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Today we will be looking at a decision against the Biden administration’s offshore lease sale, past toxics cases and current PFAS litigation, as well as joint assurances from both the White House (and the European Union) on the Ukraine standoff.
Lets jump in.
Court axes drilling leases starting November
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has just rejected offshore drilling leases issued last year by the Biden administration.
Rudolph Contreras, Obama appointee, vacated both the decision not to hold the lease sale, issued by Trump, and the action taken based upon that Record of Decision.
The judge returned the sale, known by Lease Sale 257 to the Interior Department for further proceedings.
He questioned the Trump-era calculations that led to the decision. He claimed that the department arbitrarily excluded foreign energy consumption from its calculations of climate change potential contributions.
Last year, the Biden administration issued a temporary halt to all new oil and natural gas lease sales. However, it kept the sale in question. In June, the court held the pause..
Melissa Schwartz, Interior spokesperson, stated in a statement that the department was forced into the lease sale by the June decision.
We were forced to comply with the District Court of Louisiana litigation injunction and proceed with Lease Sale 257 on the basis of the previous administration’s environmental analysis, and its approval of the lease sale,” Schwartz stated. “We are currently reviewing the Court’s decision regarding deficiencies in that record.”
She also pointed out that the department had found “serious defects” in the federal oil-and-gas program in a recent review.
Companies purchased drilling rights on 1.7 million acres, even though 80 million acres were up for sale.
Despite the June court ruling some sale opponents claimed that the Biden administration should not have modified it or waited to appeal.
Find out more about the most recent decision here.
LATEST NEWS ON UKRAINE, RUSSIA, AND ENERGY
The United States is working closely with the European Union to stop any disruptions in energy supply due to the conflict between Russia & Ukraine.President BidenJoe BidenCourt cancels the auction of offshore drilling leases by Biden administration Laquan McMenchie’s family pushes to have federal charges against officer before Biden talks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat.Ursula von der Leyen, President European Commission, stated in a joint statement Friday.
Biden and von der Leyen stated that the U.S. is the largest supplier of liquified gas to the European Union and is working with the EU in order to avoid any supply shocks during the Ukraine-Russia standoff.
“We are collaborating to governments and market operator on additional volumes of natural gasoline to Europe from diverse sources around the globe. [Liquefied natural gas (LNG)]The statement states that we can increase supply security in the short term while enabling net zero emissions transition. The European Commission will strive for greater transparency and better utilization of LNG terminals within the EU.
Both leaders said that they were committed to integrating Ukraines electricity and gas supply into EU markets, as both the U.S.A and EU work towards their respective goals in transitioning to renewable energies.
What else has the U.S. done? An official previously stated that it was working closely with other countries and energy companies to develop a contingency plan for the event of a Russian invasion.
A senior administration official stated Tuesday that they were working with companies and countries around the globe to ensure supply security and to mitigate against price shocks that could affect both the American people as well as the global economy.
Russia is the main source of more than 40% of European natural gaz, most of which flows through Ukraine.
You can read more about the remarks here.
Past toxics cases have set the stage for PFAS suits
This story is part the final installment of The Hills Forever. A fractured legal system faces chemicals here to say series. Read the first three stories Here, here Here.
When Erin BrockovichWhile she was already deeply involved in investigating a case of chromium-six poisoning in Hinkley (California), her boss Ed Masry warned that he had run into problems.
Brockovich said that Brockovich pulled me into his law library and simply stated that he didn’t think it was possible to move forward. I was stunned. I was stunned. He replied, “Well, there’s a statute for limitations.”
A statute of limitations, or a law that bars legal claims for a specified time after the harm, can be decisive in deciding whether or not to pursue a toxic exposure lawsuit. These restrictions, which vary from state to state in terms of length and detail, are a part of the litigation arising after community exposure to forever chemicals (or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS)).
These statutes have been a key player in other toxic exposure cases for a long time, making an appearance in Brockovich’s real life as well as the blockbuster Hollywood film based on them starring Julia Roberts.
