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Weekly Update Volume 31, Issue 1

01/08/2001

LITIGATION

Note: The cases listed are available from the ELR Document Service.



red bar graphic  CAA, HAZARDOUS AIR POLLUTANTS (HAPs), CEMENT MANUFACTURING:

The D.C. Circuit affirmed in part and remanded in part EPA's HAP emission regulations for cement manufacturing. The regulations were challenged by an environmental and an industrial group. The Agency properly set emission floors for PM and dioxin/furan using a technology-based approach. The CAA does not unambiguously forbid EPA from using the average emission levels estimated for the best 12 % achieved from multiple plants using the same technology, as was the case here, instead of limiting data to the best 12 % of plants. EPA erred, however, in failing to set emission standards for hydrogen chloride (HCl), mercury, and total hydrocarbons. That these HAPs are not controlled by technology does not excuse EPA from setting emission standards for them. Additionally, EPA violated the CAA by failing to consider non-air quality health and environmental impacts of potential beyond-the-floor standards for HAP metals. However, EPA properly used particulate matter (PM) as a surrogate for non-volatile HAPs. The regulations do not treat PM as a HAP generally, or as a pollutant, the emissions of which determine whether a cement plant is a major source of emissions. Because PM control technology indiscriminately captures HAP metals along with other particulates, then even if the ratio of metals to PM is small and variable, it is a reasonable surrogate for metals. Finally, EPA was not required to consider material submitted outside the administrative record by the industrial group in determining a method to be used by a cement kiln when it is attempting to establish it is not a major source of HCl emissions. National Lime Ass'n v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 99-1325 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 15, 2000) (18 pp.).

red bar graphic  CAA, PETROLEUM REFINERIES, STATIONARY GAS TURBINES:

The Third Circuit held that EPA erroneously classified two stationary gas turbines in an electrical power complex in Delaware City, Delaware, as subject to regulation under standards of performance for petroleum refineries. The regulations apply to affected facilities in petroleum refineries as well as to petroleum refineries. The stationary gas turbines at issue are part of a larger project that will convert high-sulfur petroleum coke from the adjacent petroleum refinery into synthesis gas that will be burned at the gas turbines to produce steam and electricity to power the adjacent refinery. EPA argued that because the project is located adjacent to a refinery that is under common ownership and control, it should be considered part of the adjacent refinery, and, therefore, the gas turbines, which are an integral part of the powering project, are "in" a petroleum refinery. However, under EPA's argument, any fuel gas combustion device located in a facility adjacent to the refinery would be subject to regulation because such devices would be treated as affected facilities in a petroleum refinery. Moreover, although the project is adjacent to a refinery owned by the same company, it is in a free-standing building in an electric power plant complex that is physically separate and distinct from the refinery. Neither the project nor the electric power plant complex in which it is located is a refinery. Additionally, the project is neither part of the adjacent refinery nor necessary to the refinery's operations. Therefore, because EPA incorrectly included the stationary gas turbines for regulation under the standards of performance for petroleum refineries, its determination was vacated. Star Enterprises v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, No. 98-6321 (3d Cir. Dec. 7, 2000) (20 pp.).

red bar graphic  CERCLA, RESPONSE COSTS, STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS:

The Fifth Circuit held that CERCLA site owners' CERCLA response cost claims against an environmental contractor are not time-barred and that the contractor may be liable as an operator or arranger, but not as a transporter. The contractor was hired to assess groundwater quality at the owners' Lake Charles, Louisiana, CERCLA site. Less than three years after wells were installed, the owners suspected potentially serious technical and physical deficiencies and received approval from the state environmental agency to plug and abandon the wells. The owners and the contractor entered an interim agreement to allocate responsibility for the costs of plugging and abandoning the wells, and, according to the owners, to allow time for investigation of the wells without allowing the statute of limitations to run on any claims. The owners then initiated a state court suit against the contractor, and four years later the contractor sued the owners in federal court seeking reimbursement for its CERCLA response costs. The statute of limitations in CERCLA §113(g)(2) applies to initial contribution actions, such as the one raised by the owners in their counterclaim. While §113(f) is the vehicle for bringing a contribution action, it does not create a new cause of action or create any new liabilities, rather, it is a mechanism for apportioning CERCLA §107 costs. If there has been no prior §107 cost recovery action, as is the case here, then a contribution action becomes an initial action for recovery and must be brought within six years. Additionally, the response action in this case was properly classified as a removal action, and was, therefore, brought within the appropriate six-year time period. At the time the contractors began their work, it was considered a removal action and not remedial in nature. Although the wells may later have been used for remediation, their ultimate use is irrelevant because the crucial response activity occurred during the contractor's involvement. Further, on remand, although the contractor may be considered a CERCLA operator or arranger, the district court correctly determined that the contractor was not a transporter. Moreover, the district court improperly granted the contractor summary judgment on the owners' state-law claims for breach of contract and fraud, but correctly granted summary judgment to the contractor on the owners' breach of warranty and negligence claims. Geraghty & Miller, Inc. v. Conoco, Inc., No. 99-20020 (5th Cir. Dec. 19, 2000) (20 pp.).

red bar graphic   CERCLA, LIABILITY ALLOCATION, CONSENT DECREE:

The Third Circuit held that a CERCLA consent decree that resolves the liability of three settling rail companies does not unfairly allocate responsibility for cleanup at the Paoli Rail Yard site in Paoli, Pennsylvania. After proposing and entering a consent decree resolving the liability of the three rail companies, EPA issued an administrative order to the non-settling party requiring it to implement remedies from an EPA record of decision related to the site's watershed. The decree gave protection to the settling parties for past, interim, and future response costs of the United States and Pennsylvania, including the work the non-settling party is to perform under the administrative order. The non-settling party claimed that CERCLA does not permit the contribution protection the consent decree provided the settling parties. The decree gives the settling parties contribution protection for the remedies that they will perform under the decree, which are matters addressed in the settlement, and for the remedies that the non-settling railyard owner and operator will perform under the administrative order, which are matters not addressed in the settlement. Therefore, the non-settling party argued that the decree is a partial settlement and the rail companies are entitled to contribution protection only for the remedies they are undertaking under the consent decree. However, the consent decree is not a partial settlement. The rail companies agreed to take on the remedies necessary to clean up the railyard in order to resolve their liability for the entire site, including the watershed area. Reading the settlement as a whole, it is reasonable to conclude that it addresses matters related to the entire site. Additionally, the district court did not abuse its discretion by accepting years of ownership and operation as a plausible method on which to judge the fairness of the consent decree. Further, the consent decree is not unfair because it sets a floor for the non-settling party's liability, but a ceiling for the settling parties' liability. Finally, the consent decree is not unfair because the non-settling party will be responsible for highly speculative future costs. United States v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, No. 99-1479 (3d Cir. Dec. 26, 2000) (11 pp.).

