Anchors Aweigh: Damage to Submarine Cable Caused by Barge Anchor Results in Significant Oil Pollution Act Liability

Joe Romero, Esq. 08/18/2020 Environmental Law Monitor

In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that submarine cables containing dielectric fluids and other oils are “facilities” under the Oil Pollution Act.  Consequently, vessel operators that damage submarine cables could face significant liability for any resulting releases of oil. In Power Authority of the State of… Read more »


Joe Romero, Esq. 07/07/2020 EnvironmentalEnvironmental Law Monitor

Companies that manufacture, install, or otherwise defeat a vehicle’s emissions system risk EPA enforcement.  This is particularly true for activities designed to defeat emissions systems of diesel engines, which has drawn increased EPA scrutiny. A number of devices or services are available which are advertised to bypass or eliminate the effectiveness of vehicle emissions systems. … Read more »

Virginia Prioritizes “Living Shorelines” for Shoreline Development and Management

Joe Romero, Esq. 06/26/2020 Environmental Law Monitor

Development projects that affect shorelines in Virginia will soon need to plan for the use of living shorelines as the preferred method for shoreline management in their development plans.  During the 2020 Legislative Session, the Virginia General Assembly amended Title 28.2 of the Virginia Code to strengthen Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s (VMRC) mandate to protect… Read more »

EPA Finalizes Amendments to Clean Water Act 401 Certification Process

Joe Romero, Esq. 06/17/2020 Environmental Law Monitor

On June 1, 2020, EPA finalized amendments to the Clean Water Act section 401 certification process.  The amendments update the substantive and procedural requirements for state water quality certifications.  The rule is almost certainly going to be challenged in court by states and special interest groups.  If it survives, however, the new rule could provide… Read more »

EPA Formally Adds PFAS to the TRI Pursuant to Congressional Mandate

Joe Romero, Esq. 06/16/2020 Environmental Law Monitor

On May 18, 2020, EPA published its final rule adding 172 per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) to the list of chemicals requiring reporting on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which heightens the importance of understanding whether your business processes, manufactures, or uses PFAS.   As explained at EPA’s website, PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that… Read more »

Environmental and Regulatory Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Best Practices

Joe Romero, Esq. 04/28/2020 CoronavirusEnvironmental Law Monitor

The regulatory landscape has become a challenging place to operate as the nation struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19.  The frequency and diversity of policy changes being issued by various levels of government, combined with the proliferation of information and misinformation, means regulated entities may find it difficult to track and accurately understand current… Read more »

UPDATE: Virginia DEQ Issues Temporary Environmental Enforcement Policy During COVID-19

Joe Romero, Esq. 04/01/2020 CoronavirusEnvironmental Law Monitor

On March 30, we posted an article regarding the issuance of temporary environmental enforcement policies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and some states.  In that article, we discussed the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) announcement that they were suspending field activities.  We noted that DEQ’s announcement did not state it was enacting a… Read more »

EPA and States Issue Temporary Environmental Enforcement Policies During COVID-19

Joe Romero, Esq. 03/30/2020 CoronavirusEnvironmental Law Monitor

The increased limitations on day-to-day life resulting from efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have made previously routine regulatory compliance efforts more difficult.  In some cases, regulated entities may find that they are unable to comply with certain requirements imposed by regulations, a settlement agreement, or a consent decree.  For example, a hazardous waste… Read more »

Environmental Enforcement Agreements, Force Majeure Provisions, & COVID-19: Now is the Time to Review Your Consent Order and Assess Your Options

Joe Romero, Esq. 03/21/2020 CoronavirusEnvironmental Law Monitor

Much has already been written regarding the potential of COVID-19 to impact construction or development projects.   For example, businesses may experience personnel or material shortages, or stoppages that result from Government-directed actions.  These delays jeopardize project timelines and place businesses in vulnerable positions regarding liquidated damages or other contract penalties.   These businesses are reviewing their… Read more »