PFAS: Pruitt Declares EPA will “Take Action” and Sets Four “Critical Steps” in Motion

DLA Piper
Adam Baas, George Gigounas and John E. Griffith, Jr.

May 23, 2018

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun its two-day National Leadership Summit in Washington, DC to address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – a class of man-made chemicals that have been used since the 1950s in the production of a wide range of products that resist heat, stains, grease and water, including furniture protectants, floor wax, food packaging and firefighting foam.

The intent of the Summit, according to EPA Director Scott Pruitt, is to “bring together stakeholders from across the country to build on the steps we are already taking and to identify immediate actions to protect public health.”

The Summit attendees include representatives of 30+ states, 20+ agencies, 3 tribes, and dozens of industry and NGO entities.

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Issue Spotlight: Proper Hazardous Waste Storage And Disposal At Healthcare Facilities

Holland & Knight LLP
John S. Irving IV

June 4, 2018

With all of the regulatory obligations that hospitals and other healthcare facilities need to comply with, it might be easy to overlook an environmental law that can lead to significant trouble. Hospitals may find themselves in EPA’s sights over their handling of hazardous waste. Operators of healthcare facilities are encouraged to include this topic in their risk assessments and to consider environmental compliance audits.

The particular environmental law at issue is the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or “RCRA” (42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.). RCRA requires hazardous waste to be treated, stored and disposed of in compliance with permits and imposes recordkeeping requirements. It provides for civil penalties of up to $71,264 per violation and criminal penalties for “knowing” violations of up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine for individuals, and up to five years of probation and fines of up to $500,000 for organizations.

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The Superfund Task Force: One Year Later

Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
Elizabeth T. Schindzielorz

May 31, 2018

It was this time last year that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt created a Superfund Task Force to “provide recommendations . . . on how the agency can restructure the cleanup process, realign incentives of all involved parties to promote expeditious remediation, reduce the burden on cooperating parties, incentivize parties to remediate sites, encourage private investment in cleanups and sites and promote the revitalization of properties across the country” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9601, et seq., also known as the “Superfund.”[1] Approximately two months later, the Task Force produced a report with 42 recommendations which “can be initiated without legislative changes within the next year.”[2] The recommendations are intended to advance five overarching goals: expediting cleanup and remediation, re-invigorating responsible party cleanup and reuse, encouraging private investment, promoting redevelopment and community revitalization, and engaging partners and stakeholders.[3] The Task Force has published two quarterly reports since October 2017 to document its progress implementing these recommendations.[4] This article highlights two of the most recent updates to the body of Superfund guidance pursuant to Task Force recommendations.

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A Structured Guide to Soil, Air and Water Pollution Regulations in the USA

Beveridge & Diamond PC
James M. Auslander, Ryan J. Carra, Andrew C. Silton, Shengzhi Wang and Nicole B. Weinstein

May 1, 2018

Soil Pollution


What regime governs liability for soil pollution (including the allocation, transfer and limitation of liability)?

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund) and similar state laws. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists sites on the National Priority List based on a hazard ranking system. Liability under the act and state laws is typically strict, joint and several, and retroactive, even to legacy contamination sites. States also implement voluntary clean-up and brownfields programmes aimed at remediating and reusing legacy contaminated soil sites.

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