red bar graphic  CWA, ONGOING VIOLATIONS, STANDING:

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court holding that environmental groups had standing to bring an action against a shipyard operator for ongoing CWA violations and found that the district court's injunctive measures and civil penalties were not an abuse of discretion. The groups satisfied all the requirements for standing by showing an injury-in-fact that was fairly traceable to the shipyard and that could be redressed by a favorable court decision. Additionally, the groups' notice-of-intent-to-sue letter was sufficient under the CWA's notice requirements. The letter was mailed to the appropriate entities and identified the persons giving notice and the persons responsible for the alleged violation. Although the letter did not identify a specific date of CWA violations, the groups satisfied this requirement by alleging ongoing general violations of the shipyard's permits. Further, the district court did not err in concluding that the shipyard operator had committed ongoing violations of its stormwater permit. Moreover, the injunctive relief imposed by the district court based on the violations of CWA permits was proper. The injunctive measures were consistent with the terms of the shipyard operator's stormwater permits and sought to enforce the requirements of those permits and the relevant plans. Finally, the civil penalties imposed by the district court were not excessive or an abuse of discretion. Natural Resources Defense Council v. Southwest Marine, Inc., Nos. 99-56532, -56545 (9th Cir. Dec. 19, 2000) (19 pp.).

red bar graphic  OPA, RULEMAKING, U.S. COAST GUARD:

The D.C. Circuit granted environmental groups' petition for mandamus compelling the Coast Guard to promulgate OPA regulations that establish minimum compliance standards and use requirements for tank level and pressure monitoring devices (TLPM) on oil tankers. OPA §4110 required the Coast Guard to promulgate the regulations by August 18, 1991. In March 1997, the Coast Guard adopted a temporary rule, effective for two years, that established standards for TLPM devices, but left open questions of installation and use of compliant devices. The rule expired two years later and the Coast Guard gave notice of completed action, stating that no further action was necessary because current technology could not create a device that met reasonable standards. However, the petition for mandamus is granted because the Coast Guard failed to act in the face of a statutorily proscribed duty. The OPA commands the Coast Guard to establish some sort of compliance standards and use requirements by August 1991. There are no such standards or requirements, and the Coast Guard has disavowed any further action. All relevant factors favor granting mandamus: a nine-year delay is unreasonable given a clear one-year time line and the Coast Guard's admission that it will do no more; the delayed regulations implicate important environmental concerns; and the Coast Guard has not shown that expedited rulemaking here will interfere with other, higher priority activities. The Coast Guard's failure to issue regulations defining "other waters" over which single-hulled tankers must be escorted by at least two towing vessels, however, is not in violation of a clear statutory duty. In re Bluewater Network, No. 99-1502 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 22, 2000) (13 pp.).

red bar graphic  NEPA, MINING, EIS, RECORD OF DECISION (ROD):

The Ninth Circuit held that the U.S. Forest Service's EIS and ROD for a mining operation on and around Buckhorn Mountain in California did not violate NEPA, the APA, or Native American trust obligations. The EIS and ROD contain adequate discussions of the measures necessary to mitigate the environmental consequences of the operation's mine-pit lake, the water overflow from the lake, and waste-rock dumps. Although the mitigating measures are described in general terms and rely on general processes rather than specific substantive requirements, the actual adverse effects are uncertain and the EIS considered extensively the potential effects and mitigation processes. Moreover, the Forest Service did not defer to state agencies its responsibility for reviewing mitigation measures. In addition, the Regional Forester did not rely on any materials outside the administrative record in upholding the validity of the EIS and ROD. Although post-ROD documents were submitted to the Forester, the Forester did not base his decision on the data found in those documents. Further, the Forest Service did not fail to select the most environmentally preferable, but still profitable, project alternative in violation of 16 U.S.C. §§478 and 551. In choosing between project alternatives, environmental interests do not always trump mining interests. Last, the Forest Service did not violate trust obligations owed to Native American tribe members who will be unable to hunt and fish on approximately 2,000 acres of their territory during the life of the mining project. The EIS and ROD contained numerous acknowledgements of the tribe's reserved rights. Okanogan Highlands Alliance v. Williams, Nos. 99-35537, -35538 (9th Cir. Dec. 29, 2000) (21 pp.).

red bar graphic  CWA, FILLING OF WETLANDS, SENTENCING:

The Sixth Circuit affirmed in part and remanded in part the sentence of an individual convicted for filling wetlands in violation of the CWA. The two-level downward departure granted by the district court was proper. The factors relied on by the district court were adequately considered in the sentencing guidelines and included consideration of the nature of the pollutant and the risk involved.  However, the district court's grant of two one-level downward departures was an abuse of discretion because it was based on a fundamental disagreement with the law and an inappropriate comparison to a wholly unrelated case. Additionally, the individual did not clearly show acceptance of responsibility for the crime to warrant a two-level decrease of his sentence. The district court did not err, however, in refusing to grant a two-level enhancement of the individual's sentence for obstruction of justice. United States v. Rapanos, Nos. 98-2424 et al. (6th Cir. Dec. 15, 2000) (5 pp.).

red bar graphic  WATER LAW, IRRIGATION, APPORTIONMENT OF COSTS:

The Eighth Circuit held that a South Dakota irrigation district's method of assessing construction debt and operation and maintenance (O&M) costs to landowners within the district does not violate state or federal law. The landowners argued that the district's equal assessment of O&M costs and proportional assessment of construction debt violated state law, which requires assessment to be made according to the benefit received. The district, however, need not assess landowners according to the benefit received if its contract with the Bureau of Reclamation requires a different method of assessment. Here, the district's 1971 contract with the Bureau established the method of assessment in use today. The lack of judicial confirmation does not invalidate the contract. Moreover, although a majority of landowners did not vote in favor of the 1971 contract, it was within the power of the district's board of directors to authorize the contract by resolution. Further, a 1984 contract with the Bureau did not supersede the 1971 contract. The landowners also argued that the district violated federal law by failing to equitably apportion construction costs according to the land's productive value. The district's proportional assessment of construction debt based on land class, however, does not violate the federal standard that construction charges be apportioned equitably. Concerned Irrigators v. Belle Fourche Irrigation District, Nos. 99-1895, -1922 (8th Cir. Jan. 2, 2001) (13 pp.).

