Articles

August 13, 2019

Toxic groundwater lies beneath Phoenix, and a cleanup has been delayed for years

Source: https://www.azcentral.com, August 13, 2019
By: Ian James & Andrew Nicla

The water beneath a large swath of Phoenix isn’t fit to drink.

A plume of toxic chemicals has tainted the groundwater for decades, and it’s now at the center of a bitter fight over how the aquifer should be cleaned up and what should happen to the water in the future. Read more.

August 13, 2019

Newark handing out bottled water as filters appear to fail to protect residents from lead

Source: https://abcnews.go.com, August 12, 2019
By: Elizabeth Thomas

More than eight months after officials in Newark, New Jersey, began handing out nearly 40,000 filters to help protect residents from elevated levels of lead, tests of three homes containing filters earlier this month showed that elevated lead levels in the water remained.

In a letter to Newark officials issued Friday, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) said bottled water should be provided to residents “as soon as possible.” Read more.

August 13, 2019

Idaho Tribe Sues Mining Company Over Pollution

Source: https://www.insurancejournal.com, August 12, 2019

The Nez Perce Tribe has filed a lawsuit to force a Canadian company to clean up an idle central Idaho mining area – which the company says it plans to do if it gets approval from U.S. officials to restart mining at the site.

The tribe contends in the federal lawsuit filed last week that British Columbia-based Midas Gold is illegally allowing arsenic, cyanide and mercury to remain in the area where the tribe has had hunting and fishing rights since an 1855 treaty with the U.S. Read more.

August 12, 2019

Copper Lounge collapse lawsuits, bankruptcy case end in multi-million dollar settlement

Source: https://www.argusleader.com, August 8, 2019
By: Jonaythan Ellis and Joe Sneve

The developer and construction company behind the collapse of the former Copper Lounge building in downtown Sioux Falls in 2016 have agreed to a settlement worth more than $4 million.

The agreement, reached in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Dakota and approved by a judge this week, would end most of the litigation resulting from the Dec. 2, 2016 tragedy. That incident killed Ethan McMahon, an employee of Hultgren Construction, and entrapped an upstairs resident, Emily Fodness, in rubble for hours.

Under the terms of the settlement, Hultgren Construction’s insurance company will pay $2 million. Another $1,150,000 will come from property insurance and another $1 million will come from the insurance company of Legacy Developments & Consulting Co.…

August 12, 2019

BAYER SAID TO OFFER $8 BILLION TO SETTLE GLYPHOSATE LAWSUITS

Source: https://www.wcbi.com, August 9, 2019

Glyphosate faces a test inside America’s homes

  • Bayer, which bought Roundup maker Monsanto last year, has reportedly offered $8 billion to settle thousands cancer claims.
  • Lawyers for the consumers who claim glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, caused their cancer, want $10 billion, according to Bloomberg.
  • Bayer’s stock price has fallen by half since its June 6, 2018, purchase of Monsanto.

Monsanto parent company Bayer is said to be offering an $8 billion deal to settle about 18,000 claims that its weedkiller Roundup causes cancer. Shares of Bayer jumped ahead of the start of trade Friday on optimism that a settlement would end uncertainty about the chemical giant’s liabilities.

August 12, 2019

PFAS contamination is likely at Pittsburgh airport. Airports may face legal challenges by doing nothing.

Source: https://www.publicsource.org, August 12, 2019
By: Oliver Morrison

Airport officials say they’re doing everything the law requires regarding PFAS. Experts say the law doesn’t go far enough.

Reports from former firefighters, airport records, expert scientists and a military study indicate that the Pittsburgh International Airport is likely the source of a PFAS chemical plume. Airport officials say they are doing everything the law requires but declined to say if they are taking additional steps experts say are needed to protect the health of nearby residents.

If the Allegheny County Airport Authority doesn’t investigate the possibility of PFAS contamination released through firefighting foam, some lawyers say it could find itself in legal jeopardy. Airports are not required by law to investigate PFAS contamination. Still, there are more than 75 lawsuits across the country against entities that have discharged the foam containing PFAS, and the number is growing.

