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Environmental brief ~ New Chesapeake Bay pollution regulations take effect

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's environmental law news, new water pollution standards designed to protect the Chesapeake Bay went into effect Monday. The Virginia regulations establish new limits on the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus that can be discharged by municipal sewage treatment plants and industrial facilities. The regulations were approved by the State Water Control Board [official website] and will be administered by the Department of Environmental Quality [official website]. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has more.

In other environmental law news...

  • Representatives of European Union [official website] countries reached an agreement Monday regarding the cleanup of pollution from old mining sites [official backgrounder]. Some eastern European nations had balked at the proposed version of the requirement, claiming it would affect them disproportionately. The new agreement will require an inventory and listing of all sites, but would only require the clean up of the most dangerous. EurActiv.com has more.

  • The Conservation Law Foundation [website] has filed an appeal in a case where the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources [official website] had refused to release all of its documents regarding industrial stormwater permit programs. The Agency responded that the documents were not subject to the Vermont Public Records Act [official backgrounder], claiming "deliberative process privilege," a widely recognized federal courts exemption, but one not cited in the Public Records Act. The privilege has not been reviewed by the Vermont Supreme Court. The Burlington Free Press has more.

  • The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality [official website] fined the city of Portland [DEQ press release] nearly $500,000 Monday for 67 cases of water pollution from sewage overflows over a four year period. Portland is currently in the process of constructing a new sewage and storm water system [project website] which may have resulted in the diversion of money and other resources from fixing problems in the existing system, leading to the increase in pollution overflows. DEQ officials report that the Environmental Protection Agency [official website] is also considering fining the city for the pollution overflows and for not filtering discharges from the city's underground sump system. The Oregonian has more.

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