red bar graphic  QUIET TITLE ACT, RIGHT OF ACCESS, ESTOPPEL:

The Eighth Circuit held that the Quiet Title Act's 12-year statute of limitations barred a landowner's action to quiet title to a right of access to his property through the southern half of an adjoining park in South Dakota that was condemned by the federal government in 1949. The landowner was able to reach his property from the south by using a park road. In 1988, however, the park road was blocked by a fence, leaving him able to reach his property only through the north or through a locked gate in the south. The landowner claimed that his right to use the road was never taken during the 1949 condemnation and, thus, sought to quiet title to that right. However, because the landowner's predecessor-in-interest was a party to the condemnation and was aware that the land in question was to be taken in fee simple absolute with no residual interests remaining, the condemnation placed the landowner's predecessor-in-interest on reasonable notice in 1949 of the government's claim. Therefore, because the landowner did not file the current action until 1997, the action was time-barred. In addition, various state and federal officials were not estopped from denying him the access he sought. Although state officials allegedly promised him that he would always have access from the south, promises made by state officials cannot estop the federal government from asserting its fee simple title in the property. Long v. Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, No. 99-4243 (8th Cir. Jan. 4, 2001) (14 pp).

red bar graphic  NATIVE AMERICAN LANDS, LAND ASSIGNMENTS, TAKINGS, SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY:

The Federal Circuit held that a case involving the issuance of two Indian Land Certificates was properly transferred from a district court to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. In 1944, the DOI issued an individual two parcels of land and cancelled the land assignments on his death in 1989. His heirs challenged the cancellation in a district court, claiming a taking and requesting the right to occupy the land or, in the alternative, damages in excess of $50,000. Citing a lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the district court transferred the case to the Court of Federal Claims. 28 U.S.C. §§1346 and 1491 waive sovereign immunity of the United States and grant district courts subject matter jurisdiction over monetary damage claims against the United States, but not for equitable relief claims. Therefore, §§1346 and 1491 constitute waivers of sovereign immunity of the United States with respect to the heirs' claims for damages for the alleged taking of the property, but not for their claim for injunctive relief. Additionally, 28 U.S.C. §1353 does not confer jurisdiction on the district court because the land certificates did not effect allotments. The land at issue was purchased by the Secretary of the Interior with discretionary funds, and when he conveyed the land, the record reveals that he elected to convey only temporary use and occupancy rights to individual Native Americans. Although the Court of Federal Claims cannot grant the equitable relief the heirs request -- return of their property -- that court has jurisdiction over the individuals' claim for monetary damages in excess of $10,000. Further, the heirs have not cited any waiver of the United State's sovereign immunity that might permit the district court to entertain their claim for equitable relief. Cermak v. Babbitt, No. 00-1098 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 13, 2000) (17 pp.).

red bar graphic  NEPA, NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT (NHPA), STANDING:

The Ninth Circuit held that homeowners had standing to sue the city of San Francisco for violations of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) it entered under NEPA and NHPA before constructing a low-income housing project in the homeowners' neighborhood, but the homeowners did not have standing to sue the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or a development corporation. The homeowners' homes are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in the project's neighborhood. They challenged construction of the project, claiming that the city violated NEPA and the NHPA by violating the terms of the MOA, which required the city to consult with the public when objections to the project were raised. The homeowners showed injury-in-fact from the project because it adversely affected the integrity of their properties' location, design, setting, and feeling. Additionally, the homeowners' injury is fairly traceable to the city's construction of the project, allegedly in violation of its obligation to consult with the public. Further, the homeowners' injury is redressable through compliance with the MOA's terms. Moreover, the homeowners can enforce the MOA because, although they were not signatories, the MOA specifically provides that the public can raise objections. The homeowners, however, do not have standing against HUD and the development corporation because there is neither a causal connection between their injury and the conduct complained of, nor is there any redressability in relation to HUD or the corporation. Tyler v. Cuomo, No. 99-16242 (9th Cir. Dec. 15, 2000) (19 pp.).

red bar graphic  TRIBAL IMMUNITY, TRIBAL CRIMINAL JURISDICTION,

The Tenth Circuit affirmed a district court's dismissal of three Native Americans' claims against numerous federal, state, and tribal officials for violations of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 42 U.S.C. §1983, and three 19th century treaties. The Native Americans were arrested on tribal grounds by tribal officers, transported to nearby city jails, detained for two to three hours, and then brought back to their own city where they were charged in the Choctaw Court of Indian Offenses for disturbing the peace and interfering with a police officer or resisting arrest. Due to their sovereign status, and because there has been no waiver, the tribal officials are immune from suit in their official capacities. Additionally, the Choctaw Nation has inherent criminal jurisdiction over its members, and that jurisdiction has not been waived by the tribe nor abrogated by Congress. Further, because the tribal defendants did not act as federal employees or agents or under color of law, the claims against them in their individual capacities were properly dismissed. Moreover, an 1855 treaty that allows Choctaw citizens to seek compensation for injuries in federal court is not applicable because none of the actions at issue in this case is attributable to federal personnel, and indemnification is not available for actions of tribal defendants. Because the tribal officers were acting under authority inherent in the Choctaw Nation's sovereignty, and not under authority granted by the Secretary of the Interior, the intentional tort exception of the FTCA applies, and the United States is immune from the FTCA claims. Finally, the city defendants did not violate 42 U.S.C. §1983 by detaining the Native Americans for two to three hours. Dry v. United States, No. 99-7110 (10th Cir. Dec. 19, 2000) (10 pp.).

red bar graphic  INSURANCE, ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP COSTS, PROPERTY ACQUIRED AFTER POLICY PERIOD:

A California appellate court affirmed a trial court holding that three comprehensive general liability insurers could not be required to defend or indemnify an insured property owner with respect to environmental cleanup costs and other liabilities arising from property that the owner did not own during the relevant policy periods. In its holding, the trial court declared itself bound by stare decisis to state precedent to find that where the insurance policies are ambiguous on the issue of liability for after-acquired property, the reasonable expectations of a policy holder could not include the expectation of coverage for the liability in question. On appeal, the property owner claimed that the state precedent relied on by the trial court contradicted California Supreme Court statements that liability is triggered by the occurrence of property damage. Here there is no doubt that coverage was triggered by property damage on the subject properties with respect to any policies covering these properties. However, the California Supreme Court never addressed whether insurance policies cover liabilities arising from ownership of properties acquired after the policy period. Moreover, insurance coverage can be imposed only where the insured can demonstrate that all facts necessary to establish coverage were in existence during the policy period. Similarly, it is neither reasonable nor consonant with the terms of general liability policies to require insurers to cover liabilities based on facts that did not occur during the policy period. Tosco Corp. v. General Insurance Co. of America, Nos. A082765 et al. (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 28, 2000) (10 pp.).

