Archives: Environmental

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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

Now We Know What is Killing the Birds

Stuart Kaplow
A cause is now known for bird deaths that eluded scientists for more than 25 years. It is beyond dispute that there are human activities that have a known negative impact on the natural environment, but sometimes events come together, only in part arising from human activities, to create unknown environmental consequences. During the winter … Continue Reading

Covid Pandemic Exposes More Children to Toxic Lead

Covid-19 school closures and lockdowns resulted in thousands of children having increased blood lead levels. In a study of this consequence of Covid-19, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to describe blood lead level testing among young children during the Covid-19 pandemic, the CDC analyzed data reported from 34 state and local … Continue Reading

Rare Earth Metal Theft by Catalytic Converter

The theft of catalytic converters to sell for the value of the rare earth metal components is a thing once again. A catalytic converter is a component part of the exhaust system of a fossil fuel motor vehicle that catalyzes, or accelerates the break down of vehicle emissions making them less harmful. The catalyst of … Continue Reading

EPA 2020 Enforcement Offers Insight

The Environmental Protection Agency’s has released the results of its 2020 enforcement and compliance efforts and those results offer significant insight that business can benefit from. In the first 5 months of fiscal year 2020, EPA was on track to significantly exceed traditional numeric metrics in many categories with more compliance monitoring activities in the … Continue Reading

PFAS in a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

The question de riguer in commercial real estate transactions is if PFAS is included in a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment? As made clear by the January 14, 2021 EPA action, the response is “no” that the standard practice for environmental site assessments in the vast majority of places does not consider PFAS, however, .. … Continue Reading

Former Public Officials Indicted on Criminal Charges in Flint Water Crisis

Michigan prosecutors last Thursday announced that 9 individuals have been indicted on a total of 42 counts related to a series of alleged actions and inactions that created the Flint water crisis. Interestingly, the Chief Judge of the Seventh Circuit in Genesee County appointed Judge David Newblatt to act as a one-man grand jury to … Continue Reading

HREC in a Phase l is Not a Recognized Environmental Condition

Among the most misunderstood term in a Phase I environmental site assessment is the Historical Recognized Environmental Condition. The environmental professionals who perform these assessments by and large do not take heed of Eduardo Galeano’s quote, “History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘see you later.’” By way of background, a Phase I environmental site … Continue Reading

Maryland becomes First State to Ban Polystyrene this Thursday

During the 2019 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly enacted what will be the first statewide ban of expanded polystyrene foam. In the Spring of 2019 law makers did not foresee a pandemic that would shift restaurant dining (not to mention school meals and much more) to carry out in transportable food containers, but today … Continue Reading

Court Adopts New Evidentiary Standard for Science

In 2020 when science and politics appear to have collided in a car wreck, confidence of the public in scientists is at an all time low. That observed, the public does not often think about the role courts have in accepting scientific theories. Last week Maryland’s highest court drew attention to this vital unsettled matter … Continue Reading

I Just Read my 1000th Phase I Environmental Site Assessment this Year

For those concerned about the state of the environmental industrial complex during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, I can report that last Friday I reviewed my 1,000th Phase I Environmental Site Assessment this year. In context, last year I did not hit that 1,000 mark until late September, and while it is an unscientific indicator, … Continue Reading

EPA Proposes First Greenhouse Gas Emissions Limits for Aircraft

Last Wednesday the Environmental Protection Agency proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for airplanes used in commercial aviation and large business jets. “This standard is the first time the U.S. has ever proposed regulating greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft,” according to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. And as much as I have railed against more and regressive environmental … Continue Reading

A Force Majeure Decision during the COVID-19 Pandemic

There has been much speculation and supposition about the interplay of force majeure provisions in leases and other contracts in response to government orders closing businesses during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but now there is an authoritative court decision that may provide persuasive authority. In a motion in a Bankruptcy case the landlord … Continue Reading
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