Category Archives: Environmental Law

We’re Never Going to Meet Our GHG Transportation Goals Unless We Radically Rethink Our Cities

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about vehicle miles traveled, or VMT. Specifically, why is it so hard to get people to think seriously about reducing VMT as a climate mitigation strategy? Building on my earlier ode to electric scooters, this post begins a semi-regular series on different aspects of VMT reduction strategies, beginning with an introduction today to VMT and its relationship to climate change goals. We know that the transportation sector is now the biggest contributor to GHGs across the country, and especially here in California. But conversations on reducing transportation emissions have been dominated in recent decades by electrification and fuel economy. Just last month, Jerry Brown said better battery technology was “the only way” to meet our transportation goals. And sure, when we’re all driving zero-emission vehicles that plug into a zero-carbon grid, our transportation emissions will indeed be extremely low carbon. But here’s….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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MD Appeals Court Finds Implied Preemption Over Siting of Solar Farm

This post was authored by William Wantz, Esq. A commercial solar farm was proposed for 86 acres adjacent to Cearfoss, a designated rural village in Washington County MD. Washington County’s comprehensive plan and special exception requirement protect rural villages from incompatible encroaching development. Perennial Solar obtained an option to lease 86 acres adjacent to Cearfoss, on which they proposed to develop a large solar generating facility, and obtained a special exception from the zoning board, despite demonstrable inconsistency with the comprehensive plan and adverse effect on surrounding residential properties.  Cearfoss residents sought judicial review in the Circuit Court, in which the County became an additional party. On appeal, the Circuit Court dismissed, finding implied preemption of local zoning by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), on the basis of its regulation of large solar generating projects. Implied preemption differs from express….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Blog Post: 4 Tips For Facebook After 'Black People Problem' Memo

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Tenant’s New Defense to Hazardous Substance Liability

Buried in the omnibus spending bill signed earlier this year were amendments to the Superfund law that for the first time make clear that tenants can qualify as bona fide prospective purchasers, protected from cleanup costs from the presence of hazardous substances on a property. The Consolidated Appropriations Act signed on March 23, 2018 included in Division N, the ‘‘Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2018’’ (the BUILD Act). The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund), 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq., provides an important liability protection, including from cleanup costs, for parties who qualify as bona fide prospective purchasers (BFPPs). The potential applicability of the BFPP protection for a tenant who leases contaminated or formerly contaminated real estate and improvements has been the subject of debate for the decades since the….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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SweNanoSafe Reports on ECHA Workshop on REACH Requirements for Nanomaterials

The Swedish National Platform for Nanosafety (SweNanoSafe) has posted a report on the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) November 8-9, 2018, workshop on the upcoming Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) information requirements for nanomaterials.  As reported in our April 26, 2018, blog item, the European Commission (EC) REACH Committee voted on April 26, 2018, to amend several REACH Annexes to clarify the registration requirements for nanomaterials.  The workshop was a preparatory step before the formal start of the update of ECHA’s guidance documents for nanomaterials through the Partner Expert Group (PEG).  The formal start date depends on the publication of the revised REACH Annexes for nanomaterials in the Official Journal of the European Union, which is expected before the end of 2018.  According to the report, around 55 delegates representing different stakeholders such as industry, European Union….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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