William Baker Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2022 Illinoisans have good reason to be concerned about where their water comes from, as a report published by Chicago Tribune recently revealed that Illinois has more lead pipe infrastructure than any other state. The six-year study determined that eight of out ten …
Daniel Bourgault Journal of Regulatory Compliance Applicant Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, JD 2022 On February 11, 2021, a host of environmental groups filed a Petition for Review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging a final action of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) in regard to the review …
In 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act to control lead and copper in drinking water, referred to as the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). The Rule was created to protect public health by minimizing lead and copper levels in drinking water, primarily by reducing water corrosivity through corrosion control treatment. While implementation of the LCR has resulted in major improvements in public health, there is still much that needs to be done as research continues to show cities today see higher than normal levels of lead in their drinking water.
In the last days of the Trump administration, the Trump Department of Labor (“DOL”) finalized a rule that made it more difficult for socially conscious investments to be included in retirement plans. The Trump-era rule discouraged employer 401(k) and other retirement plans from offering funds from managers that consider Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) factors over investment returns or risk in their due diligence. Despite this, ESG funds continue to gain in popularity, and the new Biden administration has stated that it will not enforce the Trump-era rule as it considers reversing it.
William Baker Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2022 The oil and gas industry recently announced plans to end gas flaring by 2030. Flaring involves the controlled release of excess gas from natural gas wells. While this practice is commonplace in the oil and gas industry, it nevertheless harms the environment …
On January 14, 2021, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued a Guidance Memorandum (hereinafter “Memo”) addressing the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Foundation, 140 S. Ct. 1462 (2020) regarding the regulation of water pollution under the Clean Water Act (CWA or “the Act”). The Memo outlined how the Court’s recent ruling in the County of Maui applies to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit program created under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act (hereinafter “Section 402”). The intent of the EPA in publishing the Memo is to help clarify the effect of the Court’s ruling in County of Maui for owners and operators of facilities subject to the regulation of the CWA, the primary regulatory framework for governing water pollution in the United States. The ruling in County of Maui expands the types of discharge that are subject to the CWA’s regulatory permit program and illuminates the steps required of facility owners and operators to comply with that framework.
Climate change directly and indirectly impacts a range of human rights including the basic rights to life, food, water and housing. Along with all developed countries, the United States has an affirmative obligation to take measures to prevent and address climate change impacts thereby not only mitigating its dire effects, but ensuring that all displaced persons have, at a minimum, their basic needs met. These displaced persons are more often than not those who have contributed the least to climate change and are now disproportionately suffering from its harm.
Across the United States, metropolitan areas are experiencing a net loss of about 36 million trees every year. That amounts to about 175,000 acres of lost tree cover. Meanwhile, Chicago loses more than 10,000 trees every year due to, in part, inefficient tree trimming and management. Fewer trees means less shade and worse air quality. In response, several Chicago City Council Aldermen are proposing the Urban Forestry Advisory Board (“UFAB”) in order to assess current policies and propose innovative ways to protect Chicago’s tree population.
On October 13, 2020 Earthjustice filed a petition for review with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups and scientists asserting that a Final Rule promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) failed to adequately regulate certain carcinogenic emissions as required by the Clean Air Act. The Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing (“MON”) rule, effective as of August 12, 2020, regulates toxic emission of about 200 chemical plants which release dangerous carcinogens including ethylene oxide which have been shown to be contributing to cancer hotspots around the country. However, the petitioners contend that the final MON rule fails to properly regulate unacceptable levels of risk posed by ethylene oxide and the other carcinogens released by MON facilities.
The use of fracking has made the United States the global leader in natural gas and crude oil production. However, the practice is not without controversy. Activist groups have called for a ban against fracking as scientists have warned of potential health and environmental impacts, while energy lobbyists have fought bitterly against any restrictions or regulations. As it stands, U.S. regulating of fracking has been mostly left ineffectively to the states, with exemptions to federal regulations on the books. As the societal costs of fracking become better understood, regulators and policy makers must make difficult decisions regarding the practice.