Copyright© 2001, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved

THE FEDERAL AGENCIES
large red bar graphic

Note: Citations below are to the Federal Register.


red bar graphic  AIR:



  • EPA amended the pulp and paper NESHAPs by revising the pulping process vent standards, the biological treatment system standards, monitoring requirements, and test methods and procedures to address technical issues identified after promulgation of the 1998 pulp and paper NESHAP. 65 FR 80755 (12/22/00). 

  • EPA proposed NESHAPs for large appliance surface coating operations located at major sources of hazardous air pollutants. 65 FR 81133 (12/22/00). 

  • EPA announced its intent to amend the new source performance standards and emission guidelines for large municipal waste combustors to provide regulatory relief from the 3-hour limitation period for shutdowns that, due to the nature of the malfunction and ensuing safety concerns, require longer than 3 hours for shutdown. 65 FR 79046 (12/18/00). 

  • EPA issued a notice of regulatory finding that the regulation of emissions of hazardous air pollutants from fossil fuel-fired electric utility steam generating units is appropriate and necessary.
    65 FR 79825 (12/20/00). 

  • EPA proposed to amend the federal nitrogen oxide (NOx) budget trading program regulations by revising the allowance allocations for certain NOx budget units subject to the program that were issued in January 2000 for purposes of mitigating the interstate transport of NOx. 65 FR 80398 (12/21/00).

  • EPA removed requirements relative to the revised 1997 NAAQS for particulate matter having an aerodynamic diameter of 10 microns or less (PM10), which clarified the applicability of the 1987 PM10 NAAQS, to ensure that the 1987 PM10 NAAQS will continue to apply in lieu of the 1997 NAAQS for those areas subject to the standards, which were vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. 65 FR 80776 (12/22/00). 

  • FWS, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service, announced the availability of the final Federal Land Managers' Air Quality Related Values Work Group (FLAG) Phase I Report. 66 FR 382 (1/3/00). 

  • EPA expanded the list of acceptable substitutes for ozone-depleting substances under the Significant New Alternatives Policy program. 65 FR 78977 (12/18/00). 

  • EPA took final action making findings that Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the District of Columbia failed to make complete SIP submittals required under the CAA.  65 FR 81366 (12/26/00). 

  • EPA proposed to amend its regulations governing the interim approval of state and local operating permit programs. 65 FR 79791 (12/20/00).

  • EPA approved Montana's operating permit program. 65 FR 80785 (12/22/00). 

red bar graphic  DRINKING WATER:



  • EPA announced that it intends to approve a revision to Oregon's public water supply supervision primacy program. 65 FR 80862 (12/22/00). 

  • EPA tentatively approved revisions to Delaware's public water system supervision primacy program. 66 FR 370 (1/3/01). 

  • EPA tentatively approved revisions to Virginia's public water system supervision primacy program. 66 FR 1135 (1/5/01).

red bar graphic  ENDANGERED SPECIES:



  • The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed to extend the range of critical habitat designated for the Southern California steelhead evolutionarily significant unit to San Mateo Creek in northern San Diego County, Calif. 65 FR 79328 (12/19/00). 

  • FWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service announced the availability of proposed internal policy regarding the prescription of fishways under the Federal Power Act for non-federal hydropower projects licensed by FERC. 65 FR 80898 (12/22/00).

red bar graphic  HAZARDOUS WASTE:



  • EPA temporarily deferred the land disposal restrictions requirement that PCBs be considered constituents subject to treatment when they are present in soils that exhibit the toxicity characteristic for metals.  65 FR 81373 (12/26/00). 

  • EPA proposed to enter into two administrative settlements with 19 parties under CERCLA §122(h)(1) in connection with the ILCO Superfund site. 65 FR 83014 (12/29/00). 

  • EPA entered into a proposed prospective purchaser agreement under CERCLA in connection with the Old Roosevelt Field Contaminated Groundwater Area Superfund site in Garden City, N.Y. 65 FR 82877 (12/28/00).

  • EPA entered into a proposed administrative settlement under CERCLA §122(i) in connection with three Superfund sites: the Velsicol/Hardeman County Landfill Superfund Site, Toone, Tenn.; the Mathis Brothers/South Marble Top Road Landfill Superfund Site, Kensington, Ga.; and the Shaver's Farm Superfund Site, Lafayette, Ga. 65 FR 80429 (12/21/00). 

  • EPA entered into a proposed prospective purchaser agreement in connection with the Leavenworth Auto Parts Superfund site in Leavenworth, Kan. 65 FR 80858 (12/22/00). 

  • EPA announced the availability of the Draft Guidance for National Hazardous Waste Ombudsman and Regional Superfund Ombudsmen Program. 66 FR 365 (1/3/01). 

  • EPA withdrew its approval of final authorization for revisions to Arizona's hazardous waste management program published on October 27, 2000. 65 FR 80790 (12/22/00).

  • EPA authorized revisions to Alabama's hazardous waste program under RCRA. 65 FR 79769 (12/20/00). 

  • EPA approved revisions to the Montana hazardous waste program. 65 FR 81381 (12/26/00). 

  • EPA approved Washington's operating permits program. 66 FR 16 (1/2/01). 

  • EPA approved revisions to Florida's hazardous waste management program. 66 FR 22 (1/2/01). 

  • EPA approved revisions to Louisiana's hazardous waste program. 66 FR 23 (1/2/01). 

  • EPA approved revisions to Oklahoma's hazardous waste program. 66 FR 28 (1/2/01). 

