Don't Forget: Winter CLE Blast Tomorrow!

Need CLE hours fast? We can help! The annual Winter CLE Blast is less than a day away. With this program, you can complete up to 11 hours of Dual CLE credit on your own time. Our registration desk will be open from 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 21, providing you the flexibility to create your own schedule and take as many or as few hours as you need. Payment will be determined at checkout depending on the number of hours you attend. 


  • Flexible to your schedule
  • Up to 11 Hours of CLE
  • Ethics Credits
  • Compliance CLE
  • Live Credit Hours

When: Feb. 21, registration begins at 7 a.m., CST

Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 4th Ave N., Nashville, TN 37219


read more »

Post-Forum Reception at TDEC

Don't forget, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in cooperation with the Tennessee Bar Association's Environmental Law Section will host an open house immediately following the Environmental Law Forum on Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. CDT in Nashville.
Don't miss this opportunity to meet leadership of the organization while networking with attorneys and professionals with a similar focus. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. More details and address information are available on the website. We hope to see you there!
read more »

TWRA Seeks Comment on 2018-19 Hunting Regulations, Elk Management Plan

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is seeking public comment on regulations for the 2018 – 2019 hunting season and its Strategic Elk Management Plan, which serves as a guide for the agency’s decisions regarding the elk program. This provides an opportunity for Tennesseans to offer ideas and share concerns about hunting regulations with the agency’s staff, as well as weigh in on the 10-year elk management plan that aims to address healthy populations, habitat and public involvement. All comments will be considered by TWRA staff and may be presented as proposals for regulation changes. 

2018-19 Hunting Season Comments can be submitted via email or in writing to the address below. The comment period will be open through Thursday, Feb. 15. If sending an email, include "Hunting Season Comments" in the subject line. 

TWRA, Wildlife and Forestry Division
P.O. Box 40747
Nashville, TN 37204
Comments for the Elk Management Plan will be accepted until Friday, Feb. 16 and can be submitted via email or in writing to the address below. If sending an email, include "Elk Plan Comments" in the subject line. 
Attn. Elk Plan Comments
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
3030 Wildlife Way
Morristown, TN 37814
read more »

DOI's Solicitor Defines Administration's Take on the Migratory Bird Protection Act Enforcement

A recent opinion from the office of the Department of Interior’s (DOI) solicitor has redefined how the current administration will address “incidental fatalities” pertaining to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Congress passed MBTA in 1918, in response to public outcry over the mass slaughter of birds. The law prohibits killing or harming America’s birds except under certain conditions, including managed hunting seasons for game species.
Under the new interpretation of the law, “incidental” fatalities that are not the purpose of an action, “even if they are direct and foreseeable results, are no longer subject to potential criminal prosecution.” A press release from Akin Gump on behalf of the DOI states the purpose of this new interpretation is to “provide welcome relief to companies that unavoidably kill migratory birds, sometimes even after efforts to mitigate take and to comply with industry best practices or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service voluntary guidelines.”
This decision has incensed some conservation advocates, such as the Audubon Society, who was instrumental in the passage of MBTA. The full memorandum from the U.S. Department of Interior is available here.
read more »

What's Happening in the World of USTs

There are approximately 555,000 underground storage tanks (UST) nationwide that store petroleum or hazardous substances. The greatest potential threat from a leaking tank is contamination of groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. Along with the EPA, state organizations work in partnership with industry to protect the environment and human health from potential releases.
At this year’s Environmental Law Forum, we will address what is happening in the world of underground storage tanks from both Tennessee Department of Energy and Conservation’s and Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association’s perspectives. This program will provide the opportunity to hear both viewpoints, along with updates from an interactive panel discussing the future of this ever-changing landscape.
To learn more and register for the forum, click here.
read more »

