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Environmental Justice Emerges as EPA and Virginia Priority

Environmental Justice Emerges as EPA and Virginia Priority

Recent guidance issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) evidences EPA’s intention to better incorporate Environmental Justice (“EJ”) considerations into program administration and enforcement.  Specifically, EPA issued two memoranda that signal a revitalized focus on EJ enforcement. On June 21, 2021, EPA issued a memorandum titled Strengthening Environmental Justice Through Criminal Enforcement, which sets out specific steps to advance EJ goals through criminal enforcement, ...
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EPA Proposes Retroactive PFAS Reporting

EPA Proposes Retroactive PFAS Reporting

On June 28, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published a proposed rule that would require a one-time report from companies that manufactured or imported per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in any year since January 1, 2011. The proposed rule would require regulated entities to provide an expansive suite of information, including the specific chemical identity, categories of use, production volume, byproducts, environmental and ...
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Muddy Waters: Virginia’s Proposed Numeric Turbidity Criteria and Potential Compliance Challenges

Muddy Waters: Virginia’s Proposed Numeric Turbidity Criteria and Potential Compliance Challenges

On April 12, 2021, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) to establish first-time numeric turbidity criteria for Commonwealth surface waters in response to a directive by the State Water Control Board.  The establishment and potential enforcement of numeric turbidity criteria would impact a wide range of potential regulated industries, including construction, mining, infrastructure projects, and municipal ...
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Resolved, yet Unclear: Supreme Court Tightens CERCLA Contribution Claim Requirements

Resolved, yet Unclear: Supreme Court Tightens CERCLA Contribution Claim Requirements

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a party’s right to contribution claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) after entering into a settlement arises only when the settlement agreement resolves CERCLA-specific liabilities.  This decision may call into question the effect of existing settlement agreements, the viability of ongoing contribution cases, and may revive the ability of  some parties ...
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New Developments in the Colonial Pipeline Attack Provide Businesses Good News – And Some Important Lessons

New Developments in the Colonial Pipeline Attack Provide Businesses Good News – And Some Important Lessons

It has been barely a month since we reported on the recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline Company, yet news continues to break with additional revelations about the recent attack.  What we have learned during the past several weeks should give businesses encouragement, while reinforcing some important lessons. Shortly after the attack, it was revealed that Colonial Pipeline paid roughly $4.3 million in bitcoin ...
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Recent Attack On World’s Largest Meat Supplier Shows Businesses Are Vulnerable To Ransomware

Recent Attack On World’s Largest Meat Supplier Shows Businesses Are Vulnerable To Ransomware

A few weeks ago, details of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack filled the news cycle, and by now, most people have heard about the latest ransomware attack to hit the news.  Brazil’s JBS S.A., the world’s largest meat processing company, was targeted this week by a ransomware attack that, according to reports, appeared to have originated from a criminal group likely operating in Russia, shutting ...
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Cryptocurrency: Entrepreneurs Leveraging New Technology

Cryptocurrency: Entrepreneurs Leveraging New Technology

Our previous article in this series looked at the legal framework surrounding blockchain technology.  This article will look at practical uses for the technology. Blockchain technology has implications for many business owners, even those not interested in the speculative trading element in cryptocurrency which is akin to trading in the stock market.  In addition to acting as a cash replacement, cryptocurrencies have many other applications, ...
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Cryptocurrency: A Legal Framework for a Fast-Moving Technology

Cryptocurrency: A Legal Framework for a Fast-Moving Technology

Our previous article considered the technology behind cryptocurrency. This article will focus on the legal framework governing the industry.  The cryptocurrency market is subject to a patchwork of inconsistent legislation and regulations that continue to evolve, leading to uncertainty about its future.  While the blockchain industry has grown for years, regulators have not kept pace with this growth, making the desire for regulatory clarification greater ...
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Cryptocurrency: An Evolving Market Still in its Infancy and Where it Stands Today

Cryptocurrency: An Evolving Market Still in its Infancy and Where it Stands Today

Bitcoin was first introduced in a 2009 white paper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.[1]  Since then, cryptocurrencies[2], also known as virtual or digital currencies, have exploded, with thousands of different types in circulation, achieving a $2T market cap in early 2021[3], and with the number of blockchain wallet users rising to more than 70 million as of May 2021.[4] However, the blockchain concept, which ...
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Colonial Pipeline – A Ransomware Attack Hits Close To Home

Colonial Pipeline – A Ransomware Attack Hits Close To Home

If you had never heard of the Colonial Pipeline Company before last week, chances are that you have heard about it now.  Sitting in your car waiting in long lines to fill up at your local gas station hoping they don’t run out is likely not something you have experienced unless you are old enough to remember the gas shortages of the 1970s. Colonial Pipeline ...
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Virginia's New Data Privacy Law

