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They’re Back! DEQ to Resume Issuance of Landowner Liability Comfort Letters

Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (“VDEQ”) announced via its email newsletter that it will resume issuance of Bona Fide Prospective Purchase (“BFPP”) and other “Comfort Letters” beginning September 1, 2022. This resumes a popular program that offers welcomed legal clarity to businesses looking to purchase environmentally distressed properties. As we reported on December 13, 2021, VDEQ suspended issuance of Comfort Letters due to the surge ...
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New Bat Rules May Affect Future Construction Projects, including New VDOT Tree Removal Limits

New Bat Rules May Affect Future Construction Projects, including New VDOT Tree Removal Limits

Contractors and owners with projects that may affect forested areas after December of 2022 may face more restrictive prohibitions against tree removal under a proposed rule that would list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species. The northern long-eared bat is found in 37 states, including Virginia.  Like most bats, it is a beneficial nighttime hunter that helps control insect populations, and so it ...
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EPA Sets Near “Zero” PFAS Drinking Water Health Advisory

EPA Sets Near “Zero” PFAS Drinking Water Health Advisory

On June 15, 2022, EPA issued four drinking water health advisories for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that set levels so low that it amounts to a finding that no level of PFAS in drinking water is acceptable. As background, EPA sets drinking water health advisories for certain chemicals, many of which are unregulated by conventional environmental laws, to inform drinking water providers and the ...
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U.S. Army Corps Reissues Virginia Statewide Permits, but Excludes Mining Activities

U.S. Army Corps Reissues Virginia Statewide Permits, but Excludes Mining Activities

The Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (“Corps”), in coordination with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (“VDEQ”), is proposing two Virginia State Programmatic General Permits (“SPGP”) authorizing discharge of dredge or fill material in nontidal waters of the United States, including wetlands, from certain commercial, industrial, residential, and linear transportation activities to replace the existing SPGP.  The most significant change from ...
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Join Us! Virginia Association of Environmental Professionals Virtual Meeting

Join Us! Virginia Association of Environmental Professionals Virtual Meeting

VAEP would like to invite Virginia environmental professionals, or those interested in entering the environmental field, to an information session where VAEP’s organizers will discuss their vision for the organization, membership expectations, and the hear from you about your interest in VAEP and how we can make this organization work for you ...
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EPA Proposes to Incorporate New Environment Due Diligence Standard

EPA Proposes to Incorporate New Environment Due Diligence Standard

On March 14, 2022, EPA published a Direct Final Rule and a Proposed Rule that would incorporate ASTM International’s (“ASTM”) updated standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (“Phase I ESAs”) into EPA’s “All Appropriate Inquires” regulations. As background, ASTM 1527 is designed to provide a consistent standard for satisfying EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiries (“AAI”) Rule when assessing current environmental conditions as part of ...
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How to Protect Your Business Against Ransomware

Within the past decade, technology has evolved extremely rapidly, which can be both beneficial and difficult for business owners to navigate. Just as common technology like laptops and mobile banking has evolved, so have the cybercriminals that target businesses in ransomware attacks. Despite the frightening news of recent ransomware attacks, Vandeventer Black is here to provide business owners with the information and legal support you ...
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Army Corps Changes Course on Jurisdictional Determinations

Army Corps Changes Course on Jurisdictional Determinations

On January 5, 2022, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) quietly released an announcement stating that it will not rely on approved jurisdictional determinations (“AJDs”) issued under the now-vacated Navigable Waters Protection Rule (“NWPR”).  This represents a significant change on how the USACE treats AJDs and could significantly impact pending permit applications which relied on AJDs issued under the previous rule. Background On Changes ...
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Turbid Water

Virginia DEQ Suspends Issuance of Landowner Liability “Comfort Letters”

On December 1, 2021, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (“VDEQ”)  announced via a notice on its Brownfields website that it stopped accepting applications for Bona Fide Prospective Purchase (“BFPP”) and other “Comfort Letters” for an indeterminate period of time. Such comfort letters had been an important tool available to prospective purchasers of industrial and other contaminated properties to help limit their liability for existing ...
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Back Hoe Hand Full of Mud

