environmental enforcement

Sessions Out, Whitaker In: What Might the DOJ Shakeup Mean for Environmental Enforcement?

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News broke this afternoon that Trump has forced Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to resign — naming Sessions’ chief of staff, the Marbury v. Madison critic and sports take tweeter Matthew Whitaker acting AG. This move obviously has some pretty horrifying implications for the country at large, but it’s worth thinking about how the …

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The Road to Improved Compliance

Enforcement of environmental laws is spotty. But there are ways to change that.I

As I wrote earlier this week, environmental enforcement is not nearly as effective as it should be.  EPA and others have been working on finding creative ways of obtaining compliance, often with the help of new technology. One aspect of enforcement that has become clear is the need to focus on small, dispersed sources that may …

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Strong Regs, Spotty Enforcement

Environmental enforcement could use a big boost.

The political debate over regulation tends to focus on the regulations themselves. But enforcing the regulations is just as important. Despite what you might think from the howls of business groups and conservative commentators, the enforcement system is not nearly as strong as it should be. Twenty years after passage of the Clean Water Act, roughly …

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Former Massey Energy CEO Sentenced to Prison for Actions Leading to 2010 Coal Mine Disaster

What Broader Environmental and Worker Safety Enforcement Lessons Can Be Learned Here?

A federal district judge on Wednesday sentenced Don Blankenship, the former Chief Executive of Massey Energy, to serve one year in federal prison–the maximum term allowed by law–and to personally pay a criminal penalty of $250,000 for Blankenship’s acts of omission and commission that led to the notorious 2010 coal mining disaster at Massey’s Upper …

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Public Prosecutors Zero In on SoCal Gas, Porter Ranch Disaster

California Attorney General, L.A. District Attorney File New Enforcement Prosecutions

The massive leak from Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon natural gas field in northwestern Los Angeles County was discovered on October 23rd of last year and, more than three months later, shows no sign of abating.  Public prosecutors have pretty clearly lost patience with SoCal gas and its ineffective remediation efforts to date.  This …

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The California Supreme Court’s Unprecedented Focus on Environmental Law

California’s Highest Court Has Far More Environmental Cases Pending Than Ever Before in Its History

The California Supreme Court, perhaps the most influential state supreme court in the nation, has of late become unusually and intensely focused on environmental law.  More than ever before in its history, the California Supreme Court currently has before it a large docket of environmental cases that, individually and collectively, promise to alter the legal …

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The Federal Government Shutdown and Environmental Enforcement

No government employees means less environmental enforcement

There’s lots of news coverage about the federal government shutdown.  Here’s an environmental angle to the impact of the shutdown.  Most of the employees for the various environmental agencies are “non-essential” personnel – including many of the enforcement personnel.  Here’s a local example from the Bay Area.  It seems a bunch of folks are taking …

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Previewing a VERY Big Week for Environmental Law in the Courts

UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that late Sunday, February 26th, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier announced a one-week postponement of the trial in the BP oil spill case that had been scheduled to begin the next day.  The postponement is reportedly due to substantial progress that has been made in marathon settlement talks that …

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U.S. Supreme Court Justices Are on USEPA’s Case

You can’t blame the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of late for feeling it’s under siege. All of the current Republican presidential candidates are regularly excoriating EPA on the campaign trail, and Congress has conducted oversight hearings and threatened all sorts of legislative action designed to clip EPA’s regulatory wings. Now the U.S. Supreme Court appears …

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The Privatization of State Parks & Ocean Management in California–And Why That’s a Good Thing

California boasts the nation’s largest state park system–over 1.5 million acres of natural, historical and cultural resources contained in 278 separate, state-owned parks that attract over 80 million visitors annually.  But California’s extensive system of state-owned parks, beaches and marine reserves is in crisis–a victim of draconian budget cuts, chronic under-staffing and over $1 billion …

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