Feb 19, 2020

EPA Considers “Legacy Use” Options as Appeal Windows Narrows

Hazard Assessment

The EPA announced that it will not seek an en banc rehearing of an appellate court ruling declaring that the EPA must consider Legacy uses of chemicals in its TSCA evaluations of the potential hazards of the chemicals.  The decision stems from a Ninth Circuit ruling last November where a challenge to the agency’s final rule on how it will conduct risk evaluations under TSCA was upheld. The Appellate court held that the EPA’s decision to preclude Legacy uses and associated disposal from its risk evaluation was unlawful.  The EPA has until mid-February to decide if it will petition the… Read more


Mar 20, 2019

Groundwater Pollution Liability Under Clean Water Act to be Reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

Groundwater Pollution

On February 19, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review a unanimous decision by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that underground wastewater injection into a groundwater channel that flows to the Pacific Ocean requires a permit under the Clean Water Act.  The Ninth Circuit decision, Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, et al v. County of Maui, 886 F.3d 737 (9th Cir. 2018), is one of two Circuit Court cases finding liability under the Clean Water Act for unpermitted discharges of pollutants to groundwater for which certiorari petitions are pending in the Supreme Court.  The Order issued on… Read more


Mar 29, 2018

SGR Client National Grange Successful in Trademark Infringement Case

National Grange

In March 2013, The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry (“National Grange”) brought an action for trademark infringement and unfair competition against the California Guild (“California Guild”), previously trading as the California State Grange. On July 14, 2015, the District Court for the Eastern District of California granted the National Grange’s Motion for Summary Judgment, and the final judgment was entered on September 30, 2015. Then, on August 20, 2016, the District Court granted the National Grange’s motion for attorneys’ fees, and on September 12, 2016, the District Court ordered the California Guild to pay $144,715.70 in… Read more


Dec 4, 2017

Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Solar Power Dispute

Solar Panels

The Supreme Court of the United States announced on Friday, December 1 that it would hear an Arizona utility’s appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision[1] ruling that a rooftop solar company’s antitrust lawsuit against the utility may move forward. SolarCity, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tesla Motors, sued Salt River Project, a utility regulated by Arizona, over the utility’s 2015 decision to charge a fee for solar power systems operated by individuals, many of which are installed by SolarCity. In the lawsuit, SolarCity claimed that these fees were implemented to make rooftop solar systems too expensive to… Read more


Jun 27, 2017

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Conditional Nanomaterial Pesticide Registration

Crop Duster Plane

In a ruling that could slow EPA’s approval of nanomaterial-based pesticides, the Ninth Circuit on May 30 invalidated EPA’s conditional approval of NSPW-L30SS, formerly known as Nanosilva. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) v. EPA (9th Cir., May 30, 2017). The Court found that EPA’s determination that use of nanosilver-based pesticides would result in lower overall silver emissions into the environment, and therefore was in the public interest, was faulty because it was based on two assumptions that lacked support—that current users of pesticides containing conventional silver would switch to the new pesticide, and that the new pesticide would not be used in… Read more


Feb 22, 2016

Ninth Circuit Outlines Standard for Agency Reversal of Policy

With an election year comes speculation about who will win the Presidency and whether the new Administration could reverse some of the more controversial programs of the Obama Administration, including those being pursued by the EPA.  Should that happen, a decision last summer by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, en banc, in Organized Village of Kake v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, No. 11-35517, July 29, 2015, http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/07/29/11-35517.pdf, could provide guidelines for evaluating such reversals.  The case involved a Bush Administration effort to reverse the Clinton Administration’s “Roadless Rule”, promulgated in 2001, just days before the change in administration.  In… Read more