Water Feed

Lynn Grayson and Steven Siros Publish Article on U.S. Legal and Regulatory Developments in Nanotechnology


 By Allison A. Torrence



Lynn Grayson and Steven Siros have published an article in the most recent issue of DRI’s Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Newsletter titled Nanotechnology: U.S. Legal and Regulatory Developments. In the article, Ms. Grayson and Mr. Siros discuss how nanotechnology affects every sector of the U.S. economy and impacts our lives in a myriad of ways through the 1,600 nanotechnology-based consumer goods and products we use on a daily basis. The article provides an overview of how nanotechnology is defined, insights on the regulatory framework and recent developments, possible concerns about nanomaterial use, and risk management considerations for U.S. businesses utilizing nanotechnology.

The full article is available here.

California Bans Microbeads

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson


California is the ninth state to ban microbeads with passage of an aggressive new law prohibiting the tiny plastics beads by 2020. As the largest state to ban microbeads, this new California legislation appears to make it a virtual certainty that microbeads will be phased out across the country and possibly even through federal legislation.

Unlike bans enacted in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, A.B. 888 provides no exemptions for biodegradable plastic or a process to win approval for such an exemption. Both Michigan and Washington also are considering microbead bans.

Many personal care product manufacturers already have agreed to phase out the use of microbeads in their products over the next few years. Industry representatives agree there are alternatives and other options to replace the sector’s reliance upon microbeads. A new study concludes that 8 trillion bits of plastic enter oceans and lakes from the U.S. every day. The study also provides further support for the ban on microbeads to improve marine, environmental and public health.

Companies Support Paris Climate Agreement

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson 

UN Conference on Climate Change

Fourteen major corporations based or operating in the U.S. have voiced strong support for the adoption of a new global settlement agreement. The companies endorsed a statement organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) calling for negotiators at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris to adopt “a more balanced and durable multilateral framework guiding and strengthening national efforts to address climate change.” The corporations supporting the C2ES statement include Alcoa, Alstrom, BHP Billiton, BP, Calpine, HP, Intel, Lafargeholcim, National Grid, PG&E, Rio Tinto, Schneider Electric, Shell, and Siemens Corporation.

The statement speaks to how a meaningful agreement could strengthen the role of and minimize risks to the private sector in the following ways:

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Sustainable Energy Developments

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson 

A youth cools himself off at a water fountain near Marina Bay in Singapore July 27, 2015. Fifty years ago, Singapore was rationing water and struggling with smelly rivers devoid of fish and choked with waste from shipbuilding, pig and duck farms, and toilets that emptied directly into the streams. At that time, the 700 sq km island nation relied on three protected reservoirs and water imported from neighbouring Malaysia. Today, Singapore collects rainwater from two-thirds of its land through an 8,000-km drain network into 17 reservoirs; reclaims "used water" from a deep tunnel sewerage system up to 60 m below ground; and is developing technology to halve the energy used to desalinate seawater. Picture taken July 31, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su  - RTX1MS4LToday Thomson Reuters’ published my blog, Executive Perspective: UN Sustainable Development Summit: Sustainable Energy Developments. The blog details the new 2030 UN Sustainability Development Agenda and how the recently adopted sustainable developments goals (SDGs) will influence sustainable energy growth around the world in the coming years.

Thomson Reuters’ Sustainability blog provides a wealth of information and resources on this important topic. I like to review the Editors’ Picks to get see the latest and most interesting sustainability developments.

Continuing Efforts to Ban Microbeads

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson 

Microbeads in waterThe District of Columbia (D.C.)  is the latest to propose a ban on microbeads starting January 1, 2018. The proposed ban, part of D.C.’s omnibus fisheries and wildlife bill aimed at ensuring marine areas and waterways remain pollutant-free, is one of the more aggressive approaches prohibiting the supply, manufacture, or import of personal care products containing microbeads. Fines up to $37,500 may be imposed for failure to comply with the ban.

Eight states, including Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, as well as Erie County, New York, have laws banning the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads starting as early as January 1, 2017.

