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Charlie is featured


In the News . . .

Our firm’s enforcement of environmental laws on behalf of people and the environment is regularly featured in the news nationwide. Here are some recent highlights.

Lawsuit claims dairy linked to Outlook flood violated Clean Water Act, Yakima Herald, April 12, 2017.
A Lower Valley dairy is being sued over claims that it has violated the federal Clean Water Act for years. Charlie Tebbutt, a Eugene, Ore., lawyer who represents plaintiffs, said “This has been a recurring problem for many, many years, even over a decade or more.” Tebbutt said he expected to work with the dairy to reach terms similar to a federal consent decree approved in recent years and that the manure problem extends across the industry. “Every one of these facilities is polluting, and they all need to change their practices,” he said.    Read the full story . . .

Friends, HDF dispute consent decree impact, The Garden Island, April 7, 2017.
Hawaii Dairy Farms has agreed to write a $125,000 check for streambank restoration and endangered species protection at the Makauwahi Cave Reserve. HDF has also been ordered to halt development, construction and ground-disturbing activities at the site of its proposed minimum 699-cow dairy on a 557-acre site in Mahaulepu Valley until proper permits are obtained.    Read the full story . . .

Newhouse bill would exempt dairy manure from waste regulations, ban some citizen lawsuits, Yakima Herald, April 4, 2017.
A congressional bill that would prevent animal manure from being regulated under federal solid waste regulations has farmers hopeful and environmentalists concerned. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, the bill, H.R. 848, would clearly exempt animal and crop waste and fertilizer from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, RCRA. In his bill, Newhouse contends a federal judge’s 2015 ruling that Yakima Valley dairies violated solid waste regulations for managing manure misinterpreted the Act. Congress never intended the act to govern animal or crop waste, manure or fertilizer, according to Newhouse. The bill also would prevent environmental groups from suing farmers who are working with state and federal agencies to address manure issues or engage in legal action with those agencies. Disagreeing with Newhouse’s view on Congress’ intent of the RCRA, environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt said the bill strips a needed defense tool from residents affected by concentrated animal feeding operations. “It is reprehensible that a U.S. congressman would seek to protect the interest of a few dairies over the interest and public health of thousands of people,” he said.    Read the full story . . .

'Ignored and overlooked': Some Outlook residents still waiting for assistance in wake of flood, Yakima Herald, March 10, 2017.
On February 28th a levee belonging to the DeRuyter Brothers Dairy facility broke, causing millions of gallons of manure-contaminated water to flood numerous homes in the vicinity of First St. in Outlook, WA. Manure contaminated water contains dangerous pathogens, such as E. Coli, fecal coliform, cryptosporidium parvuum, giardia, salmonella, campylobacter, and other pollutants that are extremely hazardous to human health and the environment. “The treatment that the people in Outlook have received is nothing short of reprehensible,” said attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who has represented groups challenging some of the environmental practices of Lower Valley dairy operations. “They’ve been ignored and overlooked. If this had been a flood in a more affluent area, these people would have been evacuated and taken care of immediately.”    Read the full story . . .

The Food We Breathe, The Food Chain, BBC World Service, March 9, 2017.
As part of the BBC wide #SoICanBreathe season, The Food Chain explores how the ways we grow and cook our food can affect how we breathe. From the indoor pollution generated by cooking, to how farming practices change the air for miles around, our food can have a big impact on how we breathe. Charlie Tebbutt is interviewed at 17:30 to 19:20 on dairy CAFO air pollution.     Listen to the interview . . .

BNSF Railway Ruling Lays Track for New Water Pollution Suits, March 6, 2017.
BNSF Railway Co. will clean up coal pollution along its tracks at five spots in Washington and fund $1 million for other environmental work. The Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary dodged possibly billions of dollars in penalties after it entered into a settlement which includes studying the feasibility of covering its rail cars to prevent coal from blowing into waterways. However, a 2016 ruling from District Court Judge Coughenour could prove to be the lawsuit’s lasting legacy, as Coughenour found that when coal blew or fell from the open rail cars into the water, the cars were a ‘‘discrete conveyance’’ under the Clean Water Act and thus constituted point sources of pollution. That finding is expected to drive similar lawsuits in the future. Charlie Tebbutt, attorney for environmental groups, said Coughenour’s ruling on the cars as a point source sends ‘‘an important message to the entire coal industry that they have to control their sources of pollution. If they don’t, they will be held accountable.’’    Read the full story . . .