  • EPA approved revisions to Indiana's hazardous waste program under RCRA. 66 FR 733 (1/4/01). 

red bar graphic  MINING:



  • OSM published final rules that amend application and permit information requirements and that redesign permit eligibility criteria under SMCRA. 65 FR 79581 (12/19/00).

red bar graphic  SMCRA APPROVALS:


red bar graphic  OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT:



  • The Council of Environmental Quality issued guidelines for implementing Executive Order 13141, which makes explicit the United States' commitment to a policy of careful assessment and consideration of the environmental impacts of trade agreements, including, in certain instances, written environmental reviews. 65 FR 79442 (12/19/00). 

red bar graphic  TOXIC SUBSTANCES:



  • EPA issued a regulation establishing standards for lead-based paint hazards in most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities under TSCA §403. 66 FR 1205 (1/5/01).

red bar graphic  TRANSPORTATION:



  • DOT's Research and Special Programs Administration issued a final rule defining drinking water and ecological areas that are unusually sensitive to environmental damage should there be a hazardous liquid pipeline release.  65 FR 80529 (12/21/00).

red bar graphic  WATER QUALITY:



  • EPA established effluent limitations guidelines, pretreatment standards, and new source performance standards for the centralized waste treatment point source category. 65 FR 81241 (12/22/00). 

  • EPA proposed effluent limitations guidelines and standards for wastewater discharges from iron and steel facilities. 65 FR 81963 (12/27/00). 

  • EPA proposed national effluent limitations guidelines and pretreatment standards for wastewater discharges from metal products and machinery facilities. 66 FR 423 (1/3/01). 

  • EPA announced the availability of the Draft Guidance on Implementing the Water Quality-Based Provisions in the Combined Sewer Overflow Control Policy. 66 FR 364 (1/3/01). 

  • EPA assessed a class II penalty assessment under CWA §§311(b) and 309(g) of $9,800 against Saputo Cheese USA, Inc., for failing to prepare spill prevention control and countermeasure plans for 4 facilities where it stored diesel oil in above ground tanks and for failing to prepare and implement storm water pollution prevention plans as required by its NPDES permit for 10 facilities. 65 FR 79364 (12/19/00). 

  • EPA Region VII announced its tentative determination to issue NPDES general permits for facilities or operations that generate, treat, and/or use/dispose of sewage sludge by means of land application, landfill, and surface disposal in the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming, and in Indian country in the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah, except for the Goshute Indian Reservation and the Navajo Indian Reservation. 66 FR 793 (1/4/01).

  • EPA announced the availability of its proposed determinations that total maximum daily loads are not needed for 54 waterbody/pollutant combinations in the Mermenatu and Vermilion/Teche river basins in Louisiana. 65 FR 79100 (12/18/00). 

red bar graphic  DOJ NOTICES OF SETTLEMENTS:



  • U.S. v. American Home Products, No. C00-4173MWB (N.D. Iowa Dec. 8, 2000) (four settling CERCLA defendants must pay $212,400 in past response costs for EPA's unreimbursed oversight costs at the InterChem Superfund site in Alton, Iowa), 65 FR 82389 (12/28/00);

  • U.S. v. Champion Chemical Co., No. 96-1521 (AET) (D.N.Y. Dec. 7, 2000). (in connection with the Imperial Oil Company, Inc./Champion Chemical Superfund site in Marlboro Township, N.J., and the Burnt Fly Bog Superfund site in Marlboro Township and Old Bridge Township, N.J., one group of settling CERCLA defendants must pay at least $1.375 million in past EPA response costs incurred at the sites, must pay a portion of the United States' and state's insurance recoveries related to the sites and proceeds from the sale of the property at the Imperial site, and must pay a $75,000 civil penalty; a second group of settling CERCLA defendants must pay $100,000 toward the Imperial site and $100,000 toward the Burnt Fly Bog site in reimbursement of past EPA response costs incurred at the sites), 65 FR 82389 (12/28/00);

  • U.S. v. Columbus McKinnon Corp., No. C00-3096MWB (N.D. Iowa Dec. 4, 2000) (a settling CAA defendant that violated the Act and NESHAPs for chromium emissions at its Laurens, Iowa, facility must pay a $60,000 civil penalty), 65 FR 82390 (12/28/00);

  • U.S. v. Hexagon Laboratories of New York, Inc., No. 96 Civ. 2911 (DAB) (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 18, 2000) (a settling CERCLA defendant must pay $110,000 in past EPA response costs incurred at the Hexagon Laboratories Superfund site in Bronx, N.Y.), 65 FR 82390 (12/28/00);

  • U.S. v. Petroleum Specialties, Inc., No. 99-72421 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 7, 2000) (a settling CERCLA and OPA defendant must pay $6 million in U.S. response and removal costs incurred at the Petroleum Specialties, Inc., site in Flat Rock, Mich.; a second settling defendant must pay $150,000 in U.S. response and removal costs incurred at the site), 65 FR 82391 (12/28/00);

  • U.S. v. Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority, No. 00-2554 (JAF) (D.P.R. Dec. 8, 2000) (a settling SDWA and CWA defendant that discharged wastewater from 23 of its drinking water treatment plants and that failed to provide filtration of the surface waters it uses to supply drinking water to 20 of its public water systems must pay a $550,000 civil penalty and must implement two supplemental environmental projects estimated to cost $490,600), 65 FR 82391 (12/28/00);

  • U.S. v. Friedland, No. 96 N 1213 (D. Colo. Dec. 22, 2000) (a settling CERCLA defendant must pay $27,750,000 in past and future response costs incurred and to be incurred in connection with the Summitville Mine Superfund site near Del Norte, Colo.), 65 FR 83084 (12/29/00);

  • U.S. v. Montrose Chemical Corp. of California, No. CV 90-3122-R (C.D. Cal. Dec. 19, 2000) (settling CERCLA defendants must pay $73 million in response costs and in federal and California natural resources damages caused by the release of DDT from the Montrose Chemical Corporation of California plant to the Pacific Ocean and associated contamination of sediments on the Palos Verdes shelf in the vicinity of Los Angeles, Cal.),
    66 FR 117 (1/2/01);

  • U.S. v. University of Hawaii, No. Cv 00-00806 DAE BMK (D. Haw. Dec. 18, 2000) (a settling RCRA defendant that operated hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facilities without a permit or interim status, failed to mark stored containers as hazardous waste, failed to mark the accumulation of start dates on containers in storage facilities, and failed to determine whether hazardous wastes were being stored in various storage facilities in Hawaii must pay a $505,000 civil penalty, must undertake extensive injunctive relief, and must perform a supplemental environmental project valued at $1.2 million), 66 FR 117 (1/2/01);

  • U.S. v. ASARCO, No. 96-0122-N-EJL (D. Idaho Dec. 28, 2000) (in connection with the Bunker Hill Superfund Facilities in the Coeur d'Alene Basin in Idaho, two settling CERCLA and CWA defendants must impose conservation easements on certain environmentally sensitive timberlands in the Basin and convey title to those lands to an independent trustee who will later convey title either to the United States or to a Native American tribe; must pay royalties to the United States and the tribe on all mining revenues from their properties in the basin at rates tied to the market price of silver; must issue to the United States and the tribe warrants convertible into 9.95 percent of their reorganized stock; and must perform certain clean up work at the closed mill structure at the Silver Summit Mine site), 66 FR 387 (1/3/01).

