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Wildfires and its Implications for Companies

As the world grapples with the increasing impact of climate change, one pressing issue is the management of air quality in the workplace. In a recent CNBC article, I spoke with reporter Cheryl Winokur Munk to discuss the importance of companies understanding the regulations and best practices surrounding air...
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Supreme Court Narrows EPA’s Authority to Protect Wetlands under Clean Water Act

In a highly anticipated and consequential decision, the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate an estimated half of the nation’s wetlands under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The May 2023 ruling in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency could mean that millions of acres...
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EPA Issues Historic Rules on Drinking Water

In an unprecedented move, the federal government proposed strict new rules limiting the presence of a class of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or “PFAS,” in the nation’s drinking water – a decision that could impact nearly all Americans. While PFAS chemicals are ubiquitous in consumer goods...
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The EPA's New Enviro Site Assessment Standard: Key Points

On Dec. 15, 2022, after a yearlong wait, the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  took final action to approve the new  ASTM International  standard for conducting Phase I environmental site assessments, officially known as ASTM E1527-21, "Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process." This action...
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What is Greenwashing?

In a recent webinar, "Greenwashing and its Dirty Consequences," I spoke about what greenwashing is, some examples, types of claims, and referencing the Federal Trade Commission's Green Guides for guidance.  What is greenwashing? That is the question of the day. There is not one regulatory definition of what greenwashing...
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California’s Proposition 65: New “Safe Harbor” Warning Option for Acrylamide

Acrylamide, a Proposition 65-listed substance that naturally forms in the cooking and heating of many plant-based foods, has been the focus of regulatory and court action over the past few years. As we previously reported , there is currently an injunction preventing Prop 65 enforcers from filing or prosecuting...
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California Air Resources Board Approves 2022 Scoping Plan

As we reported previously , the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has taken a highly anticipated vote on its final proposed plan for addressing climate change. CARB unanimously approved the 2022 Scoping Plan at a public meeting on December 15, 2022, thereby adopting an unparalleled blueprint for tackling climate change...
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At Last - EPA Approves the New ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard

On December 15, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took final action to approve the new ASTM International standard for conducting Phase I environmental site assessments. As previously noted , ASTM adopted the revised standard, officially known as ASTM 1527-21, last year. The revised standard represents best practices for...
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Not Just Hot Air: California Ramps Up Climate Goals

California is demonstrating that its promises on climate change are not just hot air; they’re a policy priority for the State that will require groundbreaking action. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is rolling out its proposed final 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality (Scoping Plan). According to...
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Update on California’s Regulation of PFAS – Governor Newsom Vetoes AB 2247

Last month, we reported regarding recent actions taken by the California Legislature in the regulation of per – and polyfluoralkyl substances (“PFAS”).  By way of background, PFAS are man-made chemicals used for decades and found in many different commercial, industry, and consumer products such as non-stick cookware and water...
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50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act and What the Future Holds

This week, I spoke to Bobby Magill at Bloomberg Law about the 50 th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Fifty years ago, Congress overrode a Presidential veto to enact the Clean Water Act, ushering in a sea change in the way we address water resources in this...
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ASTM Adopts a New Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard

Environmental Partner, Sedina Banks, published "ASTM Adopts a New Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard" in the Fall 2022 issue of NAIOP's  Development Magazine.  In her article, she discusses the revisions made to ASTM's Phase I environmental site assessment standard and how it will affect commercial real estate transactions. Sedina...
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Recent Developments in the Regulation of PFAS

In response to the growing concern regarding per – and polyfluoralkyl substances (“PFAS”), the federal government and California have taken recent actions to regulate PFAS.   By way of background, PFAS are man-made chemicals used for decades and found in many different commercial, industry, and consumer products such as non-stick...
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Here at Last! DTSC’s 2022 Vapor Intrusion Advisory

Last month, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) issued its long-awaited “Vapor Intrusion Update” (“Advisory”) which is intended to guide the selection of attenuation factors (“AFs”) at contaminated sites overseen by DTSC. For folks frantically Googling the term “attenuation factors,” I’ll save you some time: attenuation factors are...
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California’s Supreme Court Opens Gates to Prop. 65 Lawsuits Against Amazon.com

Last month, the California Supreme Court created some e-commerce waves when it declined to review a Court of Appeals decision allowing California Proposition 65 (“Prop. 65”) lawsuits against retail giant Amazon.com. The decision arguably allows customers to sue Amazon.com and similar e-commerce companies for failing to warn buyers that products...
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Who is Subject to California's Proposition 65 Warning Requirements?