Cow Palace sets industry standard with lining of first manure lagoon, Dec. 12, 2016.
Cow Palace Dairy, a large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in Zillah, Wash., began installation of state-of-the-art synthetic liners for the facility’s manure storage lagoons to prevent ongoing leakage of contaminants to groundwater. This comes as the Washington State Department of Ecology is set to finalize a CAFO General Permit that forgoes this proven, cost-effective protective measure in favor of knowingly contaminating drinking water for thousands of Washingtonians.     Read the press release . . .

BNSF to clean up hotspots, may cover train cars in agreement over coal dust, Bellingham Herald, Nov. 15, 2016.
BNSF Railway will study the use of physical covers for coal and petroleum coke trains as part of a tentative agreement reached with environmental groups that sued alleging that coal spilled from trains pollutes waterways in Washington state.     Read the full story . . .

Coal train pollution case against BNSF will go to trial, King 5 News, Oct. 28, 2016.
Environmentalists who claim coal trains pollute Puget Sound are celebrating a federal judge's decision to hear their case at trial.     Watch the video and read the full story . . .

Trial to decide if BNSF coal train pollution violates environmental law, Associated Press, Oct. 28, 2016.
A federal judge in Seattle has found that BNSF Railway could be held liable in a lawsuit claiming that coal spilled from trains pollutes waterways if environmental groups can show at trial that such discharges actually occurred.     Read the full story . . .

Friends of Maha'ulepu asks court to find proposed dairy violating Clean Water Act, Hawaii News Now.com, Sept. 14, 2016.
On September 12, 2016, attorney for Friends of Maha'ulepu Charlie Tebbutt presented oral argument asking a Federal District Court Judge to find that Hawaii Dairy Farms and its parent company, Ulupono Initiative, financed by e-Bay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, are violating the Clean Water Act. HDF has admitted that it constructed parts of its proposed project without the required NPDES permit for construction activities.     Read the full story . . .

Local environmental alliance has global reach, Register Guard, April 11, 2016.
The Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, or ELAW, facilitates cross-border collaboration between attorneys and scientists in 300 partner organizations in 70 countries. Many fruitful collaborations come from fellowships that bring promising environmental advocates to ELAW headquarters in Eugene. Recently, veteran environmental lawyer and ELAW associate Charles Tebbutt advised a visiting fellow. Tebbutt outlined how an effective lawyer influences regulatory policy: gather facts, build a record for appeal, connect through media and social networks, embarrass agencies that fail to do their jobs. “Protecting the world is not baby stuff. Victory takes time.”     Read the full story . . .

Clean drinking water coming to Lower Valley residents near dairy cluster, Yakima Herald, Sept. 23, 2015.
More Lower Valley residents living near dairies deemed an imminent threat to public health because of their manure management practices will finally have the opportunity for clean drinking water. Nuestra Casa, a non profit organization that provides educational and health services to immigrant women and leads community outreach efforts for cities and schools, has been contracted to coordinate the effort to give out bottled water and reverse-osmosis filtration systems as a result of the U.S. District Court settlement in May. “Getting the people in this community clean water has been one of the main objectives of the lawsuit from the beginning,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney representing the environmental group, commonly called CARE.     Read the full story . . .

House OK’s Newhouse move to shield dairies, Yakima Herald, July 8, 2015.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment from Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, that would prevent federal environmental authorities from targeting dairies and livestock yards under solid waste laws in the wake of a successful federal environmental lawsuit against Lower Valley dairies. The amendment to H.R. 2822, would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from spending any funds on issuing new regulations that apply to animal feeding operations. The amendment is a reaction to a U.S. District Court lawsuit filed by environmental groups against three dairies for contaminating groundwater with nitrates from poor manure management practices under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, the federal law that regulates solid waste. “It is shameful that a U.S. Congressman, who is supposed to represent the people, is instead kowtowing to an industry that has polluted thousands of people’s wells in the Yakima Valley and tens of thousands more nationwide,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney who represented the Granger-based group Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment.     Read the full story . . .

