December 2016 – In the appeal of Piney Orchard Community Association v. Maryland Department of the Environment et al., No. 1124, September Term, 2015, before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, Associate Peter Hershey, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of the Environment, successfully defended the circuit court’s decision to affirm MDE’s issuance of a refuse disposal system permit for a rubble landfill. The appeal resulted in a reported decision, which can be found at: http://www.mdcourts.gov/opinions/cosa/2016/1124s15.pdf.
December 2016 – In the appeal of Piney Orchard Community Association v. Tolson and Associates, No. 1824, Sept. Term, 2015, before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, Associate Peter Hershey, in conjunction with Anne Arundel County, successfully defended the circuit court’s decision dismissing a complaint challenging a rubble landfill for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and pursuant to the doctrine of collateral estoppel.
December 2016 – In the appeal of Clayland Farm Enterprises, LLC v. Talbot County et al., Case No. 15-1755, before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Partner Mark Gabler and Associate Peter Hershey successfully obtained reversal and remand of the District Court’s decision dismissing the case on ripeness grounds. The case presents important issues about the scope of a County’s authority to impose moratoriums and designate properties pursuant to Maryland’s tier mapping requirements.
December 2016 – In the case of Hartford Fire Insurance Company v. The Harborview Marina & Yacht Club Community Association, Inc., Civil No. PJM 16-769, pending before the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Senior Partner Warren Rich and Associate Peter Hershey successfully obtained dismissal of the case from the Court’s admiralty jurisdiction. The case involves an insurance coverage dispute concerning the collapse of a pier located within the Harborview Community in Baltimore City.
November 2016 – In Maryland’s first Contested Case Hearing objecting to MDE’s approval of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) for a family farm CAFO, Partner Tony Gorski successfully opposed and obtained a dismissal of the challenge in The Matter Of Mary Clark, Case No. OAH No. MDE-LMA-051-16-14338.
October/November 2016 – The EPA has approved and published a final rule that changes many of the long-standing requirements of the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) for generators of hazardous waste. Among many other changes, the new rule converts generators into Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (“TSDF”) subject to RCRA permitting requirements for any deviation from the accumulation requirements, and not just an exceedance of an accumulation time or quantity limit under the current rule. The new rule also significantly increases record-keeping and testing responsibilities of large quantity generators (“LQG”) and small quantity generators (“SQG”) of hazardous waste. Nearly all facilities that generate more than 1 kg of hazardous wastes will be classified as LQGs and required to manage their non-acutely hazardous wastes as LQG wastes. The effective date of the final rule is May 30, 2017 and is available here.
September 2016 — Partner Mark Gabler argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of the Appellants in the case of Clayland Farm Enterprises, LLC v. Talbot County et al., Case No. 15-1755. The appeal was noted after the District Court dismissed the complaint raising constitutional and civil rights claims, among others, on ripeness grounds. The case involves important issues about the scope of a county’s authority to impose moratoriums and designate properties pursuant to Maryland’s tier mapping requirements.
September 2016 – Rich & Henderson, P.C., submitted comments to the Maryland Department of Environment regarding the Department’s tentative determination to issue General Discharge Permit No. 15 MM (NPDES No. MDG49). The comments address the impacts and effects of the Department’s proposed changes to the permitting requirements for discharges from mineral mines, quarries, borrow pits, and concrete and asphalt plants, as well as specifically how these changes will impact the mining industry and the waters of the state of Maryland. Additionally, the comments highlight and analyze the tentative determination’s enforcement provisions, enabling authority, methods of measuring pollutants and pH levels, associated costs and obligations, and ambiguities in the draft.
July 2016 — Senior Partner Warren Rich and Associate Peter Hershey argued before the United States District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of the Defendant/Cross-Plaintiff in the case of Hartford Fire Insurance Company v. Harborview Marina & Yacht Club Community Association, Case No. 8:16-cv-00769. The case involves an insurance coverage dispute concerning the collapse of a pier located within the Harborview Community in Baltimore City.
June 2016 –-The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576), better known as the amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), took effect on June 22. Under the amendments, EPA will utilize a two-step process to regulate new and existing chemicals. The first step is risk evaluation which requires EPA to prioritize which chemicals to regulate based on their potential hazards, exposures, and risks. The second step requires EPA to promulgate a risk management rule for any chemical that it determines poses an unreasonable risk to avoid risky exposures. These risk management rules can include phase-outs and bans of extremely dangerous chemicals. In addition to the new requirements for new and existing chemicals, the amendments also include changes which: (1) accelerate the testing of existing chemicals by imposing strict deadlines and allow EPA authority to require testing through orders, rules, or consent agreements; (2) implement new standards and requirements for claiming submitted information as confidential; (3) remove the cap for administration fees for actions, such as risk evaluation, protection of confidential information, and testing; and (4) allow for TSCA to preempt all state laws that would duplicate any findings made by EPA.
June 2016 — The EPA issued a final rule technical amendment which revises the hazard categories for reporting under Sections 311 and 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), due to the changes in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform to the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Environmental Protection Agency, 81 FR 38104 (Jun. 13, 2016) (to be codified at 40 C.F.R. § 370). Prior to the adoption of the GHS, OSHA’s HCS was performance-oriented; it established requirements for hazard determination but did not provide the specific language to convey the information or a format in which to provide to the users of the chemicals. Facilities are required to comply with reporting the new physical and health hazards on their Tier II inventory form for reporting year 2017, by March 1, 2018. Tables comparing the required language before and after adoption of the GHS provisions can be found at the following links:
March 2016 — Partner Tony Gorski and Associate Peter Hershey assisted a client in securing a temporal variance to finish construction of a rubble landfill in an administrative appeal held before the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals.
March 2016 — Partner Mark F. Gabler assisted a client in securing a tidal wetlands license from the Maryland Board of Public Works to perform maintenance dredging of a channel in the Chesapeake Bay.
March 2016 — Partner Mark F. Gabler, in conjunction with attorneys from Saul Ewing LLP, assisted a client in securing dismissal of a petition for judicial review of a site plan and subdivision approval in a case pending before the Maryland Court of Appeals on the grounds that the petitioners lacked standing to maintain the appeal.
February 2016 — Senior Partner Warren K. Rich and Associate Peter Hershey assisted a client in securing a special exception for the expansion of an existing surface mine.
February 2016 — Partner Tony Gorski negotiated favorable resolution of an enforcement action brought by the state against a rental property owner for alleged lead paint violations involving multiple parcels in multiple counties.