Copyright© 2001, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. 

THE CONGRESS
large red bar graphic

red bar graphic  BILLS INTRODUCED



  • H.R. 20 (Greenwood, R-Pa.) (CAA) would amend CAA §211 to modify the provisions regarding the oxygen content of reformulated gasoline and to improve the regulation of the fuel additive, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 23 (Barr, R-Ga.) (presidential orders; congressional review) would permit congressional review of certain presidential orders. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

  • H.R. 25 (Sweeney, R-N.Y.) (CAA) would reduce acid deposition under the CAA. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 33 (Bereuter, R-Neb.) (agriculture) would amend the Agricultural Market Transition Act to authorize a program to encourage agricultural producers to rest and rehabilitate croplands while enhancing soil and water conservation and wildlife habitat. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture.

  • H.R. 36 (Bereuter, R-Neb.) (national trails) would amend the National Trails System Act to authorize an additional category of national trail known as a national discovery trail, to provide special requirements for the establishment and administration of national discovery trails, and to designate the cross country American Discovery Trail as the first national discovery trail. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources. 

  • H.R. 37 (Bereuter, R-Neb.) (national trails) would amend the National Trails System Act to update the feasibility and suitability studies of four national historic trails and provide for possible additions to such trails. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources.

  • H.R. 38 (Bereuter, R-Neb.) (Homestead National Monument) would provide for additional lands to be included within the boundaries of the Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources. 

  • H.R. 39 (Young, Alaska) (oil and gas leasing) would establish and implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program that will result in an environmentally sound and job creating program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources. 

  • H.R. 52 (Condit, D-Cal.) (CAA) would amend the CAA to permit the exclusive application of California state regulations regarding reformulated gas in certain areas within the state. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • H.R. 54 (Condit, D-Cal.) (regulatory reform; private sector mandates) would improve congressional deliberation on proposed federal private sector mandates. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Rules.

  • H.R. 64 (Ehlers, R-Mich.) (EPA) would provide for the establishment of the position of Deputy Administrator for Science and Technology of EPA. 147 CONG. REC. H25 (daily ed. Jan. 3, 2001). The bill was referred to the Committee on Science.

Copyright© 2001, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. 

IN THE STATES

red bar graphic ALABAMA


Dept. of Envtl. Management


Public Notices–Permit Applications 



Daily Ozone Forecast



Jefferson County Dept. of Health


Daily Air Quality Index


red bar graphic  ALASKA


Dept. of Envtl. Conservation


Proposed Regulations-Air



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red bar graphic ARIZONA


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


"Brown Cloud Summit" Recommendations



Superfund Program-Proposed Registry Inclusions, Prospective Purchaser Agreements



Arizona Emissions Bank


red bar graphic ARKANSAS


Dept. of Environmental Quality


10-Year Strategic Plan


red bar graphic CALIFORNIA


Air Resources Board


Proposed Regulations-Zero Emission Vehicles



Innovative Clean Air Technologies Program



Final Carl Moyer Guideline Standards



Dept. of Toxic Substances Control


Proposed Regulations



Water Resources Control Board


Board Meeting Agenda



Sanitary Sewer and Treatment Facility Survey



California Energy Commission


Emergency Regulations-Licensing Procedures, Thermal Power Plants



  • Promulgated licensing procedures as required by Assembly Bill 970 (California Energy Security and Reliability Act). See http://www.energy.ca.gov

Carcinogen Identification Committee



South Coast Air Quality Management District


Proposed Regulations-New Source Review/RECLAIM



Proposed Regulations-School Buses


red bar graphic COLORADO


Air Quality Control Commission


Proposed Regulations



Water Quality Control Commission


Proposed Regulations


red bar graphic CONNECTICUT


Dept. of Envtl. Protection


Final Regulations



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red bar graphic DELAWARE


Dept. of Nat. Resources and Envtl. Control


Notices of Violation



Regulatory Update


red bar graphic FLORIDA


Dept. of Envtl. Protection


Proposed Regulations-Air Quality



  • Jan. 23, 2001, workshop will discuss proposed amendments to address the transfer of air permits and to introduce a new Transfer of Air Permit Form, incorporate general conditions for all non-Title V air general permits, and add a new general permit for nonmetallic mineral processing plants. 

Water Allocation Negotiations



Reuse Reports


red bar graphic GEORGIA


Dept. of Natural Resources, Envtl. Protection Division


Air Permit Applications



NPDES Permit Applications


red bar graphic HAWAII


Office of Envtl. Quality Control


Environmental Impact Notices



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red bar graphic IDAHO


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Outstanding Resource Waters-Petitions


red bar graphic ILLINOIS


Pollution Control Board


Open Regulatory Dockets



Envtl. Protection Agency


Proposed TMDLs




  • Proposed TMDLs for the DuPage River watershed. Public hearing Jan. 25, 2001.



  • For the Salt Creek watershed. Public hearing Jan. 24, 2001. 


  See http://www.epa.state.il.us


Permit Applications



See http://www.epa.state.il.us


Strategic Planning Process


red bar graphic INDIANA


Dept. of Envtl. Management


Final Regulations-Air Quality



  • Amends 326 IAC 15-1-2 concerning source-specific provisions for the control of lead emissions. Amends 326 IAC 15-1-3 concerning control of fugitive lead dust. Adds 326 IAC 20-13 concerning national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants for secondary lead smelters.

  • Amends 326 IAC 20-2-1 concerning accidental releases to incorporate by reference the June 20, 1996, final federal rule for chemical accidental release prevention requirements at 40 CFR 68, Subparts A through H, 64 Fed. Reg. 964, and 64 Fed. Reg. 28696.

Final Regulations-Water Quality



  • Adds 327 IAC 5-22 concerning the classification of wastewater treatment plants and the examination and certification of operators.

  • Amends 327 IAC 8-12 concerning the classification of water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution systems and the examination and certification of operators.

Proposed Regulations-Air Quality



  • Amends 326 IAC 8-12 concerning shipbuilding and ship repair. Adds 326 IAC 20-26 to incorporate by reference federal standards for shipbuilding and ship repair.

