Environmental

    • 18 May 2015

    Talking Big Data and Drones on Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick

    I was recently lucky enough to be interviewed by Gerry Dick for his television show Inside Indiana Business. I was joined by Beck's Hybrid's Jim Shertzer who leads FARMserver , a web-based farm data storage and analysis tool. These are exciting times for agriculture! You can watch the video by following this link: Drones, Big Data, and Technology on Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick . Thanks Gerry for the...
    • 14 May 2015

    California Appellate Court Holds That Reproductive Toxicants Can Be Averaged Over Time When Determining Exposure Under Proposition 65

    In Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) v. Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. , ( court opinion ), the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District held, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], that in appropriate circumstances, exposures to reproductive toxicants may be averaged over time under Proposition 65, otherwise known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. As further...
    • 13 May 2015

    Texas Changes the Goal(s)

    By Tricia Caliguire Some say you can't go back, but last week, I did go back -- to Austin, Texas, where I went to law school. Things changed -- the east side has been gentrified, the traffic is horrendous, and Molly Ivins is gone – and are much the same – including that having the legislature in session makes for some interesting headlines. The news in 2015 is the proposed repeal of the renewable...
    • 12 May 2015

    New U.S. Treasury Paper Builds on Momentum for Public-Private Partnerships to Address Public Infrastructure Shortfalls

    By Alexander J. Bandza , Associate, Jenner & Block The problem of aging public infrastructure in the U.S. and around the world is well recognized. For example, U.S. businesses pay $27 billion in additional freight costs because of the poor conditions of roads and other transportation infrastructure. Water systems continue to deteriorate throughout the United States, resulting in approximately 240,000 water main...
    • 12 May 2015

    Defining "Big Data" in Agriculture

    A recent comment on one of my articles addressing big data concerns in farm leases asked why I used the term "big data" instead of just "data." This got me thinking about the definition of "big data" and what the term really means with respect to agriculture. Before looking at what "big data" is, we need to define what "farm data" is. When I look at the agriculture industry...
    • 7 May 2015

    DOT, FRA, PHMSA Take Additional Steps to Improve Rail Hazmat Safety

    By Genevieve J. Essig , Associate, Jenner & Block The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), along with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), recently took additional steps in their action plan to improve safety with respect to transportation of flammable liquids, including crude oil, by rail. These steps consisted of several main actions...
    • 30 Apr 2015

    EPA Announces It Will Release New Guidelines on Vehicle MPG Ratings

    The EPA announced, on February 23, 2015, that it will release new guidelines for vehicle fuel economy testing. The new guidelines will apply next year and will address how vehicles should be prepared and broken in before fuel economy testing. The testing for fuel economy has not been updated in ten years, and the guidelines follow 2011 regulations overhauling fuel economy labels . The EPA has been actively monitoring...
    • 29 Apr 2015

    FY2016 EPA Budget Proposal

    By E. Lynn Grayson EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee regarding EPA's proposed 2016 fiscal year budget. EPA's 2016 fiscal year from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. EPA is seeking an increase of $453M over the FY2015 budget to $8.6B proposed in FY2016. FY2016 budget highlights include funding to address: 1. Making a...
    • 28 Apr 2015

    The Business Case for Environmental Sustainability

    By E. Lynn Grayson A corporation's main objective, and many would agree legal obligation, is to make money and maximize profits for its shareholders, but should more be asked or required of today's successful businesses? For an ever increasing segment of society, the answer without a doubt is "yes." The concept, commonly referred to as corporate social responsibility (CSR), extends beyond compliance...
    • 22 Apr 2015

    Retrial: Lower Fines for Environmental Consultant

    By Meredith James In 2011, we wrote about the record $161,000 in fines imposed upon an environmental consultant and his company. In addition, $40,500 in fines were imposed on their clients, Mr. James Sinclair and his company Sinclair Landing , owner of a contaminated site. Following an appeal and retrial , the fines imposed on geo-environmental firm Bruce A. Brown Associates Limited (Brown Assoc.) and its Director...
    • 20 Apr 2015

    Advancing Consistency in NEPA Disclosures on Climate Change

    Last December, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued revised draft guidance on the consideration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the effects of climate change in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. As noted in a previous blog post , the proposed guidance directs federal agencies to consider: (1) the potential effects of a proposed action on climate change as indicated by its GHG emissions...
    • 15 Apr 2015

    Kawartha Oil Spill Cost Recovery Litigation Drags On

    City of Kawartha Lakes taxpayers continue to pay heavily for the Ministry of the Environment’s 2009 order, which required the City to cleanup an oil spill that it did not cause. While everyone agreed that the City was an innocent victim of the spill, the Ministry saddled the City with $471,691 in cleanup costs, arguing that the City could seek reimbursement through the courts or a cost recovery order. The Environmental...
    • 14 Apr 2015

    States Should Think Twice Before Refusing Any Response to EPA’s Clean Power Rules

    The date is approaching for EPA to finalize its rules for controlling carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, and states are contemplating their responses to those rules. A number of commentators have recommended that states “just say no” to EPA and refuse to prepare state plans complying with the rules. Some states are considering bills and a few have enacted laws that would make it difficult...
    • 31 Mar 2015

