West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection 2016 Rules Update

In an unusual turn of events, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (“WVDEP”) rules package for the 2016 legislative session did not gain legislative approval during the 2016 regular session.  Instead, the rules were added to the Governor’s call for the special session held earlier this month. During the special session, the issue that… Read More »

EPA Approves West Virginia’s Revised Selenium Water Quality Criteria

Over ten years after the first coal NPDES permit in West Virginia included a selenium condition, over ten years after the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) first proposed to revise its recommended aquatic life criteria for selenium, after years of litigation challenging permits for including – or not including – selenium effluent limitations, and… Read More »

EPA Finalizes its Zero Discharge Rule for Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater

EPA has finalized its proposed “zero discharge” rule for the oil and gas industry, with a Federal Register Notice published on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 [81 Fed. Reg. 41845].  The rule aims to protect rivers and drinking water supplies from direct discharges by municipal sewage plants of wastewater resulting from unconventional oil and gas (UOG)… Read More »

TSCA Reform Bill Signed Into Law

On June 22, 2016 President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, more commonly known as the “Toxic Substances Control Act  Reform” bill. The bill strengthens what environmental commentators considered to be one of the weakest environmental protection laws on the books. The bill revamps the Toxic Substances… Read More »

U.S. Supreme Court Speaks to Clean Water Act and Agency Implementation

On May 31, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals issued the opinion in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc, et al. (No. 15-290). This is a unanimous opinion which is noteworthy since the Court is thought to be of an evenly split philosophy of conservatives and liberals and therefore incapable… Read More »

Concentrated Solar Plants – A Ray of Light for Renewable Power?

Proponents of the development of renewable energy sources have struggled to address the challenge of many renewable energy sources. How do you make electricity when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine?   Many have hoped that innovations in batteries or other large scale power storage systems could provide the answer and… Read More »

Technical Guide for Addressing Petroleum Vapor Intrusion at Leaking Underground Storage Tank Sites

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has issued their long awaited guidance for petroleum vapor intrusion related to leaking underground storage tank (“UST”) sites. Authorized regulatory decision-makers (i.e., state agencies, tribal governments, etc. with authority to regulate leaking UST (LUST) sites) retain the discretion to oversee/accept protocols for addressing petroleum vapor intrusion (“PVI”) into… Read More »

OSHA’s Silica Exposure Rule Set to Impact Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

On March 25, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released new standards for workplace exposure to silica dust, providing the first revisions to these standards since 1971. This final rule addresses workplace exposure to respirable crystalline silica (“silica”) which is a mineral that is commonly found in everyday materials such as roads, buildings,… Read More »

Supreme Court Denies Ohio Appeal of PM2.5 Attainment Redesignation Vacatur

In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) determined that the Cincinnati-Hamilton metropolitan area in Ohio had attained national air quality standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM2.5), in part based on regional cap-and trade programs. EPA redesignated the area to “attainment” status. The Sierra Club appealed the redesignation because Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, the three States… Read More »