Update – Army Corps Resumes Permit Actions

On November 9, we reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Army Corps”) had paused action on certain permits that relied on the Trump Administration’s Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Sec. 401 Certification Rule (“2020 Rule”) after a California Federal Court vacated the 2020 Rule on October 21 of this year. The Court’s action had the effect of reinstating the previous CWA 401 Rule issued ...
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Gasoline Station

Revised Phase I ESA Standard Published

On Nov 1, 2021, ASTM International (“ASTM”) released the revised standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (“Phase I ESAs”).  The new standard, ASTM 1527-21, which revises the 1527-13, is intended to address inconsistencies that have developed in current environmental due diligence practice, and to improve the overall quality of Phase I ESAs. As background, the intent behind the ASTM 1527 was to provide ...
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Cybersecurity Certification

Department of Justice Announces New Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative – What This Means for Federal Contractors

Recently, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco announced the Department of Justice’s new Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative, aimed at combatting “new and emerging cyber threats to the security of sensitive information and critical systems.”  The Initiative will be led by the Department’s Civil Division Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, and is a direct result of the Department’s comprehensive cyber review ordered by Deputy Monaco last May ...
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Hand Coding

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 – What Federal Contractors Need To Know

On November 4, 2021, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by releasing the latest and highly anticipated iteration of the CMMC program – CMMC 2.0.  According to the DoD, the streamlined version of CMMC 2.0: Cuts red tape for small and medium-sized businesses Sets priorities for protecting DoD information Reinforces cooperation between the DoD and industry in addressing evolving ...
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Back Hoe Hand Full of Mud

Legal Alert – U.S. Army Corps Pauses Permit Decisions

Highlights: -  The Army Corps of Engineers has paused action on certain permits that relied on Trump Administration’s Clean Water Act (CWA) Sec. 401Certification Rule after a federal court in California “vacated” the 2020 Rules last month -  The permits that are held up include individual wetlands and dredging permits, as well as 16 Nationwide Permits, which could impact a number of pending projects -  ...
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EPA Releases PFAS Strategic Roadmap

EPA Releases PFAS Strategic Roadmap

Highlights - Businesses could face additional PFAS compliance requirements as early as 2022 - EPA planning to list PFAS as a CERCLA hazardous substance by 2023 - Expect PFAS to be addressed in NPDES permits and industrial ELGs - Expect establishment of PFAS drinking water limits and water quality criteria The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released its PFAS Strategic Roadmap on October 18, 2021.  ...
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Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Tips On Practicing Basic Cyber Hygiene

Prioritizing Cybersecurity in a Hybrid Workplace

In this day and age, employees are more connected than ever. The hybrid workplace is here to stay, and for employees, this means relying on connected devices from their home offices. According to recent data,[1] smart home systems are set to rise to a market value of $157 billion by 2023, and the number of installed connected devices in the home is expected to rise ...
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FIGHT THE PHISH!

In our earlier article, we discussed tips on practicing basic cyber hygiene.  One of the most common attack methods mentioned in that article was phishing.  This article will discuss the importance of being aware of text messages, emails, or chat boxes that come from someone you do not know or were not expecting.  Phishing has been a staple in the cybersecurity threat landscape for decades ...
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Cybersecurity Awareness Month Do Your Part Banner

Cybersecurity Best Practices

In our first article to kick off Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we will discuss some steps businesses can take to improve their cyber hygiene.  Over the past few years, some of the largest and well-known companies have been affected by data breaches resulting in millions of dollars in losses.  Smaller businesses are not immune from data breaches, and even a small data breach impacting only a ...
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Cybersecurity Awareness

Vandeventer Black LLP Supports Cybersecurity Awareness Month – 2021

In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Vandeventer Black is pleased to announce that it will again be providing information and resources throughout the month of October to increase awareness of some of the complex cybersecurity issues and challenges that face businesses in Virginia and beyond.  Recently, we published a series of articles addressing ransomware attacks, such as those involving Colonial Pipeline and JBS S.A., ...
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Aerial View Of Buildings Smoke Fog

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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