TDEC to Host Reception Following the Environmental Law Forum

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), in cooperation with the Tennessee Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section, will host an open house immediately following the Environmental Law Forum on Feb. 2.
TDEC manages Tennessee's state parks, the Tennessee Historical Commission and is legally responsible for the protection of Tennessee's air, water and soil quality. Currently, the Department has 14 divisions, overseeing programs for:
  • Air Pollution Control
  • Archaeology
  • Geology
  • Ground Water Protection
  • Internal Audit
  • Natural Heritage
  • Radiological Health
  • Remediation
  • Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
  • Underground Storage
  • Water Pollution Control
  • Water Supply
  • Recreational Services
  • Energy Oversight
Don’t miss this opportunity to meet leadership of the organization while networking with attorneys and professionals with a similar focus.
When: Feb. 2, 4 p.m., CDT
Where: Tennessee Department of Energy and Conservation, Tennessee Tower, 2nd Floor, 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave, Nashville, TN 37201
read more »

CLE Environmental Law Forum 2018

A CLE on environmental law will be held Feb. 2 at the Bar Center. Panelists from government, in-house, NGO, and private practice will discuss the scope of groundwater protection and jurisdiction, new regulations governing underground storage tanks, and the Clean Air Act's treatment of mobile sources, with specific focus on greenhouse gas emissions. 
read more »

Trees for All of Tennessee This Saturday

The Tennessee Environmental Council, with assistance from various sponsors, will plant 250,000 native tree seedlings across Tennessee. The 250K Tree Day project will be the largest tree-planting event in Tennessee history and is the largest tree-planting event in the United States, emphasizing the vision of "a Tennessee that embraces natural resources as the backbone of our communities, economy and quality of life for all present and future generations."  
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation aims to recruit 25 volunteers to assist with this project at Long Hollow State Park, where 200 trees will be planted and mulched. Morning coffee, refreshments, shovels and gloves will be provided. Supervised kids are welcome. To register and receive follow-up project details, email Jaclyn Mothupi, or call 615-770-6980.
For those in the Memphis area who would like to get involved in 250K Tree Day, the Wolf River Conservancy will host a tree planting event on the same day in Shelby Farms Park. Registration for this event can be done online using this link. To locate an event or distributor in your area, Tennessee Tree Project has provided this guide which lists all participating locations.
When: Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. CDT
Where: Long Hunter State Park, 2910 Hobson Pike, Hermitage, Tennessee 37076
read more »

Reminder: Environmental Law Forum Set for February

The Tennessee Bar Association will host the 2018 Environmental Law Forum in Nashville on Feb. 2. This program offers advanced topics of concern to Tennessee lawyers who seek to broaden their awareness on local, state and national environmental laws and related litigation practice.
Do not miss this opportunity to fulfill CLE obligations while networking with professionals sharing your focus. Section members receive a discounted rate for the program. Here's the key info: 
When: Feb. 2, registration begins at 8 a.m., CDT
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 4th Ave N., Nashville, TN 37219
Topics include:
  • Timely updates on legal issues involving groundwater, underground storage tanks, and automobile emissions
  • Groundwater protection and jurisdiction 
  • new regulations governing underground storage tanks
  • The Clean Air Act's treatment of mobile sources, with a specific focus on greenhouse gas emissions
Speakers/Producers include:
  • Lauran Sturm, TN Dept of Environment & Conservation
  • Ashley Ball, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Andy Binford, Tennessee Division of Remediation
  • Stan Boyd, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Raymond Coss, Nissan North America Inc
  • Emily LeRoy, Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association
  • Anne Passino, Southern Environmental Law Center

read more »