    The 2014 California Environmental Legislative Recap: An Election Year Drought

    By Mr. Gary A. Lucks Get the latest expert analysis on California's new environmental and land use laws. This article summarizes legislation passed during the 2014-2015 California Legislative Session, including bills addressing water supply, hazardous waste, solid waste, cimate change, air quality, energy and natural resources, and much more. The article appears as the Lead Article to the April 2015 issue of...
    • 23 Mar 2015

    EPA’s OECA Announces Enforcement Tools for Civil Enforcement Cases and Administrative Settlements

    By Randy Brogdon , Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP In a recent memo issued by EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA), Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles announced that four specific “enforcement tools” should be considered “in all civil enforcement cases and incorporated in civil and administrative settlements whenever appropriate.” OECA notes that these measures...
    • 11 Mar 2015

    World Bank Sells Record $91M of Green Bonds Tied to “Ethical” Companies

    By E. Lynn Grayson The World Bank sold $91 million in green bonds tied to an index of "ethical" companies – its largest offering of green bonds linked to an equity index and the first offered to individual investors. Green bonds were created to increase funding by accessing the $80 trillion bond market and expanding the investor base for climate-friendly projects worldwide. They are fixed income...
    • 11 Mar 2015

    The Keystone XL Pipeline Veto: Much Ado ...

    By J. Wylie Donald When one talks of pipelines in recent days one hears nearly an incessant buzz about Keystone XL, as if that is where the real action is. But it isn't, notwithstanding the histrionics over President Obama's veto of S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act. The real action lies not with an 850,000 barrel per day oil pipeline, but instead with the natural gas pipelines that are needed to...
    • 11 Mar 2015

    What You Need to Know about Farm Data Privacy

    Here is my presentation to the Indiana Horticultural Congress on January 21, 2015. You can follow along online by clicking below: Farm Data Privacy: What You Need to Know Please check out other articles about the agriculture and technology on this blog. Read more at Janzen Ag Law Blog by Todd Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP. For more information about LexisNexis products and...
    • 10 Mar 2015

    Big Data on the Farm: Presentation to Indiana Farm Bureau

    My January 20, 2015 presentation to Indiana Farm Bureau's District Meeting can be found by clicking on the following link: Big Data on the Farm Don't forget to also check out American Farm Bureau Federation's Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data . Read more at Janzen Ag Law Blog by Todd Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP. For more information about LexisNexis products...
    • 3 Mar 2015

    Changes To Reporting GHG Emissions From Renewable Energy, Low-Carbon Power Purchases

    The World Resources Institute recently published new guidelines for entities to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from purchased electricity, Scope 2 emissions. This is the first major update to the GHG Protocol in many years, and responds to changes in the electricity market. The new GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance ( http://ghgprotocol.org/scope_2_guidance ) provides the methodology for entities to compute and report...
    • 26 Feb 2015

    Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Issues Revised Guidance for Climate Change Analysis in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Reviews

    By Mr. Al Herson Get the latest analysis on the Council on Environmental Quality's revised draft guidance on climate change analysis in NEPA reviews. The article reviews the major provisions of the draft guidance, including analyzing greenhouse gas impacts of proposed actions and the effects of climate change on such actions. This article appears as the Lead Article in the March 2015 issue of California Environmental...
    • 24 Feb 2015

    Supreme Court Hears Chevron Ecuador Pollution Appeal

    Can foreign pollution judgments be enforced in Canada? The Supreme Court of Canada has heard arguments on the attempt by Ecuador pollution plaintiffs to enforce their $9 plus billion Ecuador judgment against Chevron’s Canadian assets, in Chevron Corporation, et al. v. Daniel Carlos Lusitande Yaiguaje, et al ., Supreme Court of Canada File No. 35682 . Although substantial pollution remains in Ecuador, a US court...
    • 18 Feb 2015

    California Appellate Court Holds that Regional Planning Agency Must Examine the Long-Term Impacts of Its Transportation Plan on Reduction of Greenhouse Gases

    By: Daniel P. Selmi*, Visiting Scholar, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Fritz B. Burns Professor of Law, Loyola Law School In an emphatic opinion, a state appellate court has invalidated the environmental impact report for the first “sustainable communities strategy” prepared by a regional council of government in California. In Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of...
    • 11 Feb 2015

    INTERPOL Environmental Crimes Unit

    International environmental wildlife and pollution crimes are attracting growing attention from INTERPOL , partly because many of them are committed by organized crime. For example, in response to the recent surge of ivory tracking, INTERPOL formed a dedicated environmental crime team in Africa. As InterPOL puts it: “Environmental crime is a serious and growing international problem, and one which takes many...
    • 10 Feb 2015

    Congressional Leaders To FERC: “Did EPA Consult with You About Its Clean Power Plan?”

    You are probably well aware of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Clean Power Plan. You may not be aware that Congressional leaders are asking very pointed questions to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) about whether Commissioners were adequately consulted by the EPA about the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and “other major EPA rulemakings bearing on electric...