Dairy farmers must supply neighbors clean water, King 5 TV, June 19, 2015.
A 79-year old grandmother in central Washington may have changed the way dairies operate across the country. Helen Reddout noticed a change when nearby dairies started growing in the 1980s. "You just opened the door and there was a constant barrage of flies," she said. She also noticed a smell, and believed something more dangerous lurked under the ground. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of manure near her home in Washington, she believed, was contaminating the drinking water supply. After years of feeling sick, Reddout had her water tested and found it exceeded EPA guidelines for nitrates. It's when she started her legal pursuit to force the nearby dairies to change their waste disposal protocol. And now, In a landmark agriculture ruling, a federal judge defined cow manure and urine as "solid waste," rather than a nutrient as it's often referred to in the industry. The ruling confirms what she thought all along, that the cow waste is leeching nitrates into groundwater, posing "an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health," according to the ruling. "There's a balance in nature. What we've done has gone way past that balance," she said. Attorney for plaintiffs, Charlie Tebbutt, agrees "they've ignored the back end, literally, of the problem. It's the first decision of its kind in the country and it should transform the industry."     Read the full story and watch the video . . .

Conflict erupts over plan to detail Lower Valley dairy settlement, Yakima Herald, June 17, 2015.
Logistical and cultural hurdles have long dogged efforts to distribute clean water to residents with polluted wells in the Lower Valley. As part of a U.S. District Court lawsuit settlement, environmental groups and the three Lower Valley dairies that were defendants agreed to hire a neutral third party to organize and administer a program to get clean water to people who need it.     Read the full story . . .

HDF faces lawsuit, The Garden Island, June 3, 2015.
On behalf of Friends of Mahaulepu, environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt has filed a lawsuit alleging violations of the federal Clean Water Act on the part of those behind a proposed dairy in Mahaulepu Valley. The suit claims the backers of Hawaii Dairy Farms — a proposed $17.5 million, 576-acre operation — have and continue to violate federal water regulations by installing irrigation systems, wells and water troughs without a state stormwater construction permit. Specifically, the suit alleges that these ongoing construction activities are “reasonably likely to cause discharges of pollutants,” including dirt, debris, sewage sludge, rock and sand, into Waiopili Stream and other nearby waterways. “The fact that HDF is publicly saying one thing while violating the law by undertaking construction activities is a sign that this company is willing to do anything to try and get its way, and that is certainly not the way to proceed in Kauai,” said Tebbutt.     Read the full story . . .   Read the Complaint . . .

Yakima Valley dairies to change regulations over contaminated water, KIMA TV, May 12, 2015.
A deal is in place between Yakima Valley dairies, an environmental group and the federal government. It took two years and a lawsuit. "It's the beginning of taking the dairy industry out of the dark ages into close to modern times," said Charlie Tebbutt, attorney for the Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment (CARE). CARE and the Center for Food Safety went after the dairies and a judge agreed: the way manure is handled by dairies leads to contamination. As a result of the lawsuit, dairies now have to improve monitoring of nutrients and irrigation. "This sends the message out to the rest of the industry that it's time to change," Tebbutt said.     Read the full story and watch the video . . .

Lower Valley dairies settle final issues in federal case, Yakima Herald, May 12, 2015.
Three Yakima Valley dairies found to be posing an imminent threat to public health because of their manure-management practices have finalized settlement of a federal lawsuit described as a major turning point in the industry. Chief among the conditions: The dairies have agreed to double line their manure-storage lagoons and distribute bottled water or reverse-osmosis filters to a wider swath of neighboring residents than they already had been doing under previous binding agreements. Attorneys for both sides said the changes could set a national precedent for the operation of dairies and other concentrated animal feeding operations. “We hope this ushers in a whole new era,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney representing the Plaintiffs.     Read the full story . . .