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US EPA Publishes Proposed List of National Enforcement Initiatives for FY2017–19

Bandza_Alexander_COLOR By Alexander J. Bandza


On September 15, 2015, US EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance published a proposed list of national enforcement initiatives (NEIs) for fiscal years 2017–19.  This latest NEI list includes NEIs from the last round (FY2014–16) as well as three new potential NEIs that US EPA is considering. 

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U.S. EPA Ordered to Pay Attorneys' Fee Sanction In Clean Water Act Lawsuit

Blog 1

Siros_Steven_COLORBy Steven M. Siros


On August 30, 2015, a federal district court judge in Texas granted a developer’s motion for summary judgment against the United States and ordered the Government to reimburse the developer’s legal fees incurred in defending the Government’s lawsuit as a result of conduct that the court characterized as being “oppressive and dishonest.”  According to the district court, in 2004, the developer began developing several tracts of land located in north Houston.  In 2007, an investigator with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) advised the developer to stop developing its property because the property contained wetlands that U.S. EPA contended constituted jurisdictional waters of the United States.  In May 2010, the United States sued the developer for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), and more specifically, for discharging fill into what the United States contended were waters of the United States without a CWA permit.

The court rejected the United States’ claims that the developer filled wetlands constituting jurisdictional waters of the United States finding instead that:

“Mill Creek and Dry Creek, as the latter’s name suggests, are little more than drainage ditches that conduct water only after a rain—a country boy could easily jump them.  The same is true for the three tributaries.  They are not permanent waters.  The government’s characterization as seasonal is generous and accurate only insofar as they are wet in the Spring and Fall after is has rained.  They are wetlands only in the same way that the entire area is coastal prairie.”

The court went on to state that “[t]he seasonal connection of some wetlands to seasonal tributaries that feed navigable waters is too tenuous a connection to give the government jurisdiction under the [CWA].” 

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U.S. EPA Releases One-Week Internal Review on the Colorado Mine Blowout, Concludes the Incident Was “Inevitable”

Bandza_Alexander_COLORBy Alexander J. Bandza

Colorado Gold Mine Release

Earlier this week, the U.S. EPA released its “Internal Review of the A
ugust 5, 2015 Gold King Mine Blowout,” which provides the EPA Internal Review Team’s “one week rapid assessment” of the events and potential factors contributing to the Colorado mine adit blowout earlier this month.  The Review sets out a series of conclusions and recommendations, many of which lay the foundation for absolving the U.S. EPA of any wrongdoing here while proposing extensive recommendations for the future.

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2015 World Water Week

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

The 2015 World Water Week, August 23-28, is the annual focal point for global water issues. Sponsored by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the 2015 theme is Water for Development. World leaders, as well as experts, practitioners, business innovators, and other professionals from a range of sectors and countries will meet to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking, and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges.

In the world today, 750 million people still lack access to safe water. World Water Week participants will address how water is vital to sustainable development and how we can be smarter about using this very critical resource more wisely. 

A series of sessions will take place, many available to the public and available online, addressing such topics as: building urban sewerage infrastructure; creating water and climate resilient cities; the case for solar water pumps; a water secure world; and impact of subsidies on efficient water technology uptake with agriculture. Another topic to be addressed, of particular interest to U.S. participants, is the California drought and actions being taken to address the impacts and consequences of these climate changes.

In preparation for 2015 World Water Week, earlier this month SIWI issued its special report titled "Water for Development-Charting a Water Wise Path," providing important input for the annual meeting on water and development issues.

A press release issued yesterday provides an overview of meetings, programs, and activities planned this week. You can also follow World Water Week via Twitter at #WWWeek and @siwi_water or on Facebook at World Water Week in Stockholm.

Canada Takes Action to Ban Microbeads

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

The Canadian government recently took action to ban microbeads, very small particles found in a variety of consumer and personal care products that may pose adverse environmental impacts in rivers, lakes, and oceans after they are washed down the drain.


Specifically, the Canadian government proposes to designate microbeads as toxic substances and to develop regulations that would prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of consumer and personal care products containing microbeads.

A thorough scientific review that included an analysis of over 140 scientific papers, as well as consultations with experts, revealed that the presence of microbeads in the environment may have long-term effects on biological diversity and ecosystems. A summary of key findings include:

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