Brockovich, who was working in the 1990s as a legal aide to Masry, stated that she had spent many months interviewing people and going to the California Water Board. She also collected documents and investigated the chromium-six contamination at Pacific Gas & Electrics.
Brockovich explained that Masry was trying to find a partner to help him build the case. But California’s one-year statute limits made it difficult to find someone to join them. PG&E argued it had warned residents more than a decade ago about its total chromium usage, meaning that the statute would have run its course.
And I was like, “Well, that’s disappointing Ed Brockovich.” So, I’m here in your law library. How did these laws, these supposed statutes come to be? Because somebody challenged it. It was created by someone. Someone changed what was in the books? It’s just the status quo. It’s not even possible to challenge based on what you’ve said. Ed sat back and said, “You’re right.”
Masry, who passed away in 2005, decided that he would continue to argue that time had not run out because PG&E didn’t warn residents about the specific chromium causing contamination. Brockovich explained.
Toxic exposure cases pose unique difficulties that cannot be caused by, for instance, a case involving an automobile accident.
Vehicle collision cases usually involve a precise incident, diagnosis, and treatment. However, the root cause of injury in toxic exposure situations is more difficult to prove. Kevin HannonDenver-based head of toxics and environment litigation for Morgan and Morgan Law Firm, and founder of The Hannon Law Firm.
However, in some cases, such as medical malpractice, the exact time that the clock should stop running may not be clear.
Hannon said that if a surgeon accidentally placed a sponge in a patient, lawyers could disagree over whether the statute is triggered by the date the sponge was put in the patient, when the patient first experienced pain, or when the sponge is discovered.
He said that toxic exposure cases could be even more complex.
Hannon made several parallels between toxic exposures in other areas, noting that it can take years for children to be exposed to lead in their early childhood. This could cause problems at school.
It is not uncommon for disabilities or illnesses to develop over many years. This makes it difficult to start the clock.
Learn more about specific cases that may give insight into the future of PFAS litigation.
PROGRESSIVES PRESS ON PENTAGOON EMISSIONS
More than two dozen Democrats in Congress are calling for President Biden’s change to the federal sustainability executive order to include military personnel, which is a major contributor to planet-warming emissions.
In a Neue letterOn Friday, Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden comments give momentum to climate measures in spending bill Overnight Energy & Environment. Starting from scratch on climate, spending bill overnight Health Care White House increases mask availability (D-Mass.) Rep. Mondaire JonesMondaire JonesLaquan McDonald’s family presses for federal charges against officer before early release McCarthy delays swift passage spending plan with record-breaking floor speech House Democrats brush aside Manchin(D.N.Y.), lawmakers suggested that military exemptions be removed because of their large contribution to climate changes.
We encourage you to remove defense-related exemptions in your executive order on federal sustainability because of your commitment to a comprehensive government-wide approach to the climate crisis. We request that you list any broad exemptions that have been requested and granted within the existing framework.
ON TAP NEXT WOEEK
- The House Agriculture Committee will host a HearConservation programs under the Farm Bill
- The House Select Climate Crisis Committee (HSCCC) will hold a HearU.S. manufacturing & climate solutions
- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (Senate Environment and Public Works Committee) will hold a HearOn recycling and composting
- The House Natural Resources Committee is holding a HearA variety of park and trail-related bills
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources CommitteeA hearing will be heldOn the following Biden nominees
WHAT WAS READING
A Harvard Study has found that Fracking and air pollution are linked to early deaths in nearby residents (for the first time).Inside Climate News)
White House acting regulations direct to leave (E&E News)
Australia PM pledges $700 million more for Great Barrier Reef Protection (Reuters)
Environmental groups don’t push for Supreme Court picks. Here’s why. (The Washington Post)
Last but not least, something completely off-beatThe White House cat has arrived!
This is it for today. Thanks for reading. Check out The HillsEnergy & Environment pageGet the latest news and coverage. You can also seeYouMonday.