CPSC and HUD: Defnitely Remove that Drywall. And Wiring, and Gas Pipes, and...

by Ben Somberg | April 02, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released "interim remediation guidance" today for those affected by contaminated drywall (release, full guidance). CPSC had also recently released new lab test results showing high sulfur emissions from certain drywall samples. The agencies conclude:

Based on scientific study of the problem to date, HUD and CPSC recommend consumers remove all possible problem drywall from their homes, and replace electrical components and wiring, gas ...

EPA Drops the Hammer on Mountaintop Removal

by Holly Doremus | April 01, 2010
Cross-posted from Legal Planet. Last week, I reported on EPA’s proposed veto of a Clean Water Act section 404 permit for a major mountaintop removal coal mining project in West Virginia. My view at the time was something along the lines of two-and-a-half cheers. I wrote that it was very good news, but didn’t articulate principals for distinguishing between acceptable and unacceptable mountaintop removal. Setting the proposed veto next to approval of the Hobet 45 project in January, EPA had ...

Climate Legislation Federalism Choices: Reflections After Murkowski, Brown and in Anticipation of the Forthcoming Kerry-Graham-Lieberman Bill

by William Buzbee | April 01, 2010
Federalism battles over state roles under federal climate legislation may have appeared settled, but they are once again under debate. The previous leading bills–the Waxman-Markey bill passed by the House, and the Boxer-Kerry bill passed out of a committee in the Senate–lost momentum several months ago. After several months of legislative inaction, Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman have been working on a new piece of climate legislation. After the senators’ comments indicated that this bill might broadly undercut state and ...

Big Chicken Plays Chicken Little in Maryland While Assaulting Academic Freedom and Access to Justice in the Meantime

by Shana Campbell Jones | March 31, 2010
The proverbial poop has hit the fan in Maryland this month after two environmental groups – the Assateague Coastal Trust and the Waterkeeper Alliance – sued Perdue Farms, Inc. and Hudson Farm, a Perdue-contract chicken factory farm in Berlin, Maryland, for violating the Clean Water Act. Water sampling from ditches next to Hudson Farm found high levels of fecal coliform and E. coli. Phosphorus and nitrogen – nutrients killing the Chesapeake Bay – were also found. The two environmental groups ...

50 OIRAs? Another State (New Jersey) Drinks the Regulatory Review Kool-Aid

by James Goodwin | March 29, 2010
It’s official: Centralized regulatory review is trickling down to the states. Last month, in one of his very first actions as the newly elected Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie issued a pair of sweeping executive orders (no. 1 and no. 2) mandating centralized review of all state agency regulations to ensure that they are justified by cost-benefit analysis (CBA). The orders’ provisions mirror those of a controversial executive order issued by New York Governor David Paterson last August (for ...

EPA Proposes to Veto Mountaintop Removal Project

by Holly Doremus | March 26, 2010
Cross-posted from Legal Planet. EPA’s seesaw on mountaintop removal mining continues. Last time I wrote about this topic it was to note EPA’s approval of the Hobet 45 project. Today, EPA announced that it is proposing to veto the Spruce No. 1 project, as it had threatened last fall. Should EPA follow through on its proposal, this would be its first veto of a Clean Water Act section 404 permit since 1990. Publication of the proposal in the Federal Register ...

If Not at Yucca Mountain, then Where?

by Holly Doremus | March 26, 2010
Cross-posted from Legal Planet. Last August, Dan announced “The Death of Yucca Mountain,” pointing to a news story in which Senator Harry Reid ( D – Nev.) declared that he had dealt a fatal blow to plans to store high-level radioactive waste in a repository there. The Department of Energy sought to pull the plug on the project once and for all early this month, when it filed a motion to withdraw its application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for ...

New Health and Safety Journalism Publication Launches Today

by James Goodwin | March 24, 2010
Today, FairWarning—a new non-profit online news journal focusing on stories involving worker and consumer protection issues—went live. On its first day, the site offered dozens of short news stories along with three longer investigative pieces. FairWarning says its mission is “to arm consumers and workers with valuable information, and to spotlight reckless business practices and lax oversight by government agencies.” The organization says that the mainstream media is no longer able to play this “watchdog” role effectively due to shrinking ...

Incorporating the Best of Cantwell-Collins into KGL: Don't Forget the Missing Instrument

by David Driesen | March 24, 2010
Last week, Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman (KGL) reportedly released an 8-page outline for a bill mitigating climate disruption that they are crafting in order to try to break the deadlock that has heretofore blocked legislation in the Senate. ClimateWire reported that the KGL bill would incorporate ideas from the bill introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell (D. Wash.) and Susan Collins (R. Maine), the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act. That incorporation might be a good thing, ...

