Environmental

Recent Posts

California Supreme Court upholds municipal ban on plastic bags
Posted on 10 Aug 2011 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

In June 2008, the city manager of Manhattan Beach (a small, beach-front community in Southern California) issued a staff report recommending the adoption of an ordinance banning the use of "point-of-sale plastic carry-out bags" in the city.... Read More

California Attorney General seeks to limit scope of "public interest" releases in Prop. 65 settlements
Posted on 29 Jan 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

California's Proposition 65 ( Sections 25249.5 et seq Health & Safety Code ) is an unusual regulatory scheme. Lawsuits may be filed by private individuals. Plaintiffs are not required to have standing. The law only addresses a warning requirement;... Read More

Seaweed and licorice may help improve the immune system of swine, decreasing the need for antibiotics
Posted on 6 Jun 2011 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

As noted in prior posts, antibiotics are used not only to treat disease in animals, but also to prevent disease and to stimulate growth. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry has lead to the rapid development... Read More

RCRA imminent & hazardous endangerment notice must be specific, notes Second Circuit
Posted on 10 Aug 2011 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

A RCRA notice is mandatory, as noted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hallstrom v. Tillamook County , 493 U.S. 20, 26 (1989). The purpose of the notice is to a) inform public agencies of the alleged problem so that they can ascertain if they wish to take... Read More

State Agency does not necessarily have exclusive expertise to address remediation such that CWA & RCRA citizen suit claims are to be dismissed, especially where there is a lack of ongoing formal state proceedings
Posted on 25 Oct 2011 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

NL Industries owned a site through 2005. It entered into an administrative consent order with the State of New Jersey which required it to clean-up part of a site and investigate other portions, including sediments in an adjacent river. The sediments... Read More

Agricultural Food Exports Use a Lot of Water
Posted on 26 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

When examining the issue of water shortages and water usage, most of the emphasis is on domestic utilization. Rarely is the issue posed in terms of the impact of trade on water usage. However, such an analysis poses an alternative, and interesting, methodology... Read More

Let a thousand lawsuits bloom: The CAA is this week's favorite target
Posted on 12 Oct 2011 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

As noted in prior posts, EPA has proposed national standards for mercury and other toxic pollutant emissions from power plants. See http://www.epa.gov/airquality/powerplanttoxics/ . Now Guam and 25 states have filed a challenge to the regulations. The... Read More

Air pollution may be causing mega-cyclones striking India & the Middle East
Posted on 11 Nov 2011 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

It is well known that warm sea-surface temperatures can boost the intensity of hurricanes (known in the Indian Ocean as cyclones). For many decades water in the Arabian Sea has been warm, which should enhance the strength of cyclones. However, regional... Read More

Colorado District Attorney lacks standing to bring citizen suit under Clean Water Act
Posted on 25 Oct 2011 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

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... Read More

Photoelectric Cells to Dye For - Solar Power From Indoor Lights
Posted on 26 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Is it possible to efficiently harness the often dim and indirect light found inside a room (e.g., from incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs, and light emitting diodes). The answer would now appear to be "yes." A... Read More

Natural Gas Fracking Itself Is Not Contaminating Groundwater; Poor Waste Management and Bore Wells Are
Posted on 27 May 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have noted groundwater contamination associated with natural gas produced from deep shale deposits by hydraulic fracturing. A study by researchers (with no industry contributions) concludes that such pollution results not from liquids pumped... Read More

Do Homeowners Policies Protect Against Liability from Fracking Operations? Probably Not
Posted on 18 Feb 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

My partner Dean Pappas and I recently had an article published by Best's Review (February 2012) that looks at the potential risks that arise from hydrofracking operations, and the extent to which a typical homeowner's insurance policy covers the... Read More

Eating yogurt without more does not produce lasting changes in the mix of bacteria in the GI tract
Posted on 13 Feb 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have noted the impact of GI bacteria on human health, from their potential to prevent a variety of diseases to perhaps being the cause of other afflictions. In what has been referred to as an elegant study, researchers undertook human and... Read More

More Studies are Focusing on the Types of Bacteria that are Part of all Humans
Posted on 20 Jun 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have noted that a) for every 1 human cell there are 10 bacteria in or on our bodies; b) these bacteria are key to the digestion of our food, production of necessary nutrients, and disease prevention; c) the nature of our diet influences the... Read More

EPA lacks authority to regulate nanomaterials, states EPA IG, even if regulations are soon issued under FIFRA and TSCA
Posted on 5 Feb 2012 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have noted the wide use of nanomaterials in consumer goods, and the threat to human health that particles of such size may pose. An example of the risk posed by nanomaterials is sunscreen. Dermal penetration of some nanomaterials into the... Read More