Thanks to Our Section Leaders

Thanks to the members of the 2017 - 2018 TBA Environmental Law Section Executive Council for their service to the section this year. In addition to the production of CLE programming for the members, the executive council meets regularly throughout the year to produce news to the members and the recent Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award Writing Competition. Thanks to all for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the TBA Environmental Law Section.
• Lauran Sturm, Chair
Tennessee Department of Environment & Convservation (Nashville)
• Jenny Howard, Vice-Chair
Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (Nashville)
• Willa Kalaidjian, Immediate Past Chair
Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. (Chattanooga)
• Robert "Jaz" Boon, Newsletter Editor
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP (Nashville)
• Bob Tuke, Secretary/Treasurer
Trauger & Tuke (Nashville)
• Elizabeth Alexander
Southern Environmental Law Center (Nashville)
• Gregory T. Young
Stites & Harbison PLLC (Nashville)
• Scott Thomas
Bass, Berry & Sims PLC (Nashville)
• Jim Lenschau
Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston, P.C. (Memphis)
• Randy Womack
Glankler Brown PLLC (Memphis)
• Robert McLean
Farris Bobango Branan PLC (Memphis)
• Ashley Lowe
Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC (Knoxville)
• David Higney
Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison, PC (Chattanooga)
• Rick Hitchcock
Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel P.C. (Chattanooga)
read more »

Thanks to Our Sponsor

Tioga is a Tennessee UST Approved Corrective Action contractor. Based in Memphis, the firm will assist with regulatory compliance, environmental assessments and remediation. Its mission is to make the world a cleaner and safer place each day. 

read more »

Vapor Intrusion Risks and Environmental Practices

The science of environmental assessment, remediation and risk assessment is continually evolving as the understanding of contaminant behavior and pathways for human exposure are better defined. Vapor intrusion, the migration of potentially hazardous vapors from groundwater or soil contamination into indoor spaces, has recently become a major focus for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) as it pertains to risk assessment for human exposure. 
Volatile contaminants, such as chlorinated volatile organic chemicals, petroleum hydrocarbons and other vapor forming chemicals, are generally soluble in water and can migrate considerable distances from the source of a release and create a vapor contamination issue at properties where there is no reason to believe an environmental risk would be present. Contaminated vapors can accumulate beneath the slab of a building and migrate into the ambient indoor air through preferential pathways such as cracks in the foundation and utility trenches and expose people in the building to health hazards. In Tennessee, successful completion of a vapor intrusion assessment under the direction of the Division of Remediation is often a requirement for a property in the TDEC Voluntary Clean-up, Oversight and Assistance Program or VOAP. Vapor intrusion assessments are also performed in response to complaints, spills, or as a component of other regulatory programs.
Initial United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance on vapor intrusion was released in 2002 and was adopted by many state environmental agencies. Two final policy technical guides were published by the EPA in 2015, one an update of the 2002 release and the other which specifically addressed petroleum vapor at leaking underground storage tank sites. Currently, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey and Ohio are among the states that have specific guidance for the assessment and remediation of vapor intrusion. Tennessee does not have state-specific vapor intrusion regulations but defers to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance for conducting environmental vapor intrusion assessments. Tennessee has also prepared a process flowchart to help investigators through the various steps of an investigation.
