Water Feed

EPA’s Safer Choice Program Awards

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

EPA’s Safer Choice program (formerly Design for the Environment) recognizes products that meet stringent ingredient and product level criteria. Safer Choice products do not contain  carcinogens or reproductive or developmental toxins. The program helps consumers and commercial buyers identify and select products with safer chemical ingredients without sacrificing quality or performance.

EPA Safer Choice

According to EPA, there are over 2,000 products that currently qualify for the Safer Choice label. This summer, EPA’s new Safer Choice labels began appearing on consumer products such as household soaps and cleaners. To qualify for the Safer Choice label, a product must meet stringent human and environmental health criteria.

In the first  year of the Safer Choice Partner of the Year awards, the Chicago/Region V area has more winners than any other part of the country. Local award winners include: AkzoNobel/Chicago; ISSA, The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association/Northbrook; Jelmar, LLC/Skokie; Loyola University Chicago, Institute of Environmental Sustainability/Chicago; and Stepan Company/Northfield. Nationwide, 21 entities won EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year awards. EPA confirms there are nearly 500 formulator-manufacturer partners that make more than 2,000 products for retail and institutional customers.

More information about the Safer Choice program is available at http://www2.epa.gov/saferchoice.


EPA Finalizes 2015 Revisions to the 1988 RCRA Underground Storage Tank Regulations

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Bandza_Alexander_COLORBy Alexander J. Bandza

Last week, on July 15, 2015, the US EPA revised the 1988 underground storage tank (UST) regulation and the 1988 state program approval (SPA) regulation.  Some of these changes had their roots in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which set out additional requirements in states that received federal RCRA Subtitle I money from EPA.  Part of the impetus for this regulation was to apply these changes to Indian country and all states.  Other changes relate to revising the regulations in light of technological changes and challenges that have surfaced over the years.  The effective date of the regulations is October 13, 2015.  Some of the key changes are set out below.

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New EPA Report: Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

A new EPA report, Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, estimates the physical and monetary benefits to the U.S. of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The report summarizes results from the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project, a peer-reviewed study comparing impacts in a future with significant global action on climate change to a future in which current greenhouse gas emissions to continue to rise.

The report shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy. The report and its finding perhaps foreshadow the U.S. participation in the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris, France later this year, from November 30 through December 11. This will be the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP 11) to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Once again, the conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate from all of the nations of the world.

Below is a video developed by EPA discussing the report and its findings.

 


Jenner & Block Recognized as #1 Pro Bono Firm

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

Jenner & Block has been recognized by The American Lawyer in its 2015 rankings as the No. 1 law firm in the United States for pro bono service. This is the second consecutive year the firm as ranked No. 1 and the sixth time we have done so in the past eight years. The firm also has been included among the top 10 pro bono programs in the United States every year since the AmLaw initiated the survey in 1990.

In an article published this month titled “Treading Water,” The American Lawyer highlighted the important work of one of Jenner & Block’s Environmental and Workplace Health & Safety lawyers—Gay Sigel.

Gabrielle Sigel

In 2014, the biggest investment of time—1,553 hours—was for the ongoing representation of environmental groups, including the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Natural Resources Defense Council in a Clean Water Act suit against the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago over its discharge of raw sewage into area waterways and Lake Michigan. Gay was the lead attorney and presented oral arguments in this case last February.  Gay is quoted as saying “If we win, this will change the Chicago rivers from a giant sewage conduit to the swimmable and fishable waterways that the Clean Water Act requires.”

A final judgment was issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirming the District Court ruling in favor of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago on July 9.

We are proud to be a part of the pro bono tradition at Jenner & Block. Congratulations to Gay on this important environmental work and special recognition from The American Lawyer.


Red Tuna Crabs Overrun CA Beaches

PictureBy E. Lynn Grayson

 

Masses of small red tuna crabs have been washing up along San Diego, California area beaches from Ocean Beach to La Jolla. The species, Pleuroncodes planipes, is unique in that it can live its entire life cycle, from larva to adulthood, in the water column from surface to seafloor. Accordingly, it can be particularly vulnerable to being carried along by winds, tides, and currents.

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World Environment Day—June 5

PictureBy E. Lynn Grayson

 

World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. The WED theme this year is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume With Care.” Learn more about WED, other UN environmental initiatives, and celebrations around the world today at http://www.unep.org/wed.

  


EPA Denies Request to Ban Trisclosan

PictureBy E. Lynn Grayson

 

EPA has denied the January 14, 2010 petition submitted by the Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides to ban the antimicrobial pesticide triclosan. The petition requested that EPA take the following regulatory actions:

  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA): (1) reopen the Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED); (2) issue a notice of cancellation of the registrations of all products containing triclosan; and (3) concurrently issue an emergency order to immediately suspend the existing triclosan registrations.

  • Clean Water Act (CWA): (1) impose technology-based effluent limitations; (2) establish healthbased toxic pollutant water quality pretreatment requirements; and (3) impose biosolids regulation for triclosan.

  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): conduct a comprehensive assessment of the appropriateness of regulating triclosan under SDWA.

  • Endangered Species Act (ESA): (1) conduct a biological assessment; and (2) engage in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce.

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Final Version of Controversial Clean Water Rule Announced: Does EPA Have Jurisdiction Over Your Ditch?

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Torrence_Allison_COLORBy Allison A. Torrence

 

On May 29, 2015, the Obama administration released the final version of its highly controversial Clean Water Rule. President Obama declared that the new rule “will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable.” Republicans do not agree with the President’s sentiment, as was quickly made clear by House Speaker John Boehner, who sees the Clean Water Rule as “a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs.”

The main point of the Clean Water Rule is to define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). If a water is protected under the CWA, any person who discharges pollutants into that water needs a CWA permit. Likewise, operations that would dredge or fill a water under CWA jurisdiction also need permits.

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EPA Revises Its Regulatory Agenda, A Flurry of Activity Expected in the Next Few Months

Bandza_Alexander_COLORBy Alexander J. Bandza

 

Last week, the EPA-specific listing on the website of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs was updated with timelines on the EPA’s regulatory efforts.   Of potential interest, in chronological order of expected release, are the following rules:

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New Jersey Assembly Unanimously Passes Bill Broadly Allocating Liability and Damages for Hazardous Substance Discharges from Offshore Drilling Platforms

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Bandza_Alexander_COLORBy Alexander J. Bandza

 

Last week, the New Jersey Assembly unanimously passed a bill, A4258, which is notably broad in its language on allocating liability and damages for releases of hazardous substances from offshore drilling platforms.  The bill would supplement N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11, the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, which defines hazardous substances to include petroleum and petroleum products.  The bill sets out that potentially liable parties include “[a]ny person who discharges a hazardous substance from a drilling platform” or “is in any way responsible for a hazardous substance that is discharged from a drilling platform.”  (Emphasis added.)  This discharge need not occur within the jurisdiction of New Jersey so long as the hazardous substance eventually “enters the waters of the State.”  Persons that meet the above two conditions are “strictly, jointly and severally [liable], without regard to fault,” for:

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