Republicans Senators Target Fee Recoveries in Public Interest Suits Against Federal Agencies

by Dan Rohlf | March 23, 2010
A small group of Senate Republicans – most from conservative western states – have introduced a bill (available via E&E, subs. required) that would require the federal government to annually disclose a list of attorney fee awards it has given to allow public interest plaintiffs to recover expenses when they have successfully challenged decisions of federal agencies. Introduction of the bills was prodded by allegations from Karen Budd-Falen, a Wyoming-based attorney whose firm represents a variety of resource user groups, ...

A Tale of Two Countries: Lessons from Australia for Water Law in the United States?

by Yee Huang | March 22, 2010
This post is the first in a monthly series on topics of international environmental law and environmental laws in other countries. Today’s post looks at the evolution of Australia’s water laws. Australia is one of the driest continents on the planet, making the country a necessary laboratory for innovative approaches to water management and governance. Australia is characterized by a sparsely populated, semi-arid interior that is dominated by agriculture and the relatively water-abundant coastal edges that are home to the ...

Congress Considers Higher OSHA Penalties (Again)

by Sidney Shapiro | March 19, 2010
The Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing Tuesday on the Protecting America’s Workers Act of 2009, legislation that would, among other reforms, modernize workplace health and safety penalties. More than a decade ago, I testified at a similar hearing in the House of Representatives on the same subject. The need for stronger OSHA penalties was apparent then, and it is no less apparent today. The hearing is memorable to me because I testified ...

McGarity Op-ed in Austin American-Statesman Critiques TCEQ Water Proposal

by Ben Somberg | March 19, 2010
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has recently proposed to weaken water quality standards in the state. As the Austin American-Statesman reported earlier this week,  The proposal would draw new categories for Texas' waterways, basing regulations on how much humans have contact with them. And it would raise the amount of allowable bacteria in the waterways before they are considered impaired, requiring local and state authorities to monitor and clean them. Today CPR Member Scholar Thomas McGarity has an op-ed ...

Climate Change Adaptation Progress: Administration Releases Interim Report on Strategy for a Strategy

by Shana Campbell Jones | March 18, 2010
Tuesday, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released an Interim Progress Report of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, a group charged by President Obama in Executive Order 13514 to develop (by Fall 2010) recommendations for the federal government for adapting to climate change. More than 20 federal agencies, departments, and offices are participating in the task force. The ...

Trading Up: A National Model for Stormwater Pollution Trading?

by Yee Huang | March 17, 2010
This week Water Policy Report (subs. required) reported on EPA’s exercise of residual designation authority (RDA) over stormwater discharges and a pilot stormwater-reduction trading program in Massachusetts. Together, these actions have the potential to significantly reduce stormwater discharges into local waterways. If successful, this pilot trading program could be a template for similar trading programs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and across the country. Stormwater discharges occur when impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops, and parking lots channel high volumes ...

Congressional Hearings Today

by Ben Somberg | March 16, 2010
A few congressional hearings today we're keeping an eye on: Catch Shares. The House Natural Resources' Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife will discuss "catch shares" as a fisheries management policy. Previously, CPR Member Scholar Rebecca Bratspies discussed the limitations of catch shares, and in December applauded NOAA for moving forward cautiously. Protecting America's Workers Act. The House Education and Labor's Workforce Protection Subcommittee will discuss HR 2067, which would amend the OSH Act to protect more workers and increase ...

Did California Prius Driver Press the Brake Pedal Hard? WSJ Says No; Congressional Memo Says Yes

by Ben Somberg | March 15, 2010
The Wall Street Journal had what seemed like a major scoop over the weekend: A federal safety investigation of the Toyota Prius that was involved in a dramatic incident on a California highway last week found a particular pattern of wear on the car's brakes that raises questions about the driver's version of the event, three people familiar with the investigation said. ... During and after the incident, Mr. Sikes said he was using heavy pressure on his brake pedal ...

Drywall Trial Begins Today in New Orleans

by Ben Somberg | March 15, 2010
A year after the contaminated drywall story went big, a "test trial" over damages from the material begins today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The court has posted documents regarding the case here, and outlets covering the case include the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Bradenton Herald, and Palm Beach Post. ...

Workers' Memorial Day 2018

Tracy | Apr 25, 2018 | Workers' Rights

Recipe: Turning the House's Lemon of a Farm Bill into Lemonade

Ristino | Apr 25, 2018 | Environmental Policy

Scholars Call Out Congressional Committee for 'Mythification' of NEPA

Goodwin | Apr 24, 2018 | Environmental Policy

Promoting Energy Innovation

Farber | Apr 13, 2018 | Energy

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