  • Amends 326 IAC 20-23-1 concerning off-site waste and recovery operations. Adds 326 IAC 20-33 concerning pulp and paper production (noncombustion). Adds 326 IAC 20-34 concerning phosphoric acid manufacturing and phosphate fertilizers production. Adds 326 IAC 20-35 concerning tanks level 1. Adds 326 IAC 20-36 concerning containers. Adds 326 IAC 20-37 concerning surface impoundments. Adds 326 IAC 20-38 concerning individual drain systems. Adds 326 IAC 20-39 concerning closed vent systems, control devices, recovery devices, and routing to a fuel gas system or a process. Adds 326 IAC 20-40 concerning equipment leaks control level 1. Adds 326 IAC 20-41 concerning equipment leaks control level 2. Adds 326 IAC 20-42 concerning oil-water separators and organic-water separators. Adds 326 IAC 20-43 concerning storage vessels (tanks) control level 2. Adds 326 IAC 20-44 concerning generic maximum achievable control technology standards. Adds 326 IAC 20-45 concerning pesticide active ingredient. Adds 326 IAC 20-46 concerning mineral wool production. Adds 326 IAC 20-47 concerning wool fiberglass manufacturing.

Proposed Regulations-Water Quality



  • Amends 327 IAC 8-2 concerning amendments to 327 IAC 8-2 concerning lead and copper. On January 12, 2000, U.S. EPA published national primary drinking water regulations for lead and copper. These regulations make changes to the lead and copper rule as published June 7, 1991. These minor revisions are being made to improve implementation of the rule. The intended effect of the rule is to eliminate unnecessary requirements, streamline and reduce reporting burden, and promote consistent national implementation of the federal rule. Indiana is required to adopt these revisions in order to maintain primacy (primary enforcement authority) for the lead and copper rule.

Proposed Regulations-Solid Waste



  • 329 IAC 7, regarding the Indiana Scoring Model and the assessment of hazardous substance response sites. This rule will reconsider the maximum score to allow sites to be deleted from the Commissioner's Bulletin. This rule will also consider appropriate criteria or designation for the deletion of sites from the Commissioner's Bulletin as an alternative to using the maximum score for deleting a site.

The above notices may be viewed at http://www.ai.org/legislative/register/January-1-2001.html


Indiana Environment Online


red bar graphic IOWA


Dept. of Natural Resources


Final Regulations-Water Quality


red bar graphic KENTUCKY


Dept. for Envtl. Protection, Division of Water


Public Hearing Notices



Permit Applications


red bar graphic LOUISIANA


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Proposed Regulations-Hazardous Waste



Proposed Regulations-Voluntary Remediation



Proposed Regulations-Underground Storage Tanks



Proposed Regulations-Air Quality




  • Proposed revisions to contingency standards for VOC emission reductions. Comments due Jan. 8. 



  • Proposed revisions to major source definition for ozone control. Comments due Jan. 8. 


See http://www.deq.state.la.us/planning/regs/addition/2000, http://www.deq.state.la.us/planning/regs/addition/2000/0011pot1.pdf, http://www.deq.state.la.us/planning/regs/addition/2000/0011pot2.pdf, and http://www.deq.state.la.us/planning/regs/addition/2000/0011pot3.pdf


Final Regulations-Stormwater



Permit Applications



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red bar graphic MAINE


Dept. of Envtl. Protection


Final Regulations-Oil Terminals/Pipelines



Final Regulations-Air Quality


red bar graphic MARYLAND


Dept. of the Environment


General Permit-Poultry Manure Management



Air Quality-Diesel Trucks



Public Meetings/Hearings



Water Quality Standard-Triennial Review


red bar graphic MASSACHUSETTS


Dept. of Envtl. Protection


Solid Waste "Master Plan"



Enforcement Actions


red bar graphic  MICHIGAN


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Final Regulations-Air Quality



Final Report-Solid Waste Importation



  • Report of task force calls for congressional action, in light of Commerce Clause restrictions on state-imposed bans and import limitations. See http://www.deq.state.mi.us/wmd

Permitting Calendar



Permit Applications-Air Quality



 Air Quality Division Newsletter



Surface Water Quality Division Bulletin



Surface Water Quality Division-Draft Regulations


red bar graphic MINNESOTA


Pollution Control Agency


Proposed General Permit-Livestock Facilities



Recommended Product Bans



Permit Applications, Other Notices


red bar graphic  MISSOURI


Dept. of Natural Resources


Proposed Regulations-Air Quality




  • Proposed revision will add U.S. EPA reference method for sulfuric acid mist. Comments due Feb. 13, 2001; public hearing Feb. 6. 



  • Proposed revisions to definitions in medical/hospital/infectious waste combustor emission standards. Comments due Feb. 13, 2001; public hearing Feb. 6. 


See http://mosl.sos.state.mo.us/moreg/2000/v25n22/v25n22.htm


Proposed TMDLs



Water Pollution Control-Permit Applications


red bar graphic MONTANA


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Public Comment Notices



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red bar graphic NEBRASKA


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Proposed Regulations


red bar graphic NEVADA


Division of Envtl. Protection


Proposed Regulations


red bar graphic NEW HAMPSHIRE


Dept. of Envtl. Services


Proposed Regulations-Water Quality




red bar graphic NEW JERSEY


Dept. of Envtl. Protection


Draft Surface Water Quality Standards



Draft Watershed Management Rules



Current DEP Bulletin (Permit Applications; Proposed Regulations)


red bar graphic NEW MEXICO


Water Quality Control Commission


Proposed Regulations-Liquid Waste Disposal



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red bar graphic NEW YORK


Dept. of Envtl. Conservation


State Land "Unit Management Plan" Initiative



Final Regulations-Air Quality



  • California low emission vehicle standards were promulgated. The revisions to Parts 218 and 200.9, NYCRR 6, are available at http://www.dec.state.ny.us

ALJ Rulings



Environmental Notice Bulletin (Permit Applications)



Permit Applications


red bar graphic  NORTH CAROLINA


Environmental Management Commission


Final Regulations-Coastal Management



Proposed Regulations-Groundwater Quality



Dept. of Envt. and Natural Resources


Division of Air Quality Penalty Assessments



Division of Air Quality Draft Regulations



DENR Enforcement Data



Water Quality-Basinwide Assessment Reports


red bar graphic OHIO


Envtl. Protection Agency


OPEA Actions, Notices by County



Public Meetings



Pending Air Permits


red bar graphic OKLAHOMA


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Draft Source Water Assessment and Protection Program Document


red bar graphic OREGON


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Water Quality Permit Applications



