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Cannabis Manufacturer Charged with RCRA but No CDS Violations

In a criminal case that says significantly more about the prosecution than the indictment on its face, the Federal government is prosecuting a leading cannabis industry manufacturer and distributor for criminal transportation of hazardous waste. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) was enacted in 1976 to ensure that all hazardous waste generated in the … Continue Reading

Brownfield Laws can Save Green Building and the Planet

It is widely accepted that the greenest building is one already built. So, why then on the 20th anniversary of many state brownfield programs, is there so little correlation between green buildings and brownfields? Green building ratings systems, standards and codes expend a great deal of verbiage on aims reducing embodied carbon, including the currently … Continue Reading

EPA Cancels Pesticide Registrations to Save the Bees

In a rare move, the EPA issued product cancellation orders for certain pesticides effective May 20, 2019. The pesticides contain neonicotinoids that, despite their widespread use have become controversial when laboratory studies reported a link between neonicotinoids and declining bee populations, although a link has not been replicated in field studies. Neonicotinoids are compounds in … Continue Reading

GSA Reviews more than 100 Green Building Systems and Selects 5

Section 436(h) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires the General Services Administration’s Office of Federal High-Performance Buildings to complete a review of high performance building certification systems every 5 years. After the review, GSA recommends to the Secretary of Energy the building certification systems most likely to encourage a comprehensive approach … 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

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

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

Solar Powered Advertisement is Deceptive

Billboard in Italian Train Station
A business installs photo voltaic panels on its roof to generate power, and advertises that it is “solar powered.”  The business, however, sells the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that are generated by the solar power. Even if the business is near net zero for electricity generated by the solar panels, according to guidance from the … Continue Reading

Prospering thru Green Building in a Changing Environment

I spoke to a gathering of construction industry attorneys the other day about changing environment of Federal government regulation portending huge business opportunities for green building. These were my prepared remarks for that talk. While much of the mass media hyperbole is focused on the new Administration’s 2018 “skinny” budget request of $5.7 Billion for … Continue Reading

The Opportunity for ENERGY STAR

While much of the media hyperbole has focused on the Trump Administration’s 2018 Budget request of $5.7 Billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, a reduction of $2.6 billion, or 31%, from the 2017 level of funding, little attention has been paid to specific priorities including the resultant opportunities for green building. One of the key … Continue Reading

Is there Lead in the Water of your Green Building?

The subject of lead leaching from pipes and faucets into drinking water within buildings is not new. But the broad growth of green buildings, including green schools, that include water conservation strategies has the potential to negatively impact the quality of drinking water in those green building plumbing systems. To reduce indoor water consumption, LEED … Continue Reading

FTC Order Restricts use of “All Natural”

The Federal Trade Commission issued a summary decision against California Naturel, Inc., for falsely advertising its sunscreen product as “all natural” in violation of Sections 5 and 12 of the FTC Act. In a December 12, 2016 opinion, written by Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, the FTC describes how the company promotes its “all natural” sunscreen on … Continue Reading

Less Climate Change Disclosure by Public Companies

Publicly traded companies are required to disclose material business risks to investors through regular filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Since February 8, 2010, the SEC has expressly required disclosure related to climate change. While it has been controversial, the SEC’s 2010 interpretive guidance, the Commission Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change, which … Continue Reading
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