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Showing 13 posts by Pamela D. Marks.

CERCLA Task Force Issues Recommendations

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has announced a set of Task Force recommendations that are aimed at improving the Superfund program.  The Agency’s adoption of these recommendations is another indication that demonstrable change to CERCLA implementation is of interest to the Trump administration.   It follows the EPA Administrator’s May 9 retraction of certain remedy selection authority from regional offices. Read More ›

EPA Retracts CERCLA Remedy Selection Authority from Regional Offices for Remedies that Exceed $50 Million

On May 9, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued two new delegations under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) that limit to the Administrator (and possibly the Deputy Administrator) the authority to select remedies estimated to cost over $50 million. One delegation concerns Superfund sites generally; the other relates to federal facilities. Previously, all remedy selection was delegated to the Assistant Administrator for Office of Land and Emergency Management and the Regional Administrators. The authority to sign Records of Decision estimated to cost less than $50 million remains with those officials. A copy of the revised delegations and accompanying memorandum are available here.   Read More ›

Maryland 2017 Environmental Legislative Agenda Set

March 6 marked the final day for the introduction of bills in the Maryland General Assembly without a rules suspension. Below are highlights of environmental or related public health bills under consideration in the Maryland General Assembly.  A number of bills reflect national trends, such as expanded restrictions on flame retardants, mercury and lead in products, and the curbing of antibiotic use (in farming) to maintain antibiotic effectiveness.  Others reflect ongoing policy debates in Maryland, such as regarding whether and how to allow natural gas production by hydraulic fracturing, and how to reduce the contribution of nutrients to surface water from septic systems. Read More ›

Clearing the CERCLA Air: Ninth Circuit Holds Air Emissions Are Not Disposal

In a case of first impression, this week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
held that the owner of a Canadian smelter was not liable as a person who
“arranged for disposal” of hazardous substances when it emitted those compounds
into the air and the substances were deposited onto land and water downwind. 
Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, No. 15-35228 (9th Cir.
July 27, 2016).  Overturning the district court’s decision, the Court excluded from the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") definition of "disposal," the emission of hazardous substances into the air that are then deposited elsewhere.  The Court relied heavily on the reasoning and analysis from two previous Ninth Circuit decisions to determine that the term “disposal” as construed under CERCLA did not include the passive depositing of compounds onto land or water through emission into the air.  The Court’s holding follows Ninth Circuit precedent that passive migration does not constitute disposal under CERCLA. Read More ›

EPA Proposes to Amend the Site Remediation NESHAP to Remove the Exemption for Site Remediation Activities Performed under CERCLA and RCRA

Summary:  On May 13, 2016, EPA proposed to amend several provisions of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs): Site Remediation.  The Site Remediation Rule currently exempts from hazardous air pollutant standards remediation activities performed under the authority of CERCLA and those conducted under a RCRA corrective action or other required RCRA order. EPA is proposing to remove the CERCLA/RCRA exemption and to remove the applicability requirement that a site remediation must be co-located with a facility that is regulated by other NESHAPs in order to be subject to the Site Remediation Rule. Comments are due June 27, 2016. Read More ›

Maryland Legislative and Regulatory Updates

Legislative Updates

Maryland’s annual legislative session ended on April 13, 2015, and with the close of the session came new legislation that affects environmental regulation in Maryland.  Read More ›

EPA Regulates Coal Combustion Residuals as Solid Waste and Retains Exclusions for Beneficial Use

Today EPA issued a final rule regulating coal combustion residuals (CCR) as solid waste under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  This ends years of speculation regarding whether EPA might decide to regulate CCR as a hazardous waste under the more onerous RCRA Subtitle C “cradle to grave” regulatory scheme.  EPA reported that it received over 450,000 comments on the proposed rule, most of which focused on which regulatory path would be followed: Subtitle C or D.  The final rule may be found here. Read More ›

Maryland Proposes Hazardous Substance Reporting Rule

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) proposed hazardous substance reporting obligations on Friday, October 31, 2014.  These regulations would implement Environment Article §7-222(d), amended in 2008, requiring reporting to MDE “immediately” of certain information that “indicates the release of a hazardous substance into the environment” above a "threshold."  The law became effective as of October 1, 2009, but without implementing regulations the law has not been enforceable.  The proposed regulations would provide reporting threshold levels, further construe when reporting is triggered, and establish reporting procedures.  Read More ›

Beveridge & Diamond Secures Summary Judgment, Settlement for Displaced Family After Mercury Cleanup

The Baltimore office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. recently prevailed on summary judgment in Baltimore City Circuit Court on behalf of a family that was displaced from its home for seven months because of a mercury spill. The summary judgment precipitated a favorable settlement for the family’s expenses and hardship during the cleanup of its home.   Read More ›

Inaugural Cohort/Class of Thurgood Marshall Opportunity Program Interns Begins Summer Learning Experience at Maryland Attorney General’s office

Fueled by Beveridge & Diamond’s initiative and sponsorship, Maryland’s new Thurgood Marshall Opportunity Program will welcome on May 28th its first group of seven law students to work for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General this summer.   Read More ›