleanup liability at military bases and other facilities slated for closure, including facilities the Pentagon earlier this month recommended for closure or realignment.

At the same time, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report that finds most of the untransferred land under the base realignment and closure (BRAC) process has remained in DOD hands because of environmental problems.

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2ND CIRCUIT INVITES LOWER COURT TO REVERSE RULING PREVENTING 107 SUITS

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit invited a lower court to reconsider the circuit's previous ruling restricting Superfund section 107 cost recovery suits to innocent landowners, noting that the Supreme Court's landmark Aviall ruling prevents polluters from obtaining cleanup costs and discourages voluntary cleanups.

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SMALL FARMERS EYE SUIT OVER REQUIRED FUNDING OF EPA SAFE HARBOR

Small pork producers are likely to sue the federal government over the funding mechanism for EPA's controversial enforcement safe harbor agreement with concentrated animal feeding operations, arguing farmers who do not support the initiative are being forced to pay for it through a mandatory industry fee.

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ADMINISTRATION EYES NEW BILL TO PREVENT RELEASE OF LITIGATION RECORDS

The Bush administration is asking lawmakers to draft new legislation to prevent the public from obtaining records that EPA, other federal agencies and outside parties produce during settlement negotiations, arguing that growing public requests for such data are undermining government enforcement efforts.

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DECISION BACKING L.A. CLEAN-FLEET RULES MAY NOT STAND, OBSERVERS SAY

A U.S. district court judge's ruling earlier this month may not survive after the court essentially reversed a Supreme Court decision that struck down the California South Coast air district's clean-fuel fleet rules, according to sources tracking the case.

The ruling -- which both sides agree opens the door for regulators nationwide to require local agencies to buy alternative-fueled vehicles -- is expected to be challenged by engine makers through either an amended motion to the district court or an appeal to the circuit court.

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