Some airport industry officials hope that, because the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] requires airports to use firefighting foam that contains PFAS, the airports won’t be held liable for letting it contaminate their properties. Not every lawyer thinks this argument will hold up, and a lobbying group for the airport industry is pushing Congress to pass a law that will limit their financial exposure. As the legal questions get sorted out, airports across the country are deciding whether and how to respond to the potential health consequences for residents who live nearby.…

August 12, 2019

Lead crisis in Newark leads to distribution of bottled water, after filters fail to safeguard homes with old pipes

Source: https://www.nj.com, August 11, 2019
By: KarenYi

Responding to reports that filters are not protecting residents from elevated lead levels in their drinking water, Newark officials on Sunday said they will distribute bottled water to households with old lead pipes after federal officials urged the city to take action “as soon as possible.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its recommendation to Newark in a letter Friday, in the wake of recent surveys that showed the water in two of three tested homes still contained high lead levels despite the use of filters. The letter told the state’s largest city that it was “essential” to warn residents not to rely on filters.

In a joint statement issued Sunday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka said safe drinking water was critically important and called on the federal government to help.

“As we carefully evaluate our options and the data available to us, it is important to understand that the city and state will need support and assistance from the federal government if bottled water is to be provided and distributed to impacted residents,” the statement said.

The bottled water will be distributed at four locations beginning at 3 p.m. on Monday.…

August 9, 2019

EPA collects $1.75M from Bridgeport building owner for environmental cleanup

Source: https://westfaironline.com, August 9, 2019
By: Phil Hall

The owner of a derelict Bridgeport building has paid the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $1.75 million in cleanup costs to settle a lawsuit over environmental hazards on the property.

The 6-acre property at 25 Grant St. was the site of a fire in September 2014. After the fire, the EPA discovered leaking and damaged drums containing hazardous substances on the site and conducted environmental cleanups in 2015 and 2016. However, the EPA charged the building’s owner, 25 Grant Street LLC, with making numerous cash distributions of insurance proceeds received for losses from the fire, which resulted in an artificially induced insolvency designed to prevent the company from compensating the federal government for the cleanup.

The EPA notified the company that such transfers of funds ran afoul of the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act, and the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against 25 Grant Street LLC and its four controlling individual members in February 2018.

“The money recovered in this case will be returned to the United States government for the benefit of the people we serve,” said Deb Szaro, acting regional administrator for EPA New England. “This case shows that the EPA is committed to holding accountable those who attempt to circumvent their cleanup responsibilities and the laws that protect the financial interest of the government and the American taxpayers.”…

August 9, 2019

Delaware delegation demands answers on PFAS contamination at Dover air base from Pentagon

Source: https://whyy.org, August 7, 2019
By: Mark Eichmann

Five water wells near Dover Air Force Base in Delaware are known to be contaminated with a class of toxic chemicals known as PFAS, including four whose existence was revealed last month.

Now Delaware’s congressional delegation is demanding answers and an action plan from U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The wells are polluted with a class of chemicals contained in firefighting foam used at the base. They provide water to a shopping center, two homes and an office building.

The levels of PFAS there exceed federal drinking-water standards of 70 parts per trillion. PFAS are classified as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment and can accumulate over time.

PFAS contamination also has been found on or near military bases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and at hundreds of installations across the country where the firefighting foam was used.

The Dover base is providing affected workers and residents with bottled water while conducting further tests and analyzing data. But the letter to Esper from U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester said they have “deep concern’’ about the contaminated wells.…

August 9, 2019

PFAS in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry

Source: https://www.lexology.com, August 2, 2019
By: Thomas S. Lee, Ivan London and John Kindschuh, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (“PFAS”) make up a family of chemicals that are the subject of increasing regulatory attention across a wide range of industries. After providing a brief background, this Client Alert focuses on their roles in the Upstream Oil & Gas industry.

PFAS have been reported in a variety of consumer products and industrial applications including: textile and apparel items, carpet cleaners, ski wax, non-stick products (e.g., Teflon), stain resistant coatings, polishes, paints, cleaning products, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, take-out containers, and cosmetics. The chemicals form very stable compounds, and it is now thought that these materials persist in the environment for a long time. They also tend to stay in the water column and travel well through surface and groundwater. Some studies have shown that PFAS accumulate in humans and animals, including fish. The EPA and several States are in the process of regulating (or, at least, thinking about regulating) PFAS levels in drinking water, groundwater, surface water, and consumer products. Given the widespread detection of PFAS throughout different industries, proactive compliance efforts appear to be the best way to mitigate future risk.

Although the Upstream Oil & Gas industry is not commonly identified as a user of PFAS, there are reports indicating the use of PFAS in certain processes. The following are some high-level examples of the uses of PFAS in the Upstream Oil & Gas industry, and ways in which members of the industry can limit their risks.…