Environmental Law Partner, Sedina Banks, presented a webinar "California’s Proposition 65: Background, Compliance, and Strategy" to members of the Association of Corporate Counsel - Southern California and the International Society of Primerus Law Firms. In this video clip, she discusses who is subject to California’s Proposition 65 warning requirements.
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Overview of Key 2021 Environmental Cases

Environmental Partner, Brian Moskal, recently presented at Greenberg Glusker's CLE Last Dash series discussing key 2021 environmental law cases. View the video below to learn about four key environmental cases under CERCLA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act that impact various industries.
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Environmental Insurance: Paper Worth Millions

Your client calls frantic because he has just been served with a lawsuit from an adjacent property owner who claims that the historic dry-cleaning operations on your client’s property have contaminated the groundwater. The complaint seeks millions of dollars for cleanup costs. Another client calls. She wants to purchase...
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Lofty Goals & Long Horizons: CARB’s 2022 Scoping Plan Targets Carbon Neutrality by 2045

This past summer, we have seen the risks of climate change manifest worldwide in the form of rising sea levels, severe droughts, massive wildfires, devastating floods, extreme heat, and other ecological disasters.  Fifteen years ago, under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), California began efforts...
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Back to School for Administrators: New K-6 Ban List and Laws Regulating Art Supplies

As schools reopen and in-person learning resumes, school teachers and administrators should be aware of laws regulating the purchasing of art supplies in schools. A preview of some of these laws is as follows: The California Education Code (Cal. Education Code § 32064, et seq. ) prohibits the purchase...
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The Ever-Shifting Landscape of Prop 65 Acrylamide Regulation

It has thus far been a noteworthy year for acrylamide, a Proposition 65-listed substance that naturally forms in the cooking and heating of many plant-based foods. Both the courts and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA,” the agency tasked with enforcing Proposition 65’s warning requirements) appear to be...
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Offshore Drilling Project Dealt Setback by Ninth Circuit

Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit dealt a setback to oil and gas interests, vacating the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)’s approval of the “Liberty Project” – a offshore drilling and production facility located off the coast of Alaska in the Beaufort Sea...
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Trump Methane Rollbacks May Spark Litigation, Hinder Greenhouse Gas Regulation

Originally published on Bloomberg Law The Trump administration’s new  final rules  governing methane emissions in the oil and gas industry culminate a multi-year process to roll back limitations promulgated toward the end of the Obama administration. Though the rules address new sources, the changes may directly affect EPA regulation...
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California issues draft guidance for vapor intrusion to indoor air

California environmental agencies recently issued a draft vapor intrusion guidance document that will significantly impact the investigation and remediation of environmentally impacted properties by owners, operators and potential buyers. The guidance document will also impact real estate deals and development involving those properties. The California State Water Resources Control...
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Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian – Perpetuating the Cycle of Supreme Court Environmental Law Decisions that Spark Litigation and Confusion

The U.S. Supreme Court has a history of rendering muddled decisions when interpreting key environmental statutes, and with its decision in  Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian et al., history repeats itself. Case Overview The underlying case has a long procedural and factual background, having ping-ponged up to the Montana...
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SF Regional Board attempts to clarify vapor intrusion approach

The San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board recently issued a  fact sheet  summarizing changes to its approach to remediating environmental impacts and mitigating vapor intrusion (VI) at properties impacted with volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  This follows a January 2019  update  to the Board’s vapor intrusion environmental screening levels—which...
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Superfund Case in the U.S. Supreme Court - Unintended Consequences?

In a recent interview with Ellen Gilmer at E&E News, I provided insights about a new case on the Supreme Court docket involving the Anaconda Smelter Stack and surrounding Superfund area in Montana. Overall, the article discussed the potential for unintended consequences if landowners in the long-running dispute over the Superfund...
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Even Your Parking Structure Violates Prop 65

The Prop 65 “Clear and Reasonable Warnings” updates that became effective in August 2018 contain lots of traps for the unwary, including one that you might not have noticed: tailored Prop 65 warnings are required at each of the public entrances to your enclosed parking facilities. To avail your regulated...
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