Proposed Regulations-General 



Public Notices-Cleanup Remedies



Public Notices-Remedial Actions


red bar graphic PENNSYLVANIA


Dept. of Envtl. Protection


Proposed SIP Revision-Pittsburgh Ozone Nonattainment



Final General NPDES Permit-CAFO Operations



Final Regulations-Air



NPDES Permit Applications


red bar graphic SOUTH CAROLINA


Dept. of Health and Envtl. Control


Permit Application Notices


red bar graphic  TENNESSEE


Dept. of Environment and Conservation


Proposed Regulations-Water Quality


red bar graphic  TEXAS


Natural Resource Conservation Commission


Final Regulations-Air Quality/Houston/Galveston Area



Permit Hearings



Draft Report to Legislature-Grandfathered Air Sources



Public Hearings Proposed Rules



Sunset Advisory Commission


red bar graphic  UTAH


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Permit Applications


red bar graphic VERMONT


Dept. of Envtl. Conservation


Permit Applications


red bar graphic VIRGINIA


Dept. of Envtl. Quality


Advisory Committee Meeting-Hazardous Waste Regulations



Proposed Regulations-Solid Waste Management



Proposed Regulations-Air Quality



Proposed Regulations-Water Quality



Public Meeting Notices


red bar graphic  WASHINGTON


Dept. of Ecology


Adopted Regulations



Proposed Regulations


red bar graphic WEST VIRGINIA


Dept. of Envtl. Protection


Public Notice Bulletin (Permit Applications, Proposed Regulations)


red bar graphic WISCONSIN


Dept. of Natural Resources


Proposed Fox River Settlement



  • With Fort James Corp. (now Georgia-Pacific Corp.) for approximately $55 worth of restoration, land purchase, and recreation projects in the Green Bay area PCB discharges into the Fox River. Comments due Feb. 21, 2001. See http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/news/on/index.htm

Public Hearing and Meeting Schedule


Copyright© 2001, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. 

INTERNATIONAL
large red bar graphic

red bar graphic GENERAL



  • A two-week conference in Bonn discussing the UN Convention to Combat
    Desertification (UNCCD) resulted in a statement of commitments to address and prevent  desertification, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. See http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2000/20001228.envdev558.doc.html

  • A new environmental sustainability index, endorsed by the World Economic Forum's
    Global Leaders of Tomorrow, lists Norway, Finland, Canada, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Denmark, the United States and the Netherlands as the best performers; 
    Madagascar, Bangladesh, Uganda, Nigeria, Iran, Vietnam, Malawi, Senegal, Singapore and Algeria as the worst.


red bar graphic CLIMATE CHANGE




  • 2000 saw a record number of natural disasters last year, according to the reinsurance company Munich Re. Global warming, the company said, could make the situation worse. "Global warming has to be slowed down," said Gerhard Berz, head of the company's geo-science research staff, said. "Otherwise the risk situation for insurers in many of the world's regions will intensify." 



  • 68 insurance companies, most of them based in Europe, signed a statement supporting "substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions" and pledging to promote standards within the industry to promote reductions. 



  • The world's temperature during 2000 year was the fifth-highest since global records started 140 years ago, and the warming trend may be responsible for worse storms, droughts and other undesirable weather patterns, the World Meteorological Organization reported. 


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red bar graphic EUROPE



  • Sweden assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union for a six-month period with a call to extend the reach of the precautionary principle to the chemical industry and the use of genetically modified organisms. Prime Minister Goran Persson told the Swedish Parliament that "(t)he rapidly growing chemicals market must be spotlighted. Sweden will strive to achieve agreement on a new chemicals strategy, in which the precautionary principle will be an important starting point." The U.S. takes an opposing view.

  • A judge in Spain dismissed all existing criminal charges pertaining to the 1998 release of toxic materials from a mine located near Seville. Environmental groups were outraged, and farmers whose crops were affected by the spill plan to appeal. Civil cases may be brought by the regional government in Andalusia.

  • The European Commission's Baia Marie Task Force issued its final report. See http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/enlarg/home.htm

  • The European Commission asked the European Court of Justice to fine the U.K. and Germany for violations of Court of Justice orders involving EU environmental directives. 

  • The European Commission, in its "Second Annual Survey on the Implementation and Enforcement of Community Environmental Law," concluded that "(i)t is apparent from the assessment of the results of the fifth environmental action program that, despite some positive results, in general the quality of the environment is not improving despite 30 years of environmental legislation," since "the implementation of environmental legislation is often wanting." See http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/secretariat-general/sgb/infringements/report99-en.htm

  • Russia's Parliament tentatively agreed to pass proposed legislation that would authorize the storage and reprocessing of foreign-generated spent nuclear fuel. Existing legislation authorizes import from former components of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies, with the return of reprocessed fuel. Russia may, if the legislation passes, enter into import arrangements with a number of countries, including China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Germany. 

red bar graphic SOUTH AMERICA



  • Chile and several environmental groups voiced objections to the scheduled mid-January crossing of a ship carrying spent French-processed nuclear fuel through Chilean waters off Cape Horn. The vessel, which left France in mid-December, is due to arrive in Japan in February.

red bar graphic ASIA



  • Thailand is being urged to ratify the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. To date, 174 nations, including the other nine members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have ratified the convention. See http://www.bangkokpost.com/010101/010101_News10.html

  • U.S. President Clinton decided to not seek additional sanctions against Japan for their recent whaling hunts. In a submission to the U.S. Congress, Clinton said that while he is "deeply concerned by Japan's unilateral actions," and has "directed the departments of State, Commerce, Interior and Treasury, as well as the Office of the United States Trade Representative, to keep this matter under active review, " sanctions would not be appropriate. Environmental groups expressed disappointment.

  • Over 3% of whale meat offered for sale in Japan, according to testing done by the Institute of Cetacean Research, is from species that may not be hunted, including humpback whales.

  • Greenpeace announced that it had discovered high levels of heavy metals in the Dongjiang (East) River, which supplies most of Hong Kong's drinking water. The Chinese government contested the group's findings; Hong Kong pays China over U.S. $250 million a year for access to the water supply.

  • Malaysia agreed to ratify the Basel Convention.

  • A ban on the marketing of leaded gasoline went into effect in the Philippines.