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Showing 60 posts by Stephen M. Richmond.

EPA Delays Effective Date of RMP Rule Amendments, Environmental Groups File Challenge

On June 14, 2017, EPA published a final rule in the Federal Register delaying the effective date of its Risk Management Program (RMP) rule amendment package for twenty months, until February 19, 2019.[1] EPA’s decision was immediately challenged by a coalition of environmental groups. Read More ›

D.C. Circuit Signals Limits on EPA’s Authority to Reduce Requirements in Existing Environmental Rules: Waterkeeper Alliance v. US EPA

As the Trump Administration seeks to re-write many of the nation’s environmental rules, the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, has issued a decision in Waterkeeper Alliance v. US EPA that signals the important oversight role the federal courts will play in reviewing executive actions, providing a cautionary note on the limits of executive authority. Read More ›

Landfill Expansion Project Halted by MassDEP

Company Settles MassDEP enforcement case, Reaches Agreement with MassDEP to split $10 Million Cost to Construct Drinking Water Line and Receives Notice of Intent to Sue from Environmental Groups

A proposal to expand the Southbridge, Massachusetts landfill owned by the Town of Southbridge and operated by a subsidiary of Casella Waste Systems has been halted by MassDEP in the face of concerns about the source of contaminants, primarily 1,4 dioxane, found in area groundwater. Shortly thereafter, MassDEP announced a $5 million grant towards the cost of extending a drinking water supply line to area residents, contingent upon agreement from Casella to provide matching funds. In addition, MassDEP announced the settlement of an administrative penalty case against Casella alleging past landfill operational violations, and two state environmental groups sent Casella a notice of intent to sue, claiming the company was responsible for surface water and groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the landfill. Read More ›

OMB Signs Off on U.S. EPA’s 2017 Construction Stormwater Permit

Spared by the Office of Management and Budget from the Trump Administration’s regulatory freeze, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2017 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities (2017 CGP) became effective on February 16, 2017. Read More ›

EPA Stays RMP Rule Amendments and Grants Petition for Reconsideration

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stayed the implementation of a significant revision of the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule pending the receipt of additional comments. Simultaneously, EPA has granted a request for a motion for reconsideration filed by several trade associations whose industry members would be affected by the rule changes, setting up the possibility that EPA will significantly amend the rule or rescind the rule amendment package. Read More ›

EPA Releases Final RMP Amendments, Awaits Response of New Administration

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a final rule updating the Accidental Release Prevention rules at 40 C.F.R. Part 68, which implement the Clean Air Act Section112(r)(7) risk management planning program. A pre-publication copy of the rule can be accessed here. Read More ›

Massachusetts Proposes New Greenhouse Gas Rules for Electric Generation, Natural Gas, and Transportation Sectors

On December 16, 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) released draft rules that would impose new greenhouse gas (“GHG”) requirements on the electric energy sector, gas distribution systems, and certain aspects of the transportation sector.  Written comments on the proposed regulations are due on or before February 24, 2017, and public hearings are currently scheduled for February 6 and February 8, 2017. Read More ›

Mass DEP Proposes Changes to Air Program

In August 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) proposed several changes to its air regulations as part of its efforts to streamline regulations and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens under Executive Order 562.  These changes will affect a wide range of industrial and commercial facilities.  Read More ›

EPA Region 1 Continues its Crackdown on Urban Storm Sewer Systems

U.S. EPA Region 1 has slowly pursued enforcement cases against a large number of Massachusetts municipalities subject to stormwater permitting requirements of the small municipal separate storm sewer system program, known as MS4 systems, and the City of Haverhill is the latest target to settle.  Read More ›

“Oh The Times . . . They are A-Changing:” EPA & DOJ Follow Through on Worker Endangerment Initiative

On October 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that four Texas companies agreed to plead guilty to criminal violations of the Clean Air Act at oil and chemical processing facilities, and to collectively pay $3.5 million in fines to the government.  While Clean Air Act criminal prosecutions are no longer rare events, and the total fines imposed set no new records, these cases are noteworthy for three critical reasons:  Read More ›