Recently, lawyers from Philadelphia’s Environmental Practice Group attended the Pennsylvania Environmental Law Forum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Organized by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the annual Forum includes educational presentations by experienced practitioners along with networking events.

Jillian Kirn gave a presentation on cooling water intake structures commonly used by industrial facilities, such as power plants, and the requirements of EPA’s “Phase II” rule issued under § 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, which regulates existing large facilities.  The objective of the § 316(b) regulations is to minimize fish mortality, a common byproduct of water intake.  Under the “Phase II” rule, covered facilities are required to perform studies to analyze their effect on aquatic populations and implement controls which are found to represent the best available technology.  The extent of controls required at an individual facility depends on the facility’s size, the nearby aquatic population, and the cost of implementing various technologies.  Just over one thousand existing facilities are subject to the rule, and the means of compliance are expected to vary based on site-specific factors.

In addition to Kirn’s presentation, Caleb Holmes gave an update on CERCLA litigation.  Holmes’ panel also included an update on the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program (“HSCA”), Pennsylvania’s state Superfund statute.  David Mandelbaum served on the Forum’s Planning Committee and moderated a round-table discussion on ethics.