LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Plastic garbage zones are not just in the Pacific

The plastic garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean has received substantial media attention. However, recent studies have shown that there are a number of such garbage patches, and that unfortunately they are larger than originally believed. The so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be...

Silver nanoparticles are transformed by sewage treatment

Prior posts have noted a number of issues related to nanoparticles. Silver nanoparticles are used in hundreds of consumer products, including food storage containers, clothing, computer keyboards, cosmetics, pillows, cell phones, and medical appliances, because of their antimicrobial properties. Because...

Even toxics can act as a generic selection factor in the environment

One of the themes of this blog has been that virtually anything present in the environment can act as a selection factor influencing the course of evolution. A recent study on fish and PCB's and dioxins illustrates this point. Unfortunately for humans, the end result is not necessarily positive or...

Ninth Circuit rules that owners of storm water systems (e.g., cities, counties, districts) are liable for discharges of polluted stormwater into rivers and ocean

It is well known that stormwater gathers a variety of pollutants as it flows across the landscape and even through stormwater drainage systems. See, for example, http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=6 and http://www.epa.gov/owow_keep/NPS/index.html . In NRDC v. County of Los Angeles, Ninth...

Oil from Gulf of Mexico spill may still be present, particularly on the Gulf floor

Prior posts have noted that the dispersants used in the BP spill had a longer than anticipated life in the Gulf. Additionally, prior posts have noted the evidence supporting the thesis that the oil was consumed by microbes unusually fast. Recently published evidence indicates that the latter assertion...

Diversity not only provides increased stability to ecological communities, it is more efficient for remediating contamination

It has long been an axiom of environmental science that a diverse ecological community (aka biodiversity) is more resilient and productive because it stabilizes the ecological system as a whole. This should not be confused with a focus on an individual species for which the complex interactions within...

The Ninth Circuit reads very narrowly the circumstances under which attorney's fees will not be awarded to a prevailing party in CWA litigation

The Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance sued the City of Seward, Alaska, for violation of the CWA in discharging pollutants without an NPDES permit from both the small boat harbor and the industrial park. About 9 months later, both parties filed MSJ; the District Court granted plaintiff's motion...

Did Gulf surface bacteria not find Deepwater Horizon oil to be a complete diet?

Prior posts have discussed various aspects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its impact on the biota of the Gulf. Bioremediation has several goals. First, one uses nature to remediate contamination, saving significant sums. Second, the "food" (contaminant) should cause the bacteria to...

Colorado District Attorney lacks standing to bring citizen suit under Clean Water Act

A local Colorado district attorney, among others, filed suit against a city for allegedly discharging pollutants into a creek in violation of the CWA. The District Court granted the city's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the district attorney lacked standing. In Thiebaut et al v...

EPA Releases DMR Pollutant Loading Tool

By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block EPA recently released the Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) Pollutant Loading Tool designed to help individuals determine who is discharging, what pollutants they are discharging and how much, and where they are discharging. The tool calculates pollutant...

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Ruling: BP and Andarko Are Responsible Parties and Liable For Civil Penalties Under Clean Water Act

NEW ORLEANS - (Mealey's) The federal judge in Louisiana presiding over litigation stemming from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico held Feb. 22 that BP PLC and Andarko Petroleum Co. are liable for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act (CWA...

Ninth Circuit Holds that Dry Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers Must Engage in Active, Not Merely Passive, Activities to be Liable Under RCRA

In litigation involving soil and/or groundwater contamination from releases related to dry cleaning equipment and PCE, it has been common for injured property owners to sue the dry cleaning equipment manufacturers, among others. One of the primary legal tools used in such litigation is the citizen-suit...

LexisNexis® Environmental Law and Climate Change Community Podcast: Brad Marten on the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Sackett v. EPA.

On this edition, Brad Marten of Marten Law in Seattle discusses the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Sackett v. EPA . The unanimous high Court found that an Idaho couple could appeal an administrative compliance order issued by the EPA under the Clean Water Act. Mr. Marten explains the background...

More Funding Sought For Water Infrastructure Improvements

By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block Seven national water and wastewater associations asked House and Senate members to oppose cuts to the FY 13 appropriations for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) requested by the Obama Administration. The White House budget...

Silage vs. Curtilage: More on the EPA's Flyover Controversy

By Todd J. Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP The web has been abuzz the last few weeks with articles and editorials about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) use of aerial flyovers to look for violations of the Clean Water Act on Nebraska and Iowa feedlots. The issue...

U.S. Supreme Court Finds Sewer System’s Discharges Did Not Violate CWA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday held that a California storm sewer system operator's discharges into navigable waterways did not violate the Clean Water Act (CWA), holding that the flow of water from an improved portion of a navigable waterway to an unimproved portion...