In the state of Tennessee, once it has been confirmed that a release has occurred and an existing building of concern has been identified, the first step is a sub-slab vapor assessment to determine if a risk is present by identifying whether an accumulation of hazardous sub-slab vapors exists. If there is no sub-slab vapor, there is no risk for vapor intrusion into indoor, ambient air. A sub-slab vapor assessment is performed by drilling through the slab of a building and installing a temporary or permanent sub-slab vapor monitoring point. Using this monitoring point, vapor samples are collected from beneath the slab of the building and analyzed for volatiles using EPA method TO-15. During the collection of sub-slab samples, a prescribed methodology for sample collection is used to ensure there are no leaks in the sample train and that ambient indoor air is not infiltrating the sampling system.
If a plume of sub-slab vapor is identified, the next step is to determine if a complete pathway between sub-slab vapor and indoor ambient is present. If sub-slab vapor exists without a complete pathway into indoor air, then there is no risk for human exposure. To determine if a complete pathway is present, a second round of sub-slab samples is collected along with concurrent indoor ambient air samples. While sub-slab vapor samples are, by regulation, not allowed to be collected for greater than thirty minutes, indoor ambient air samples are generally collected over a period of eight hours in a commercial setting. The sample time mimics the amount of exposure a worker would receive during a typical work shift. In residential settings, sample collection can run for up to 24 hours. 
If a complete pathway is identified, more sampling is required to determine if unacceptable vapor intrusion risks may exist to occupants or potential occupants of a site.  This sampling can include the collection of exterior soil gas near the foundation, sub-slab soil gas and indoor air sampling. Vapor intrusion conditions can vary seasonally due to rainfall, temperature and multiple other factors. For this reason, TDEC often requires sampling at multiple points during a year to develop a full picture of the potential for exposure.
Tennessee requires the use of the EPA Vapor Intrusion Screening Level (VISL) calculator to calculate screening levels for volatile constituents. These screening levels are compared with analytical results of the vapor intrusion investigation to determine the risk to human health. The concentration of vapor that is viewed as potentially hazardous to human health varies from state to state, as state-mandated inputs to this calculator can be different and some states have developed their own guidelines. As an example, the target indoor air concentration for trichloroethylene at a commercial facility (using specific parameters for exposure) may be 1.8 ug/m3 for long-term exposure in Tennessee compared with 8.8 ug/m3 in Indiana. While this may not seem like much, a study by Johnson et al. in 2003 identified that an exposure of just 2 ug/m3 could cause hazardous effects given a long-term dosage. This example illustrates that a very small amount of contaminated vapor can have lasting, perhaps deadly effects. Also, as more is learned about chemical exposure, new limits are being implemented. For example, a few states have begun to evaluate trichloroethylene for short-term exposure.
Identification of a complete pathway with concentrations that are potentially hazardous will most likely require some sort of action such as monitoring the establishment of institutional controls or remedial actions. Remedial actions for vapor intrusion can include methods like sub-slab depressurization, increased ventilation, installation of vapor areas (for new construction), building pressurization and more. 
If you are not familiar with vapor intrusion risks and environmental practices at the moment, you will be in the future. In predominately urban areas it is the most common method for the public to be exposed to environmental hazards. With proper assessment, identification and remediation of sub-slab and indoor ambient air vapor contamination, the risk to human health can be minimalized.  
Luke Hall PG, is a Geologist with Tioga Environmental Consultants, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee and a member of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists. Hall can be contacted at and (901) 791-2432.
Maggie Strom, QEP, CHMM, is the Founder and President of Tioga Environmental Consultants, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee. Strom can be contacted at and (901) 791-2432.
read more »

