Quote of the Day - A concise essay on religion, royalty, sex and mystery: Oh God!, said the Queen. I'm pregnant. I wonder whose it is?
Lodi Loses In More Ways Than OneThe City of Lodi doesn't like hazardous waste, so they passed an ordinance, MERLO, (see second story down) to regulate it. It passed muster (partially) before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Given that their ordinance had for the most part gotten past the possible conflict with the federal hazardous waste laws, the City was emboldened. They went after more companies using their ordinance. One company, Randtron, however, fought back and claimed that it was preempted by the HSAA, the California State Superfund laws. The City, confident with its somewhat federal victory, fought back.
Turns out that the state appeals court thinks that the State Superfund law controls over the City's ordinance. Who woulda thunk it? No kidding.
But, it didn't have to be such a loss. All the City had to do to exercise proper jurisdiction over Randtron was to designate the area as redevelopment and then use the Polanco Redevelopment Act. Too bad they didn't think of that first. Would have saved them a ton in attorneys fees.
Oh well, it's only the taxpayer's money.
Sunday, May 9, 2004. Here's a follow-up in the Contra Costa Times about the lawyers fees charged in these cases.
One Cruise Line Comes into LineAs part of my continuing effort to follow up on previously published posts, here's one on cruise ships and sewage. It appears that Royal Caribbean is cleaning up its act.
According this Associated Press story, the cruise line "will clean the up to 24,000 gallons of sewage or 'blackwater' and 265,000 gallons of 'graywater' from laundries, showers, sinks and dishwashers each dumps daily when it's at sea."
Predictably, Oceana (the environmental group that led this charge) is gloating. Royal Caribbean cleaned up its act after paying a $27 million file to the Coast Guard. Now, 29 ships are outfitted with the treatment systems, and 26 more are slated for retrofitting.
Creating The Laboratory Error DefenseThe Third Circuit created new law yesterday: the laboratory error defense. This defense applies in at least the Clean Water Act, and perhaps other environmental statutes.
The company, Allegheny Ludlum, charged with violating the CWA believed it was in compliance with reporting requirements, but due to a laboratory error, they actually were overreporting zinc concentrations due to the laboratory's contaminated reagent. The USEPA brought an administrative action to levy fines. After imposing some $8 million in fines, the company fought the allegations in a lower court and lost. They appealed, and won, creating this new defense.
The USEPA argued that the CWA imposed a strict liability scheme, and there could therefore be no exceptions. Although the Circuit court disagreed with the government, the court would not endorse the laboratory error defense as an actual affirmative defense to the USEPA's charges, but noted that it was "relevant" to compliance determinations.
Your Landfill is About to Start GlowingAccording to the North County (San Diego) Times, both environmentalists and government employees are upset at the USEPA.
Not that it's any surprise that they're upset.
The USEPA is proposing to dump radioactive waste into landfills. Now that's something that may be worth being upset about. I don't like to glow in the dark. Here are the comments submitted by The Public Citizen. I know it's redundant, but I didn't pick the name.
This editorialist complains that he can't dump a TV into a landfill, but the USEPA wants to dump radioactive waste.
If you want to comment or give the USEPA a piece of your mind, then go to it.
Mixed Bag of Insurance Coverage For Two TowersHere's the follow-up story to one published here last September about the loss of the World Trade Center towers.
On remand from the Second Circuit, the federal jury held that the majority of the insurers on the risk were bound to pay for only one loss instead of two. The owner of the building argued for two occurrences. He lost.
But, he still has hope against Swiss re.
The buildings' owner, Larry Silverstein, won against three of the insurance companies in the trial -- Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group Plc, Hartford Financial Services Group's Twin City Fire Insurance Co. and Zurich Financial Services AG, representing about $176 million of coverage. The jury found that they didn't offer policies based on the form defining the attacks as one loss.
It's not over yet, though. Predicition? Settlement. Neither side can afford a losing a total victory.
Cell Phone Police In the CourtroomIn federal court the other day, the Marshall asked me whether my cell phone took pictures. Actually, it's a PDA, and it does. After waiting in line for 20 minutes, I got to return to my car to deposit my cell phone.
Arrrgh. Cell phone police.
Court stories about cell phones abound. Like the judge who orders ringing cell phones to be dropped out his courtroom's fifth story window (without the offending owner, thankfully).
Or my personal favorite, the bailiff who took a ringing cell phone and couldn't figure out how to turn it off, so he answered it.
It was a man on the other end," the bailiff said. "It wasn't clear to me whether he was trying to complete a drug or a prostitution deal. I said, 'Can I tell her who's calling?' and he hung up." Yeah, I know the story would have been better if the guy had given the bailiff his name and phone number, but you can't have everything, can you?
Of course, then there's the a stun gun that masquerades as a cell phone, and another cell phone that fires a .22-caliber long-rifle bullet.
I don't advise trying to take those through security.
Spam Canned or Canned Spammers?Here's the Michigan criminal complaint against four alleged spammers for violating the Can-Spam act.
Just in case you were wondering what one looks like.
Don't Mind Me, I'll Just Ignore YouIt was featured here when the case was just in its infancy before the Supremes decided Engine Manufacturers against the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The SCAQMD tried to bypass the preemption doctrines of the Clean Air Act by regulating the purchase of fleet cars, not the manufacture of the cars.
The Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia in particular, saw right through it. The basic message was that the Clean Air Act regulates manufacturing of cars, and without purchasing, manufacturing has no meaning. So, regulation of purchasing is regulation of manufacturing, and if that's what you're trying to do, then it's not going to work.
Now there's still room for wrangling yet, and you can bet we haven't seen the last of this case - especially with the SCAQMD saying "We are determined to continue implementing the rules for publicly owned fleets. We will also consider asking the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow us to continue to regulate privately owned fleets,” according to
Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Sounds to me like they haven't read the whole decision.