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Tox of the Town

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Where the Law and the Environment Connect. Tox of the Town is a blog written by attorneys in Greenberg Glusker’s Environmental Law Group. With years of legal, technical, and business know-how experience, we look forward to providing our readers with timely updates on environmental issues. Subscribe to our blog today to receive updates on changing environmental laws, regulatory and compliance issues, ongoing litigation, and more.

Settling Party Barred from Bringing a CERCLA Section 107(a) Claim

This week, in the case of Solutia, Inc. and Pharmacia Corp. v. McWane, Inc. (Solutia), the Eleventh Circuit held that a party that performs a cleanup in compliance with a consent decree has no right under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) section 107(a) to recover its cleanup costs...
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State Water Board May Soon Adopt the Low-Threat UST Case Closure Policy

Last week, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) gave notice of public opportunity to comment on its proposed April adoption of the Water Quality Control Policy for Low-Threat Underground Storage Tank Case Closure (Low-Threat Closure Policy). This should come as welcome news for the thousands of underground storage tank (UST) sites in...
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Greenhouse Gas Data Just a Click Away

Earlier this month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released for the first time comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) data through EPA’s GHG Reporting Program. The 2010 GHG data includes publicly accessible information from sources in nine industry groups that directly emit large quantities of GHGs or supply certain fossil fuels. The...
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Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Agrees to Air Quality Rules

In a landmark agreement, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) reached a “government-to-government” agreement with the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians to enforce some of the SCAQMD’s air quality regulations on tribal land. The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban...
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Sackett v. EPA – Supreme Court to Decide Whether Pre-Enforcement Review of Compliance Orders Allowed

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument on Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (docket no. 10-1062).  At issue is whether a party who was issued a pre-enforcement compliance order from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the right to have the order judicially reviewed before EPA initiates an enforcement action...
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Environmental Groups Bring Suit Against EPA to Require Air Monitoring Along So-Cal Freeways

Tuesday, the Natural Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC), Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and Communities for a Better Environment brought a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for EPA’s approval of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) 2011 Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan on November 1, 2011 (the Air Monitoring Plan). The SCAQMD is the...
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Life in the Green Lane – Carpool Privileges to be Given to Qualifying Cars

At the start of the year, California began offering green clean air vehicle decals to purchasers or lessees of cars meeting California’s Enhanced Advanced Partial Zero Emission Vehicle requirements.  These decals enable a single driver to drive in the carpool lane. California is limiting the number of stickers to 40,000.  The...
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Quebec Joins California In Adopting a Cap-and-Trade Program

 As our readers know, we have been following the cap-and-trade regulations both domestically and abroad. Quebec recently joined California in adopting a cap-and-trade regulation for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowances based on the rules established by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). WCI is a collaboration of independent jurisdictions, including California, working together to “identify, evaluate and implement emissions trading policies...
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We’ll All Be Driving Cleaner By 2025

President Obama announced today an agreement with thirteen major automakers to commence the next phase of the Administration’s program to increase fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto manufacturers, the state of...
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No Longer Running On Fumes: Air Board Approves $40 Million in Additional Funding for Clean Vehicles

As my colleague posted last month, California’s popular Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) was in jeopardy of running out of funds by this month. The program, funded by California’s Air Resources Board (ARB), provides vouchers or rebates on a first-come, first-served basis toward the purchase of zero-emission or plug-in hybrid cars, and zero-emission or...
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CARB’S AB 32 Scoping Plan Environmental Analysis – Take Two

On Monday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a Supplement to the environmental analysis (known as the Functional Equivalent Document) of the 2008 AB 32 Scoping Plan. The Supplement provides CARB’s revised analysis of the alternatives to the greenhouse gas reduction measures proposed in the Scoping Plan, including alternatives to the cap-and-trade program. The Supplement comes...
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No Second Guessing EPA: CERCLA Citizen Suit Cannot Interfere With Ongoing Cleanup

This week, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) does not give a federal district court jurisdiction to adjudicate claims for past noncompliance with an order issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The decision, Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., affirms that CERCLA’s citizen suit provision...
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The GREENing of Greenberg Glusker

