Possible Trump Picks for EPA Administrator

As President-Elect Trump slowly selects members of his cabinet, speculation mounts on his likely candidates for EPA Administrator.  According to some media sources, the short list includes the following: Myron Ebell:  Mr. Ebell is leading Trump’s EPA transition team.  He is the Director of the Center of Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute,…
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SCOTUS Addresses WOTUS

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled that property owners have a right to immediate judicial review of jurisdictional wetlands determinations made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On May 31, 2016, SCOTUS issued an 8-0 opinion in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Company. The Corps had determined that Hawkes…
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EPA Seeks Faith Community’s Assistance to Reduce Food Waste

More food waste is sent to landfills and incinerators than any other waste, including plastics and metals combined. In 2013, 37 million tons of food waste were generated and thrown into landfills or incinerators.  In addition to the volume it takes, food in landfills emits methane.  To help reduce food waste, EPA has joined Miriam’s…
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SC Supreme Court Opens Door to “Stigma Damages”

In a surprising 3-2 decision, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that environmental plaintiffs whose property is not contaminated may nevertheless be able to recover “stigma damages,” which include decreased property values resulting from negative perceptions associated with property that is contaminated or near contaminated property.  In Chestnut v. AVX Corporation (Aug. 5, 2015), the…
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EPA Warns of Paint-Stripping Products

On August 28, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released a final risk assessment for Dichloromethane (DCM), which is widely used in common household paint-stripping products.  The risk assessment indicated DCM poses human health risks to workers and consumers who use products containing this chemical, as well as to bystanders. EPA estimates that…
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SCDHEC Seeks Input on New General Mining Permit

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (“SCDHEC”) is holding a public hearing and seeking comments on a proposed new Mining General Permit – GP1.  This General Permit covers mines of only topsoil or sand/clay that are not located in wetlands or other sensitive environmental or historic areas, that are five acres and…
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SC Bill to Expedite Environmental Permit Appeals Fails to Progress

Despite support by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, a bill to expedite environmental permit appeals, H 3827, failed to pass the South Carolina General Assembly this session. Bill H 3837 would have amended the current law, which mandates that the South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control (the “Board”) be given at least…
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SCDHEC Issues Daily Ozone Forecasts

Beginning this month, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (“DHEC”) is issuing daily forecasts for ground-level ozone.  DHEC hopes the information will lead residents to “adjust their daily transportation habits by carpooling, reducing idling time, driving less, and using outdoor equipment in the evenings,” especially during peak ozone periods.  DHEC also intends…
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SC DHEC Pursuing RFP for Statewide Water Assessment

On January 17, 2014, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) announced they were pursuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for environmental contractors to bid on a statewide water assessment project. Catherine Templeton, Director of SCDHEC, stated the agencies seek “a true and complete…
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SCDHEC Seeks Comments on Amendments to Solid Waste Regulation

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is proposing to amend regulation R.61-107.4, Solid Waste Management: Yard Trash and Land-clearing Debris; and Compost. The proposed regulation would allow companies to compost certain solid waste, address food waste through composting, and streamline the permitting process.  The public comment period will be open until…
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SCDHEC Drafting General Air Permit for Mine Operations

SCDHEC is working on a draft general air permit for certain mines in South Carolina, at least including crushed stone quarry operations. Although the mining industry had expressed interest in a general air permit that would replace both construction and operating permits for all non-metallic mineral mines that fall below certain thresholds, there is some…
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Emergency Regulation Regarding Management of Wastewater System Sludge

On September 25, 2013, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued an emergency regulation regarding management of wastewater system sludge, including land application of sludge impacted by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB).  DHEC along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still investigating the source of PCBs that was recently introduced into…
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SCDHEC on Lookout for Illegal Dumping

In the wake of recent discoveries of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at three Upstate publicly-owned treatment works, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (“SCDHEC”) is working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to investigate illegal dumping. Specifically, PCBs were discovered in the wastewater collection systems of Renewable Water Resources, which serves much…
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SC DHEC Proposes to Repeal and Streamline 25 Environmental Regulations

Businesses subject to environmental regulations in South Carolina should familiarize themselves with recent changes proposed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (“SC DHEC”). In response to an order issued on February 12, 2013, by Governor Nikki Haley establishing a Regulatory Review Task Force, SC DHEC solicited written comments and held public…
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High Court Gives Government Agencies More Deference

The U.S. Supreme Court recently clarified that a governmental agency which has been given the authority to promulgate regulations and adjudicate disputes may use such authority to interpret its governing statute and that the courts should defer to such interpretation.  In Arlington v. FCC, No. 11-1545 (May 20, 2013), the Court considered the FCC’s interpretation…
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Brownfield Buyer Beware

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a purchaser of a brownfield could be held liable for the costs of remediating hazardous substances on it, notwithstanding its bona fide prospective purchaser (“BFPP”) defense. In PCS Nitrogen Inc. v. Ashley II of Charleston LLC, 2013 WL 1340018 (4th Cir. April 4, 2013), the Court…
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SCDHEC Launches “Permit Central”

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control recently announced the launch of a new web page, styled “Permit Central.” SCDHEC’s goal is to better inform companies doing business in South Carolina of necessary permits. Users may take advantage of a questionnaire to determine permits needed as well as estimated time frames, form applications,…
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New EPA Guidance Offers Tenants Liability Protection for Contamination

Tenants can be held liable for preexisting contamination on property they lease under certain circumstances.  Tenants can, however, utilize the bona fide prospective purchaser (BFPP) defense against such liability under CERCLA if the owner qualifies as a BFPP.  Additionally, EPA recently issued guidance stating that it will treat certain tenants as BFPPs, even when the…
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SC Isolated Wetlands and Carolina Bays Task Force Indicates Preference for Protection Through Conservation Easements

The SC Isolated Wetlands and Carolina Bays Task Force, created by the South Carolina General Assembly in June of this year to review and study isolated wetlands and make findings and recommendations, met on Tuesday, November 13.  The Task Force indicated it prefers to protect the Carolina Bays and isolated wetlands through conservation easements instead…
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SC Isolated Wetlands and Carolina Bays Task Force’s Next Meeting

The SC Isolated Wetlands and Carolina Bays Task Force was created by the South Carolina General Assembly in June of this year to review and study isolated wetlands and make findings and recommendations.  The next meeting of the Task Force will be held on Tuesday, November 13 in Room 105 of the Gressette Building, 1101…
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SCDHEC Faces Permit Backlog

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), 503 of the state’s 3,693 active pollution control permits have expired.  Most of the expired permits are for water and air discharges.  The agency’s director Catherine Templeton has said that SCDHEC will work to expedite review of replacement permits.  Until they are reissued,…
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SC Isolated Wetlands Taskforce Meeting in September

In June, the South Carolina General Assembly amended the Pollution Control Act (“PCA”) to address the Smith Land case. In that case, the South Carolina Supreme Court interpreted the PCA to require all discharges into the environment to be covered by a permit from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (“DHEC”) and…
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DHEC’s Environmental Assistance Conference

DHEC is hosting its annual Environmental Assistance Conference, aimed at advising businesses on compliance issues, on November 7, 2012 at the Columbia Convention Center.  The agenda will include topics such as preparing for agency inspections, the enforcement process, and air, stormwater and wastewater permitting.  Register here.