Archives: Environmental

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EPA Proposes Designating PFAS as Hazardous

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to designate two of the most widely used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the “Superfund” law. The proposal applies to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, actually, a group of … Continue Reading

New Maryland Regulation all but Shuts Down Phase ll Environmental Site Assessments

The Maryland Department of the Environment has adopted regulations for the first time requiring the person conducting an environmental assessment, even when they are not the owner of the property (e.g., possibly a prospective contract purchaser of land or a consultant engaged in a lending transaction) to report suspected oil to MDE immediately, but not … Continue Reading

Phase 1 Standard for All Appropriate Inquiries in Limbo

It is hugely significant that the Phase l Environmental Site Assessment standard is in limbo because that assessment is conducted in the vast majority of the 5.6 million commercial real estate transactions each year in the United States (i.e., including for a real estate purchaser to avoid liability under the Superfund law). The U.S. Environmental … Continue Reading

Top 10 ESG Blog Posts of 2021

As we look back in this ‘year in review’ at our most read blog posts in 2021, at a time when most of us have accepted that we will never go back to exactly the way things were, we are no doubt collectively ready for a new year. And we are incredibly excited about the … Continue Reading

Water is the Most Important ESG Factor

I am excited to be presenting a fast paced and fun one hour virtual program, “ESG an Emergent and Fast Growing Area of the Law” for the Maryland State Bar Association, and Not just for lawyers, on December 14, 2021 at noon. Register today for the live virtual program. Potable water use reduction may be … Continue Reading

Updated Phase l Environmental Site Assessment is Published But ..

EPA final action on ASTM International’s E1527-21 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is currently in limbo. On March 14, 2022, after this blog post, EPA took direct final action to amend the Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries to reference ASTM International’s E1527-21. The rule was to have … Continue Reading

A Sea Change in SEC Climate Change Disclosure

I am pleased to be speaking on “Environmental Social Governance (ESG) an Emergent and Fast Growing Area of the Law” at the Maryland State Bar Association 2021 Legal Excellence Week, Corporate Council Institute on November 16, 2021. You can register to attend in person or online. While there is much speculation about what the federal … Continue Reading

Brand Reputation is Number One Reason Businesses Engage in ESG

ESG has become such a large component of my law practice that I am now collaborating with a fabulous group attorneys in ESG Legal Solutions, LLC, a new non-law consulting firm. Nancy Hudes and I are now publishing a new blog at www.ESGLegalSolutions.com (.. yes, this blog will continue). This post originally appeared in that blog. … Continue Reading

Phase l Environmental Site Assessment Standard Being Revised

EPA final action on ASTM International’s E1527-21 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is currently in limbo. On March 14, 2022, after this blog post, EPA took direct final action to amend the Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries to reference ASTM International’s E1527-21. The rule was to have … Continue Reading

DuPont Resolves PFAS Claims with Delaware

The State of Delaware and E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, The Chemours Company, DuPont de Nemours, Inc. and Corteva, Inc. (all “DuPont” related companies), businesses having operated in the State for more than 200 years, announced a sweeping settlement agreement last week. Under the settlement agreement, the DuPont agreed to pay $50 … Continue Reading

Fireworks Cause Air Pollution But

In a literally explosive example of the right balance between environmental protection and people’s desire to celebrate is no environmental regulation, despite that fireworks degrade air quality with particulate matter, in the United States society has decided that the pyrotechnic festivities must go, especially after many were cancelled in the pandemic last year. Fireworks have … Continue Reading

EPA and Army Announce Intent to Revise “Water of the United States” Rule

Last week the Environmental Protect Agency and Department of the Army announced the agencies’ intent to initiate new rulemaking that restores the Obama era waters of the United States rule that was in place pre-2015, and before the current Trump era rule. This proposed rule will impact large swaths of America not only those directing … Continue Reading

Revoking the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Incidental Take Rule, Once Again

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposed rule to restore criminal penalties for accidental killing of migratory birds, revoking the January 7, 2021, final regulation that limited the enforcement of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. “The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a bedrock environmental law that is critical to protecting … Continue Reading

A Call for Comprehensive and Clearer ESG Disclosures

Last Wednesday, with a Dutch court finding Royal Dutch Shell partially responsible for climate change and ordering it to reduce emissions and two environmental activists being voted to Exxon Mobil board at the annual meeting, made clear how dramatically the landscape is shifting for all businesses in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) space, as … Continue Reading

Maryland to Commit to World Economic Forum’s One Trillion Trees Initiative Tree Planting

The Maryland legislature has enacted and the Governor is expected to sign legislation that will take effect on June 1, 2021 establishing aggressive state tree planting goals and a host of other initiatives rooted in trees, all in an effort to respond to climate change. While other significant climate change legislation failed to pass in … Continue Reading

Two Creeks, a Marsh and Two Lakes Sue a Florida Real Estate Developer

Two creeks, a marsh and two lakes are plaintiffs in a first of its kind complaint filed last month against a real estate developer and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Wilde Cypress Branch, Boggy Branch, Crosby Island Marsh, Lake Hart and Lake Mary Jane, tributaries of the Kissimmee River are seeking declaratory and injunctive … Continue Reading

Labor Department Will Not Enforce Anti ESG Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that it will not enforce recently published final rules by the prior Administration on “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments” and “Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights.” This policy statement is in furtherance of the Biden Administration issued Executive Order 13990, entitled “Protecting Public Health and … Continue Reading
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