Part 1 of 2: A Primer on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs): The Changing Federal Landscape

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) are a widely used class of synthetic chemicals of emerging concern to human health and the environment. These chemicals repel oil and water from clothing, carpet, furniture, and cookware and are used to suppress fires. PFASs have been ubiquitously used in an aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) to extinguish hydrocarbon-based fires and in manufacturing processes related to photolithography, photographic coatings applications, electroplating mist suppressants and aviation hydraulic fluids. Rising levels of PFAS in the environment are a growing concern, and regulatory agencies in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia have developed guidelines related to this emerging contaminant class. If your clients currently use, or have historically used AFFF in emergency vehicles, at fire training areas, or in fire suppressions systems to fight fuel-based fires, if they have ever applied fluorosurfactants as part of their manufacturing process, or if they manage landfills or water treatment facilities that could be affected by PFAS used by others, you will want to understand and monitor the changing federal landscape around per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Despite the lack of federally promulgated rules around this class of chemicals, enforcement actions have occurred. 
The U.S. EPA (EPA) evaluates PFASs via the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). These persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals have been found in drinking water, groundwater, surface water, soil, and sediment, as well as in humans.
Safe Drinking Water Act
The EPA is evaluating two PFAS chemicals as drinking water contaminants, specifically perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). In 2009, the EPA published provisional health advisory (PHA) levels of 0.4 micrograms per Liter (μg/L) for PFOA and 0.2 μg/L for PFOS.
Subsequently, in May 2016, the EPA published lifetime health advisory (LHA) levels for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water at an order of magnitude lower than the previously published PHAs. The LHA levels are now set at 0.70 μg/L for individual or combined concentrations of both PFOA and PFOS. Although not promulgated as law, LHAs have been used for enforcement actions at various locations around the country.
The Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) under the SDWA also requires the EPA to develop a list of no more than 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored by public water systems once every 5 years. Its third UCMR list (UCMR 3) and the associated 2013–2015 monitoring resulted in the discovery of a number of high profile PFAS detections in drinking water. These drinking water detections, in some cases concentrations greater than the PHA or LHA, have resulted in agency enforcement actions, public outrage, and litigation despite the lack of federally mandated maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for these compounds.
Toxic Substances Control Act
Under TSCA, EPA has taken a series of regulatory actions since 2002  to address PFASs in manufacturing and consumer products. These actions included two Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) in 2002 to require premanufacturing notification of 88 PFAS chemicals (including imports) and allow continuation of their use for only a few specifically limited and highly technical applications where no alternatives were available. A SNUR in 2007 added 183 PFAS chemicals to these requirements. In 2013, EPA issued a rule requiring companies to report all “new uses” of certain PFOA-related chemicals in carpeting.
Lastly, in 2015, EPA proposed a SNUR to require manufacturers, processors, and importers of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals, including as part of articles, to notify EPA at least 90 days before starting or resuming new uses of these chemicals in any products.
In 2006, EPA also invited eight leading manufacturers of PFOA to join the PFOA Stewardship Program, eventually eliminating all PFOA manufacturing in the US by 2015. The only manufacturer of PFOS, 3M, eliminated manufacturing of PFOS in 2002. 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
Under CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund, EPA has developed guidance on risk-based screening levels for contaminated sites. EPA’s Regional Screening Levels (RSLs) remediation goal website   contains tables of risk-based screening levels for a range of contaminants and a screening level calculation tool to assist in developing or refining screening levels at CERCLA sites. 
Under the generic RSL table (June 2017), screening levels are the same for both perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) and perfluorobutane sulfonate: 1,300 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) for residential soil, 16,000 mg/kg for industrial soil, 400 μg/L for tap water, and 0.13 mg/kg for risk-based soil screening levels (SSLs) for protection of groundwater. Default screening levels for PFOA and PFOS are not published on the generic table but can be calculated using the RSL calculator .
Reaction at the State Level
There are nine states (Alaska, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont) that have promulgated PFAS criteria (primarily PFOS and PFOA) for the protection of groundwater, surface water, and/or drinking water. An additional five states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Minnesota, and Nevada) have developed guidance and screening levels for various PFAS. The Texas Center for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has developed screening levels for sixteen different PFASs. Vermont’s criteria are the lowest of all promulgated rules at 0.02 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg)  for PFOS, and New Jersey has the lowest criteria at 0.014 µg/kgfor PFOA and 0.013 µg/kg for PFNA, as recommended from their scientific advisory board. 
To learn more about this emerging class of chemicals and hear about specific case studies, stay tuned for the next TBA Environmental Law Section newsletter.
—Shalene Thomas (Derouard), PMP is the Emerging Contaminants Program Manager with Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc.  (Note, effective October 9, 2017, Amec Foster Wheeler has joined Wood, PLC).  Shalene can be contacted by email at or by phone at (612) 252-3697.
—Brad Glisson, CHMM is a Senior Environmental Scientist in the Amec Foster Wheeler’s Nashville, Tennessee office.  He can be contacted at and (615) 333-0630.  
read more »

Governor Approves Oak Ridge Property Transfer Under CERCLA § 120(h)

