Sheryl Barr

January 21, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court lets Flint, Michigan residents sue over water contamination

Source:, January 21, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday let residents of Flint, Michigan pursue a civil rights lawsuit against the city and government officials that accused them of knowingly allowing the city’s water supply to become contaminated with lead.

The justices turned away two appeals by the city and the state and local officials of a lower court ruling that allowed the lawsuit to move forward. The lower court rejected a demand for immunity by the officials, finding that they violated the residents’ “right to bodily integrity” under the U.S. Constitution by providing the tainted water after switching water sources in a cost-cutting move in 2014. Read more.

January 21, 2020

Leak still not plugged at Mosaic plant after almost 3 months

Source:, January 20, 2020
By: Betsy Calvert

By Monday, no one had publicly shared a plan yet on how to fix a leak of phosphate manufacturing fluids at Mosaic Company’s Bartow plant discovered Oct. 23.

This may impact a decision by state regulators about a discharge permit that Mosaic needs to keep operating its Bartow phosphate plant. A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said last week that the state is evaluating whether the draft permit they issued last spring is adequate to handle the current phosphogypsum stack leak. Read more.

January 17, 2020

Lawsuit against Indiana University for a mold outbreak is granted class action status

Source:, January 15, 2020

A judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit alleging an Indiana university breached its contract by provided substandard living assignments to thousands of students staying in residential halls where mold was found.

Circuit Court Judge Holly Harvey’s Monday ruling comes as Indiana University’s residence centers Foster and McNutt are being renovated, where mold was a problem during the 2018-19 school year. Read more.

January 17, 2020

Pollution exclusion means no coverage for this dry cleaner defendant

Source:, January 16, 2020
By: Greg Meckbach

A British Columbia court ruling in favour of Intact Insurance Company and Economical Mutual Insurance Company is now final.

A Vancouver-based dry cleaners that wanted to make a pollution-related claim with the two insurers, under commercial general liability policies, cannot appeal the coverage dispute to the Supreme Court of Canada, the top court announced Thursday. Read more.

January 17, 2020

EPA: Site of former Olde Towne dry cleaner poses health risks to surrounding area

Source:, January 16, 2020
By: Brody Hilgenkamp

Groundwater vapor contamination related to a former Olde Towne Bellevue dry cleaning business poses immediate health threats to the area and has prompted federal action to clean up the site.

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold two public meetings related to the former Carriage Cleaners site, which sat on the corner of 22nd Avenue and Franklin Street. Read more.

January 17, 2020

State announces lawsuit against 17 companies accused of causing PFAS contamination

Source:, January 14, 2020
By: Rachel McCrary and AnnMarie Kent

The governor and attorney general are demanding that 17 companies responsible for using PFAS pay up.

“The lawsuit is an important part of fighting PFAS contamination,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Nessel claims that these companies including 3M and Dupont not only knew about the problems with PFAS but even hid this information from the public, knowing the ill effects as far a back as the 1980. Read more.
January 17, 2020

Cleanup of contaminated industrial site in Detroit is expected to cost millions

Source:, January 16, 2020

Officials of Michigan’s environmental agency says the cleanup of an industrial site in suburban Detroit from which contaminated water leaked last month will likely cost millions of dollars.

Tracy Kecskenmeti of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy on Wednesday told Michigan lawmakers efforts to contain the leak at the Electro-Plating Services Inc. site in Madison Heights has cost at least $200,000 over 24 days. Read more.

January 17, 2020

Foam with ‘forever chemicals’ found in two Twin Cities streams

Source:, January 14, 2020
By: Kirsti Marohn

State researchers have found foam containing elevated levels of PFAS, sometimes known as “forever chemicals,” in two streams in the east Twin Cities metro area.

Officials from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health said that there’s no immediate health threat to the public. But they are cautioning people to keep away from the foam and take precautions if they — or their pets — come into contact with it. Read more.

January 17, 2020

Michigan Sues 3M, DuPont over ‘Forever’ Chemical Contamination in Water

Source:, January 16, 2020
By: David Eggert

Michigan on Jan. 14 sued 3M, DuPont and other companies for financial damages from contamination caused by potentially harmful “forever” chemicals that are turning up in drinking water across the industrial state.

The lawsuit filed in state court alleges that 17 defendants deliberately concealed the dangers of a class of substances known collectively as PFAS. The filing, announced by state Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Grethen Whitmer, came a year-and-a-half after former Gov. Rick Snyder first stated Michigan’s intent to sue Minnesota-based 3M and other unnamed parties. Read more.

January 17, 2020

Massive oil refinery leaks toxic chemical in the middle of Philadelphia

Source:, January 16, 2020
By: Corbin Hiar and Lisa Riordan Seville

Last May, an air monitor on the border of the East Coast’s largest oil refinery recorded a level of benzene, a cancer-causing gas, more than 21 times the federal limit.

In June, an explosive early morning fire rocked the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, terrifying nearby residents. Weeks after the disaster, as PES filed for bankruptcy and wound down operations, another air monitor in the network that rings the facility quietly registered the same sky-high reading for benzene. Long-term exposure to the sweet-smelling chemical has been linked to leukemia, lymphoma and a host of blood and immune system disorders. Read more.