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April 2012

Business Roundtable Report Calls For Improved Permitting Process

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


The Business Roundtable (BRT) issued a report this month, Permitting Jobs and Business Investment Streamlining the Federal Permitting Process, highlighting the adverse impacts to business of the often long, inconsistent and burdensome federal permitting process. The CEOs of Business Roundtable believe that it is time to simplify, streamline and accelerate America's permitting process with the goal of encouraging large-scale capital investments in the U.S. economy while maintaining the nation's commitments to health, safety and soundness. With this goal in mind, this report identifies key challenges associated with the existing regulatory permitting system and sets forth a series of recommended reforms.

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EPA Issues New NEPA Mapping Tool

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


EPA has issued a new online mapping tool, NEPAssist, to assist federal agencies in evaluating possible NEPA environmental review obligations. NEPAssist is one of five pilot projects selected by the White House Council on Environmental Quality to advance the NEPA process through innovation, public participation and transparency.

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Happy Earth Day 2012

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson started the environmental movement that would turn into what we celebrate now as Earth Day. On November 11, 1969, Senator Nelson announced that April 22, 1970 – a date chosen to fit best in college schedules between spring break and final exams – would be the day of what they named the "National Teach-In on the Crisis of the Environment."

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2012 Environmental Health Webinars Announced By NIEHS

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Partnerships in Environmental Public Health (PEPH) has initiated an environmental health and education webinar series. The webinars will strive to promote interactions among PEPH grantees, and increase awareness of emerging issues and approaches in environmental public health. The PEPH umbrella unites researchers in basic and clinical research, community-based participatory research, education, outreach, and environmental justice in the pursuit of improved public health.

The first webinar conducted earlier this year focused on the theme of connecting environmental exposures to chronic inflammation and diseases. Topics included: 1) How Is the Immune System Involved in Inflammation; 2) Air Pollution Morbidity: Confounding Effects of Chronic Inflammation; and, 3) Inflammation and Effects of Chronic Disease. The most recent webinar focused on the health implications of arsenic in our food system.

Upcoming seminars include the following:

  • April/May: Mapping and Environmental Public Health: Visualizing Health Disparities and the Effects of Pollution
  • May: Health Impact Assessments and Community Engagement
  • June: Science-based Decision Making
  • July: Hydraulic Fracturing

The PEPH webinars are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Registration information is available in advance of each webinar at or by contacting the Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 919-541-3345.

The PEPH webinar series provides easy access to up to date research on the interplay between environmental impacts and public health concerns.

Earth Day 2012 – Saturday, April 22nd – Mobilize The Earth

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


This Saturday, more than one billion people around the world will participate in Earth Day 2012 according to the Earth Day Network. The Earth Day 2012 campaign is designed to provide people with the opportunity to come together to support a call for a more sustainable future.

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U.S. EPA Promulgates New Air Rules For Hydraulic Fracking

Siros_Steven_COLORBy Steven M. Siros


Under newly promulgated U.S. EPA regulations, on or before January 1, 2015, natural gas fracking operations will be required to capture volatile organic compound ("VOC") emissions by using reduced emissions completions equipment (otherwise known as "green completions" equipment) from fracked wells.  The green completions equipment (which is already required in certain states) allows the natural gas and other related emissions that are typically released during the well completion process to be captured and reused while at the same time also reducing NOx emissions that are typical byproducts of combustion.  Until January 1, 2015, VOC emissions from fracked wells will need to be flared during the well completion period.

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Urban Waters Federal Partnership Launches First Pilot Program In Los Angeles

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


The Urban Waters Federal Partnership, made up of 11 federal agencies, recently announced a program in seven cities that will accelerate and coordinate on-the-ground projects that are critical to improving water quality and public health, restoring forest resources and fostering community stewardship in urban watersheds. Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Urban Waters Ambassadors Program will work with state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and other local partners. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is an effort to help urban and metropolitan areas, particularly those that are underserved or economically distressed, connect with their waterways and work to improve them.

The first Urban Waters Ambassador has been selected for the Los Angeles River watershed pilot project with additional ambassadors to follow for the Anacostia River watershed (Washington, D.C. and Maryland), the Patapsco River watershed (Baltimore, Maryland), the Bronx and Harlem River watersheds (New York City), the South Platte River (Denver, Colorado), Lake Pontchartrain (New Orleans, Louisiana) and Northwest Indiana. Each of the pilot locations was selected due to the strong local and community leadership spearheading restoration efforts underway. Lessons learned from these pilot locations will benefit communities across the country.

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Steven Siros Will Be Speaking at ACI’s National Forum On Chemical Products Liability And Environmental Litigation

Siros_Steven_COLORBy Steven M. Siros


Jenner & Block partner Steven Siros will be speaking at ACI's National Forum on Chemical Products Liability and Environmental Litigation on April 26, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  Mr. Siros will be discussing efforts to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act and what lessons can be learned from the European Union's REACH regulations.  For further information on the forum, please click here.

New MOU to Provide for Streamlined Review Of Wind Energy Projects In Great Lakes

Siros_Steven_COLORBy Steven M. Siros


On March 30, 2012, the White House announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with five states (Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania) that is intended to streamline environmental and other reviews for wind energy projects in the Great Lakes. The federal agencies that are part of this MOU are the Department of Energy, U.S. EPA, Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The MOU requires these federal agencies and the Great Lake States to work collaboratively to create a roadmap for streamlining regulatory reviews of wind energy projects in the Great Lakes. The MOU envisions development of this roadmap within 15 months. Please click here to see a copy of the MOU.