On April 18, 2017, Governor Bill Haslam signed an approval for a property transfer of 6.7 acres of the area known as K-1065 from the Department of Energy (DOE) to the non-profit Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee. K-1065 is part of East Tennessee Technology Park, Heritage Center (ETTP). 
This part of the Oak Ridge Reservation dates back to the World War II Manhattan Project, and from 1945-1985, the complex enriched uranium for the commercial nuclear power industry. In 1987, the Department of Energy (DOE) ended uranium enrichment operations, and in 1989 extensive demolition and cleanup of the property began.
The DOE has made significant progress in the demolition and cleanup, including the removal of all five former gaseous diffusion plants. To achieve DOE’s next goal, titled Vision 2020, it is working towards removing K-1037, the Poplar Creek Facilities, the Central Neutralization Facility, the TSCA Incinerator, and the centrifuge facilities.
The DOE’s goal for the property is to complete cleanup and transfer the whole ETTP Heritage Center property to a non-profit, the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, to bring the land back into productive use for commercial industrial operations. But since cleanup is not yet finished, CERCLA § 120(h) requires approval of both the EPA and the Governor before the land can be transferred through a Covenant Deferral Request. CERCLA, the Federal Facilities Agreement, and Tennessee’s Hazardous Waste Management Act require certain warranties, restrictions, and notices to be on a deed for any transfer where cleanup is not finished. These include:
  • Notice of the contaminant history and areas of concern. For the K-1065 area, there are several groundwater plumes, and the contaminants of concern include several volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethene (DCE), 1,2-DCE, 2-butanone, carbon tetrachloride, tetrachloroethene, and trichloroethene (TCE).
  • Land use restrictions based on the extent of contamination. In this case, the restrictions included limiting the property to industrial use, prohibitions on using the groundwater, vapor intrusion restrictions, and prohibitions on digging deeper than ten feet without TDEC, EPA, and DOE approval.
  • Warranties that DOE will still be responsible for continuing the corrective action after the transfer and remediation of any contamination that is found subsequent to the transfer.
  • Warranties granting the DOE access to the property to continue the cleanup.
  • Warranties that the DOE will submit federal budget requests to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to continue funding for the cleanup.
Industry is now leasing the property from the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, and the land is back in productive use. In June of 2017 DOE submitted another request to transfer another piece of the ETTP property, so the process is continuing. 
Additional Information / Sources:
Robert "Jaz" Boon is a Middle Tennessee Delegate for the Tennessee Bar Association's Environmental Law Section. Boon holds degrees from David Lipscomb University and the Belmont University College of Law.
read more »

Volunteers Needed for State Park Cleanup

Several Tennessee state parks are still in need of volunteers to assist with various volunteer initiatives. Areas of need include trail work, park beautification projects, or lending a hand with annual events.
Visit the Tennessee State Parks website to learn more about becoming involved and register for a project in your region.
read more »

Environmental Law Section to Sponsor Belmont Law's Energy and Environmental Law Society

In its most recent meeting, the TBA Environmental Law Executive Council voted to sponsor the newly established Belmont College of Law's Energy and Environmental Law Society. The society intends to offer a forum for both law students and professionals to discuss current and future issues involving environmental law.
Belmont Law School student and founding member Nikki Hashemian anticipates the group will expose students to this aspect of law and possible career paths in the field while forging a relationship among the school, area law firms and lawyers who share the practice area. 
The Energy and Environmental Law Society will host no fewer than four annual events, the first of which will feature a presentation by Environmental Law Section Chair Lauran Sturm. “The Environmental Law Section’s Executive Council enthusiastically supported the EELS sponsorship. We look forward to working with the EELS and are excited to promote the practice of environmental and energy law, especially in Tennessee,” said Sturm, who was instrumental in establishment of the project.
The initial presentation is to take place at the law school in January 2018. 
read more »

Safety Manager Destroyed Evidence of Kingston Fly Ash Danger to Workers

Three supervisors from the Kingston coal ash cleanup said in affidavits that they witnessed the safety manager on the project intentionally destroy evidence of dangerous levels of toxic chemicals, Knoxnews reports. Tom Bock worked for Jacobs Engineering, the government contractor tapped by TVA to manage the cleanup, and is now accused of allegedly destroying or altering results and knowingly endangering workers. Hundreds of the 900 cleanup workers are now sick and some have died. Many of the sick and survivors of the dead are suing Jacobs.  
read more »