In honor of Earth Day, we thought we’d share some of the steps that Greenberg Glusker has taken to be more green. Last year, Greenberg Glusker completed its office remodel in true green fashion. We recycled and reused materials from the old office design whenever possible, which resulted in using...
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Arizona Tribe First to Adopt International Green Building Code

As our regular readers know, we have been closely following California’s efforts toward mandating green building requirements both state-wide (through CalGreen) and locally. In a sure sign that green building is here to stay, the Kayenta Township, a political subdivision of the Navajo Nation located in Arizona, recently became...
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Bill Introduced to Delay Implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act

California Assemblywoman Shannon Grove recently introduced Assembly Bill 333, which seeks to delay California’s AB 32, commonly known as the Global Warming Solutions Act. Adopted in 2006, the Global Warming Solutions Act aims to reduce California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The act tasked the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with...
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Panel Concludes Carbon Capture and Storage Part of the Answer to California’s GHG Emissions

In a final report released last week, a review panel consisting of experts from industry, trade groups, academia and an environmental organization concluded that there was a public benefit to utilizing carbon capture and storage (CCS) for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California. CCS refers to the capture, or removal, of CO2...
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Court Upholds Pay to Pollute Rule

Last week, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the federal Clean Air Act does not preempt the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Air District) from requiring certain developers to either reduce their polluting emissions from their construction activities or pay a fee. The case (National Association of Home Builders v. San Joaquin...
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Happy 30th Superfund

30 years ago tomorrow, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), which is commonly known as the Superfund law. CERCLA, which Congress amended in 1986, was created to address the most contaminated properties in the United States and to provide federal authority to respond to releases or threatened...
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The Clean Air Act Turns 40

Today is the 40th year anniversary of the passage of the Clean Air Act. This landmark legislation, which Congress revised and expanded in 1990, provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the authority to regulate air pollutant emissions. EPA is celebrating the Clean Air Act’s anniversary today, by touting the health and environmental benefits achieved under...
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Logging Road Stormwater Runoff Subject to the Clean Water Act

In a long-anticipated decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that stormwater – largely rainwater – that runs off of logging roads into streams and rivers must be permitted under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This decision (Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Brown) will have far-ranging impacts that...
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There’s a “Canary” in My Water – EPA Software Detects Hazardous Contaminants in Drinking Water Systems

Bringing to mind the old adage “canary in a coalmine,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week its innovative water quality software aptly named “Canary.” Developed by EPA scientists in collaboration with the Department of Energy (DOE), the Canary software can help detect chemical and biological contaminants including pesticides, metals...
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EPA Refuses to Reconsider its Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Findings

As we previously reported, in December of last year, EPA determined that climate change caused by emissions from greenhouse gases endangered the public welfare and the environment. These so-called “endangerment findings,” while not directly imposing requirements on industry or other entities, paved the way for future EPA action to address climate change...
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What’s Coming Down the River – How EPA’s Designation of the Los Angeles River as a “Navigable Waterway” May Impact Future Development

As reported by the  Los Angeles Times , the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated the entire 51-mile, concrete lined Los Angeles River a “traditional navigable water,” under the Clean Water Act on Wednesday. Although it may be hard to picture the Los Angeles River as a navigable waterway on par...
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It’s Not Over Yet – Parties Can Join in Litigation to Oppose EPA Settlements, Court Says

The Ninth Circuit recently joined the Eighth and Tenth Circuits in finding that non-settling parties can intervene in litigation to oppose settlements between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other settling responsible parties under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act or CERCLA. This decision is significant because...
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The Race to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

It has been an interesting week for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions with the unveiling of Senator Kerry and Lieberman’s energy and climate change legislation and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to regulate greenhouse gases. However, Congress’s emergence in the regulation of greenhouse gases may preempt the...
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EPA Proposes to Require Petroleum and Natural Gas Facilities To Report GHG Emissions

On March 22, 2010, EPA signed a proposed rulemaking that would require petroleum and natural gas facilities emitting 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or more to report GHG emissions including methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. The proposed rule amends the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule that was...
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