Virginia’s New Data Privacy Law

Click here to watch the video. [Video Transcript] Hello, and welcome to Van Black Law.  Vandeventer Black is a business and litigation law firm providing internationally recognized services across a wide variety of legal sectors.  Thank you for tuning in to Van Black Law’s Technology Roundup where we discuss the latest data and technology issues affecting your business. I’m Jonathan Gallo, and I am part of Vandeventer Black’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Group.   Today we’re going to discuss some of the major provisions of Virginia’s ...
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Spring Cleaning Part 2 – Legal Considerations for Business

Spring Cleaning Part 2 – Legal Considerations for Business

Ah yes, hope is in the air as we turn the corner on winter and approach spring.  This year more than most, hope is riding on a wave of vaccinations that promises to break the grip of uncertainty that COVID has had on our daily lives.  Businesses in particular, many struggling to simply stay alive, are eagerly welcoming a potential wellspring of activity fueled by ...
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East Meets West: Virginia Follows California's Example with Comprehensive Consumer Data Protection Legislation

East Meets West: Virginia Follows California’s Example with Comprehensive Consumer Data Protection Legislation

Article published in Virginia Lawyer | April 2021 | VOL. 69 | The Construction Law and Public Contracts Issue | Page 45 ...
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What’s Old is New Again – DOJ Returns to Pre-Trump Administration Environmental Policies

What’s Old is New Again – DOJ Returns to Pre-Trump Administration Environmental Policies

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (“EO”) 13,990, an expansive directive which resets the Federal Government’s vision for implementing nearly the entire gamut of environmental programs, including the Government’s approach to the incorporation of science in decision-making; public health; air, water, and chemical regulation; enforcement; environmental justice; climate change; and natural resource protection.  Of immediate consequence, section 2 of the EO requires ...
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DEQ Releases Draft Climate Change Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Management Regulations

DEQ Releases Draft Climate Change Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Management Regulations

On January 21, 2021, the State Water Control Board (“Board”) published draft amendments to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations that would require localities to incorporate coastal resilience and climate change adaptation into local land use ordinances.  This draft regulation implements amendments to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (“CBPA”) passed during the 2020 General Assembly which requires local governments add consideration of ...
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Virginia DEQ Amends Construction General Permit to Include Disposal Disclosure Requirements

Virginia DEQ Amends Construction General Permit to Include Disposal Disclosure Requirements

Contractors that obtain coverage under the Virginia General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities (“Construction General Permit” or “Permit”) will soon need to disclose information regarding the disposal of excavated material from project sites. The Construction General Permit regulation, 9 VAC 25-880, governs stormwater discharges from regulated construction activities. Contractors seeking coverage under the Construction General Permit must submit a registration statement that ...
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Global Insurer Reports Ransomware Attacks Increased in Severity and Cost in 2020

Global Insurer Reports Ransomware Attacks Increased in Severity and Cost in 2020

According to a recent report by global insurer Beazley based on its customer data, in the first half of 2020, total costs of ransom payments doubled, along with the number of ransom demands paid compared with the same time period in 2019. Ransomware is a form of malicious software (malware) that blocks user access to a device or files, usually by encryption, until the victim ...
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EPA Publishes Proposed Rule Establishing National Standards for Vessel Discharges

EPA Publishes Proposed Rule Establishing National Standards for Vessel Discharges

On October 26, 2020, EPA published its proposed rule under the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (“VIDA”) which would establish national standards of performance for discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels. Background EPA regulates vessel discharges pursuant to a Vessel General Permit (“VGP”) that was first issued in 2008 and reissued in 2013.  Vessel owners, however, must comply with different discharge standards under federal, ...
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Non-EDVA Opinion of the Month:  Candy Sticks and the 2nd Circuit

Non-EDVA Opinion of the Month: Candy Sticks and the 2nd Circuit

Intellectual Property law—be it patent, trademark, or trade dress—can sometimes center a huge financial dispute on a remarkably simple issue.  The Third Circuit reinforced that idea with its recent decision in Ezaki Glico Kabushiki Kaisha v. Lotte International America Corp. At issue was whether the Defendant could keep selling "thin, stick-shaped cookies. . . partly coated with chocolate."  The candy you may know as a pocky ...
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BOOOOO!

BOOOOO!

As a special Halloween Treat, we look at a recent Motion to Dismiss ruling by Judge Doumar. The facts are colorful.  An unidentified SeaWorld employee, dressed as a clown, was working at the Howl-O-Scream event at Busch Gardens in 2018.  He intentionally startled Plaintiff while she was using a set of lockers to store her belongings.  The clown is described as “a fully costumed, make-up ...
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