Toxic Substances

The Unreasonable Risk of TSCA Reform

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is no doubt generating significant conflict, including claims of undue industry influence, competing bills from prominent members of the same party, consternation among states, and divisions among health and environmental groups.  And it may also be the closest we have gotten to TSCA reform—ever.  […]

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TSCA Reform: That’s A Good Thing, Right?

Reform of the federal chemicals statute, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is in the news again.  It got me wondering, are we are better off with the devil we know? In a legislative era characterized by harsh partisanship and excruciating deadlocks, there are signs that TSCA reform could be a rare example of cooperation […]

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EPA Waters Down Final Rule for Coal Ash

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EPA will improve new disposal sites for coal ash, but will have limited effect on old ones.

Exactly six years ago today, a dike ruptured near Kingston, Tennessee, dumping into the Clinch River some 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry — or to use the more technical term, coal combustion residue. Last Friday, EPA issued a new regulation to deal with the issue.  The rule is intended to protect groundwater from leaching from the ponds, […]

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The Death of Deference?

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted cert. in several cases to hear the following question: “Whether the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably refused to consider costs in determining whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities.” The fundamental issue is whether it was unreasonable for EPA to interpret section 112 to preclude consideration […]

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Mick Jagger on Chemical Reform

Vermont's new chemical program looks to be a mixed bag

Vermont just joined the posse of states taking chemical regulation reform into their own hands in the face of inaction in Congress.  Last week the Green Mountain State enacted a new law covering chemicals in children’s products.  (A children’s product is defined as “any consumer product, marketed for use by, marketed to, sold, offered for […]

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Supreme Court: North Carolina Tort Plaintiffs Can’t Sue for Latent Injuries from Contaminated Sites

Court holds that federal law doesn't preempt state statutes of repose

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.   In this case, which my colleague Jesse Lueders described and analyzed in detail here and here, the Court had to decide whether state statutes of repose can bar tort lawsuits by people harmed by latent injuries from toxic contamination, by imposing […]

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What’s in a Name?

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Supreme Court arguments surround the policies and effects of limitations periods

A few weeks back, I posted about CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, a case then awaiting oral argument in the Supreme Court.  As you may recall (or as you can read here, with links to relevant documents), Waldburger involves hazardous waste contamination, and a provision of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) that […]

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Statutes of Limitations, Statutes of Repose, and Latent Harms

A warning sign posted outside the CTS property.  Credit: Jeremy P. Jacobs.

Can plaintiffs harmed years after exposure to toxic substances seek relief?

You may not have heard of CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.  At a glance, it is relatively unremarkable, a private nuisance suit between landowners and a retired manufacturing facility.  Much of the work on the plaintiffs’ side has been handled by students.  In a sense, the case hasn’t even begun yet—a judge found that the plaintiffs waited […]

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An Ounce of Prevention

BenFranklinDuplessis

Can inherently safer technology save us from chemical accidents and terrorists?

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Franklin’s comment, originally made in reference to home fire safety, is characteristically timeless.  Today, many are looking to the principle of prevention as a way to reduce the incidence and severity of chemical plant disasters. The threat of chemical disaster […]

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