TVA Will Appeal Ruling Over Gallatin Coal Ash Cleanup

The Tennessee Valley Authority filed a notice of appeal yesterday indicating that it will challenge an August court ruling ordering it to clean up coal ash at a Gallatin plant, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Previously, the TVA was found to have violated the Clean Water Act by storing coal ash in an unlined storage pond. The TVA argued that the coal ash’s effect on the environment was minimal. However, experts at the trial contended that by its own records, the TVA had leaked 27 billion gallons of coal ash into the Cumberland River over decades.
read more »

New Referee Appointed to Nashville Environmental Court

Judge Allegra Walker has appointed attorney Renard Hirsch Sr. as the new referee for the Nashville General Sessions Environmental Court, the Nashville Post reports. Hirsch has practiced for more than 30 years and also once served as an instructor at the Nashville School of Law. He is taking over for John Manson, who was appointed to become a night court judicial commissioner. Hirsch is coming into the job shortly after the creation of a new short-term rental complaint hotline, and as the Metro Council considers updates to short-term rental regulations.
read more »

TVA Estimates Gallatin Coal Ash Cleanup Will Take 24 Years

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said that it will take an estimated 24 years to comply with a court order to move a power plant’s coal ash, The Tennessean reports. In a filing from yesterday, TVA said it will start the cleanup process at a Gallatin plant within 30 days, barring a judge’s order. It’s still considering whether it will appeal a court ruling that ordered the cleanup, after its coal ash storage was found to be leaking pollutants into the Cumberland River.
read more »

Contractor in Coal Ash Lawsuit Wants TVA to Pay Legal Defense Bills

A contractor named in a lawsuit related to the Kingston coal ash spill wants to invoke a clause in its contract that would force Tennessee Valley Authority ratepayers to pay for the company’s legal defense, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Jacobs Engineering is accused of lying to workers about safety risks associated with working on the coal ash spill cleanup efforts, as well as denying workers protective gear and threatening their jobs if they persisted in asking for such gear. The TVA has not responded to whether it will foot the bill or not.
read more »

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Chattanooga, Electric Power Board

A Hamilton County judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a lighting company against the city of Chattanooga and the Electric Power Board, alleging that they conspired to block implementation of a new energy-efficient street lighting system, the Times Free Press reports. Circuit Court Judge J.B. Bennett ruled that the suit was not based on appropriate claims against a municipality and public officials. Bennett gave plaintiffs Global Green Lighting and its owner Don Lepard, 30 days to submit a new lawsuit.
read more »

Federal Judge Rules Against TVA in Coal Ash Lawsuit

A federal judge ruled on Friday against the Tennessee Valley Authority in a dispute over how it stores its coal ash near a Gallatin power plant, USA Today reports. The ruling comes after claims that the agency violated the Clean Water Act by storing coal ask in unlined storage ponds. The Southern Environmental Law Center argued the case on behalf of the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association and the Tennessee Clean Water Network. The ruling requires TVA to excavate the unlined ponds and store the coal ash in a safe, lined landfill.
read more »

DA: Probe Needed for Kingston Coal Ash Workers

A Roane County prosecutor is taking steps to launch a criminal probe of the treatment of workers in the nation’s largest coal ash spill, USA Today confirmed today in the Knoxville News Sentinel. Ninth Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson, whose district includes Roane County, is pushing for a state investigation following the paper's publication of its probe into the treatment of workers in the cleanup of the December 2008 coal ash spill at the TVA Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant.

read more »

Dozens of Sick, Dying Coal Ash Cleanup Workers Sue Company That Handled Spill

More than 50 sickened workers and the survivors of deceased workers are suing Jacobs Engineering, the California company that handled the cleanup of the 2008 Kingston Coal Ash Spill on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the complainants allege workers weren’t told to wear protective clothing or masks despite the highly toxic conditions they were working in and warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency. At least 17 workers from the site have died since 2008. The case is set for trial in 2018.
read more »