ELI In the News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a carbon-monoxide leak at Kansas City school Wednesday, the KSHB 41 I-Team dug into the laws surrounding carbon monoxide detectors in schools. Seven students and two employees at Longfellow Elementary School — which is part of Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools — were taken to the hospital after showing symptoms of CO poisoning around 9:30 a.m. . . .
Jeffrey Richardson is no stranger to the tribulations of dealing with state agencies and departments. But the state of Delaware and its Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) present one of the toughest challenges he has faced: repeated restrictions on, and dismissals of, public participation. So when a July 26 hearing with DNREC’s Environmental Appeals Board concerning a proposed expansion port north of Wilmington fell flat, Richardson felt as if he and his peers were pushed aside unfairly in favor of larger entities. Richardson is the chairman of the Delaware Community Benefits Agreement Coalition (DCBAC), a local community group that serves the interests of local residents. . . .
The Environmental Protection Agency’s launch of a new national environmental justice arm has left industry attorneys waiting to see how far the agency will go—and how fast. The new office is set to influence actions across the agency, including clean air and water permitting, targeted enforcement, and environmental regulations. The extent to which the move, aimed at helping disadvantaged communities, affects core EPA missions will play out over the coming months. . . .
The nation's high court opened its 2022 session on Oct. 3 with oral arguments in Sackett v. EPA, a major wetlands case taking yet another look at what the language of the federal Clean Water Act says about methods and tests used to determine when property owners need a federal permit to build on a site containing federally protected waters.
Although the question presented to the nation’s top court was narrow: whether the U.S. Appeals Court in San Francisco used the correct “test” to determine that portions of an Idaho property owned by Chantell and Michael Sackett constitute federally protected wetlands, the questions asked by justices suggest they may seek to make a broader ruling. . . .
Attorneys general have a significant role to play in holding major polluters accountable for the current “global plastic crisis,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta during an Environmental Law Institute seminar Thursday. . . .
Benjamin F. Wilson, former Chairman of Beveridge & Diamond PC, has been honored with the 2022 Environmental Achievement Award from the Environmental Law Institute. Recognized for his visionary leadership and service to local communities over the span of his entire career, Mr. Wilson has provided representation on a wide range of clients on environmental matters, both at Beveridge & Diamond and in other private practices. He has previously served in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and he established the African American General Counsel and Managing Partner Networks in 2012, as well as founding the Diverse Partners Network in 2008. . . .
Environmental lawyers say the Supreme Court sent a clear message in its landmark ruling in West Virginia v. EPA: If a federal agency wants to craft robust climate regulations, it better not crow about them. If EPA — or any other federal agency, the White House or even advocacy groups — touts a regulation’s climate significance, lawyers said, that rule could fall victim to the so-called major questions doctrine, which the six-justice conservative majority applied last month in West Virginia to strike down the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (Greenwire, June 30). . . .
The Supreme Court’s landmark climate decision is expected to reverberate far beyond the walls of EPA — and possibly all the way up to Capitol Hill. A number of legal observers say the justices’ 6-3 ruling last month in West Virginia v. EPA — which provides a first look at how the court’s new conservative supermajority will handle climate cases — clips agency authority and, perhaps more significantly, constrains how lawmakers can address planet-warming emissions. “The most dangerous aspect of the court’s decision is the court’s seizure of power from Congress, not from the agency,” Georgetown University law professor Lisa Heinzerling said at a recent Georgetown Climate Center event. “Under the opinion, Congress may no longer enlist an agency’s help in addressing major issues — as it has done throughout U.S. history — unless it speaks clearly enough for a hostile Supreme Court to hear it.” . . .
Today, in a ruling on a nonexistent plan with nonexistent harms to the people who brought the suit, the Supreme Court took an opportunity to curb the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate power sector carbon emissions. In a summer of big decisions from the US Supreme Court, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency was one of the stranger cases on the docket. For one thing, it concerned a dispute that didn’t really exist. The complaint was about the Clean Power Plan, a set of rules issued by the EPA in 2015 that would have pushed power plants to substantially cut carbon emissions by 2030. Only the plan never panned out. Fossil fuel executives and Republican officials raised hell about its potential economic effects, went to court, and quickly got the rules suspended. A year later, then-President Barack Obama handed the keys to the EPA to Donald Trump, and the plan was gone for good. . . .
Asthma is a lung disease that makes breathing difficult for over 24 million Americans. While there’s no cure, there are steps you can take to help control it so you can lead a normal, healthy life. This is why the American Lung Association’s Promoting Asthma Friendly Environments through Partnerships and Collaborations Project is seeking to ensure more people live, work and go to school in asthma-friendly environments. . . .