Mr Kenneth W Irvin

Kenneth W Irvin


Environment & Climate Change

Court rules North Dakota lacks standing to intervene to challenge EPA settlement
USA | 05 February 2018

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently issued an order rejecting North Dakota's bid to intervene to oppose an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settlement. In 2015 the environmental groups sued the EPA in district court, alleging that the EPA had failed to undertake non-discretionary statutory duties periodically to review and, if necessary, revise its Resource Conservation and Recovery Act solid waste rules.

California Supreme Court decides groundwater charges are neither taxes nor tied to property ownership
USA | 05 February 2018

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that the charges that the city of Ventura pays to the United Water Conservation District for groundwater conservation activities are neither taxes nor fees that require approval by property owners or vote. This decision limits to some degree the ability of the municipal water supplier to set rates for water service and will have an effect on both agricultural and residential water users.

Commission issues rules that would ban hydraulic fracturing within Delaware River Basin
USA | 29 January 2018

The Delaware River Basin Commission has issued draft regulations that would ban fracking in portions of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. If implemented, the rules would make permanent a de facto moratorium on fracking in the basin that has been in place since 2010. The commission will hold four hearings at the end of January 2018 and will accept written comments on its proposal until February 28 2018.

EPA reaches Clean Air Act settlement with outdoor products manufacturer
USA | 29 January 2018

Husqvarna, a Swedish company that makes outdoor power tools, has agreed to settle with the Environmental Protection Agency over allegations that it overstated the emission reduction capabilities in certain engine models, according to a consent decree. Husqvarna will pay more than $2.8 million in penalties to the United States for air pollution testing violations from its leaf blowers, trimmers and chainsaws.

EPA issues important New Source Review guidance
USA | 22 January 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a guidance memo clarifying its interpretation of the Clean Air Act's New Source Review (NSR) regulations, including outlining when and under what criteria the EPA will consider the emission projections that a source makes under the rules. The memo is part of the EPA's implementation of the president's directive to streamline regulatory permitting requirements for manufacturing and other facilities.

EPA announces decision not to issue final regulations for hard rock mining
USA | 22 January 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced its decision on its proposed regulations for financial responsibility requirements for hard rock mining and mineral processing facilities. According to the EPA, it decided not to issue final regulations because it determined that they were inappropriate based on the EPA's interpretation of the statute and its analysis of its record developed for this rulemaking.

Ninth Circuit permits interest group enforcement of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
USA | 08 January 2018

Can an environmental organisation file suit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's citizen suit provision claiming harm from stormwater run-off which could be, but was not, subject to limits under a Clean Water Act permit? The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that it could. The ruling is a portentous development at a time when environmental groups are actively seeking out litigation opportunities to enforce federal regulations.

Ninth Circuit limits reach of anti-duplication provision
USA | 18 December 2017

The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that reflected a limited interpretation of the scope of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's anti-duplication provision, which provides that the act must be construed to apply to or authorise state regulation of "any activity or substance" regulated under several other federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act.

Officials allegedly violating youth plaintiffs' constitutional rights by failing to fight climate change
USA | 11 December 2017

A pair of new lawsuits claim that various government officials and agencies are violating youth plaintiffs' constitutional rights due to a failure to combat climate change sufficiently. The first case is against the state of Alaska, its governor and various other state officials and agencies. The second case alleges that specific Trump administration actions violated the plaintiffs' due process and public trust doctrine rights.

EPA issues directive on advisory committees
USA | 11 December 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a directive intended to strengthen and improve membership on the agency's advisory committees. The directive calls for the EPA to apply the following principles in setting membership on its advisory committees: strengthen member independence; increase state, tribal and local government participation; enhance geographic diversity; and promote fresh perspectives.

EPA issues final attainment area designations for ozone NAAQS
USA | 04 December 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule addressing which areas of the United States are in attainment of the 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). The agency found that 2,646 of the over 3,100 counties in the United States are in attainment of the ozone NAAQS. The EPA will continue to review the designation of the remaining counties.

EPA issues NODAs regarding 2016 NSPS for oil and gas industry
USA | 04 December 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued two notices of data availability in support of its proposed stays of various portions of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and gas industry (known as the 'Quad Oa' rule). The notices include a proposed two-year stay of the Quad Oa requirements and a proposed three-month stay to run during the gap between the publication and effective dates of the two-year stay.

Court allows claims related to alleged contamination of drinking water by fracking to go forward
USA | 23 January 2017

​The US District Court for the District of Wyoming has denied defendant Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc's motion for summary judgment, allowing the plaintiffs' fraud, nuisance, negligence and other common law claims in connection with alleged water contamination from hydraulic fracturing near Pavillion, Wyoming to go forward. The case will now proceed to a trial.

EPA must determine whether to revise solid waste disposal regulations
USA | 16 January 2017

​The US District Court for the District of Columbia recently approved a consent decree that resolves a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act citizen suit filed by environmental non-governmental organisations against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning the oil and gas industry. The consent decree requires the EPA to determine whether it should revise Subtitle D rules governing solid waste generated by oil and gas exploration, development and production.