Archives: Codes and Regulations

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Green Building Codes Not Eligible for Copyright Protection

A decision earlier this month by the Eleventh Circuit United States Courts Of Appeals goes further than other modern courts in describing that building codes when adopted by local government cannot be copyrighted. Ruling that “the law,” whether by statute, ordinance, regulations, or code, and even when its source is a judicial opinion, is not … Continue Reading

Mission Critical at the Department of Defense now includes Climate

On August 13 the President signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. The $716 billion H.R. 5515, authorizes appropriations for the Department of Defense for procurement of everything from aircraft, missiles, ammunition, shipbuilding and space defense to military installation construction; and is arguably the most significant environmental legislation enacted … Continue Reading

Back to the Future with “Navigable Waters of the United States”

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of the Army finalized a rule adding an applicability date to the 2015 Rule (that never went into effect) defining “waters of the United States.” But, the 2015 Rule will now not be applicable until two years following publication of the applicability date rule in the Federal Register … Continue Reading

Saint Paul Green With Envy

When the Saint Paul City Council votes this Wednesday on Ordinance 17-60 it should amend the legislation to not delete, from the existing law, Green Globes as one of the approved green building standards. The work product of an advisory committee of experts, Ord 17-60 Sustainable Building Regulation Ordinance, alters and amends the 2009 Resolution … Continue Reading

Fireworks Cause Air Pollution But

In a very good example of striking the right balance between environmental protection and celebratory festivities, despite that fireworks degrade air quality with particulate matter, in the United States we have decided that the pyrotechnic show must go on. Fireworks have a storied history in the United States best articulated in a July 3, 1776 … Continue Reading

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Reform is for the Birds

A week after this blog post, the Office of the Solicitor issued a memorandum the subject line of which was, “The Migratory Bird Treaty Act Does Not Prohibit Incidental Take.” The very first page of the Memorandum ends with the sentence, “Interpreting the MBTA to apply to incidental or accidental actions hangs the sword of … Continue Reading

EPA Ends Perverse Practice of “Sue and Settle”

“The days of regulation through litigation are over,” according to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. In fulfilling his promise to end the practice of regulation through litigation that has harmed the American public, the EPA Administrator issued an agency wide directive on October 16, 2017  designed to end “sue and settle” practices within the Agency, restoring … Continue Reading

Rhode Island goes for LEED for Neighborhood Development and SITES

The State of Rhode Island is expanding its longstanding Green Buildings Act adding built landscapes to the list of public projects that must be built to recognized green building standards. Rhode Island has since 2008 mandated the public construction projects larger than 5,000 gross square feet “shall be designed and constructed to at least the … Continue Reading

50 Shades of Green in Montgomery County

Green building will remain mandatory for new construction in Montgomery County, Maryland and effective December 1, 2017, the International Green Construction Code 2012 will be a permitted alternative. Montgomery County was among the first local jurisdictions in the country, in 2008, to adopt a mandatory green building law for private building, requiring most new construction … Continue Reading

Green Globes to be Approved in Maryland

Last week the Maryland Green Building Council voted unanimously to recommend that Green Globes, at the two Green Globes level, be approved by the Maryland Secretaries of Budget and Management and General Services as a “high performance building” as defined in Maryland law. The vote is being widely heralded as a significant step forward in … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Charges Over Deceptive Zero VOC Claims

Paint Can Label from Exhibit B in FTC Complaint
Four paint companies have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceptively promoted products as containing zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or as emission free, including during and immediately after application. Some promotions also made explicit safety claims. Specifically, the first FTC complaint alleges, In connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, … Continue Reading

Attorney General’s End of Third Party Settlements is Good for the Environment

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on June 5, 2017 to all Department of Justice components and 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices prohibiting them from entering into any agreement in settlement of federal claims or charges that directs or provides for a settlement payment to non-governmental, third parties that were not directly harmed by the … Continue Reading

Retailers Pay Millions for Hazardous Waste Violations

Retailers across the nation are buttressing their trash disposal practices after Dollar General Stores and Big Lots Stores paid Millions of dollars to settle civil suits for environmental violations for the unlawful disposal of hazardous waste, including customer returned merchandise and batteries. Most businesses should have a solid waste management plan to provide staff with … Continue Reading
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