Cow Palace Deal A Harbinger Of Increased Waste Scrutiny, Law360, May 12, 2015.
Environmentalists’ success in convincing a federal judge in Washington state that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act can be used to regulate the application of manure on the land at a dairy portends further citizen litigation and increased government regulation, experts say.     Read the full story . . .

Intent to sue filed over dairy, The Garden Island, March 13, 2015.
Oregon-based environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt filed a notice of intent to sue those behind the proposed $17.5 million, 578-acre dairy in Mahaulepu Valley for ongoing violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Tebbutt is representing the nonprofit group Friends of Mahaulepu in its fight to stop Hawaii Dairy Farms. The notice informs HDF that the Friends group intends to bring federal court action after a 60-day statutory period in response to preliminary site construction activities being done without the stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit required by law.     Read the full story . . .

Three Lower Valley dairies agree to plan to combat pollution, Yakima Herald, Feb. 18, 2015.
Facing more potentially negative federal court rulings, three Lower Yakima Valley dairy owners have agreed to line their manure lagoons, a costly safeguard against groundwater contamination that environmentalists have sought for years. The dairies also have begun talking about settling the pending federal court case with the environmental groups that sued them for allegedly fouling private wells with improper manure management. This widely watched case could set national precedents about how large animal operations handle manure. “Agreement to synthetically line lagoons is an important step in stopping ongoing pollution,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney representing one of the environmental group plaintiffs, Granger-based Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment, or CARE. “There are many steps that still must be taken to properly protect our drinking water, rivers and streams.”     Read the full story . . .

Oregon lawyer to assist in dairy dispute, The Garden Island, Feb. 12, 2015.
An Oregon-based environmental attorney who successfully represented a community group in Washington state in a lawsuit against an industrial dairy in Yakima Valley has agreed to represent Friends of Mahaulepu in its fight to stop the dairy proposed for Kauai’s Southside. “The damage that can be done by a facility of the size proposed is irreparable,” said attorney Charlie Tebbutt. “And in order to be smart we need to make sure that no irreparable harm is cause to Kauai’s sensitive and beautiful environment.”     Read the full story . . .

U.S Court says farms can be held liable for pollution from manure, Reuters, Jan. 16, 2015.
A U.S. federal court has ruled for the first time that manure from livestock facilities can be regulated as solid waste, a decision hailed by environmentalists as opening the door to potential legal challenges against facilities across the country. This is the first time the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which governs the disposal of solid and hazardous waste, has been applied to animal waste from a farm. Industrial livestock operations produce hundreds of millions of tons of manure annually. The district court said Cow Palace's excessive application transformed the waste, which is "an otherwise beneficial and useful product," into a discarded material. The court found that Cow Palace's management of its manure violated the "open dumping" provisions of law.     Read the full story . . .

Judge rules: Dairy polluted groundwater, Yakima Herald, Jan. 15, 2015.
In a wide-ranging ruling, a federal judge found that one of the Yakima Valley’s largest dairies, the Cow Palace near Granger, has polluted groundwater through its application, storage and management of manure, posing “imminent and substantial endangerment” to the public consuming the water and the environment. In a ruling that could set a national precedent for manure management, U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice of Spokane wrote: “Any attempt to diminish the Dairy’s contribution to the nitrate contamination is disingenuous, at best.” In addition, said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney representing CARE, which filed the suit, the ruling is the first in the nation to consider manure, when improperly managed, a solid waste under federal law.     Read the full story . . .

Environmental group wants to intervene in dairies’ suit against EPA, Yakima Herald, Dec. 2, 2014.
An environmental group suing several Lower Valley dairies over alleged pollution now wants to intervene in a related lawsuit that the dairies filed to prevent the federal government from releasing details of their operations. The information at stake — facility maps, numbers of cows, types of crops, waste lagoon information and soil tests — is considered by the dairies to be confidential business information. But Granger-based Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment, or CARE, believes the information should be publicly available so that neighbors can be aware of potential pollution risks. When the federal Environmental Protection Agency moved to make the data public, four dairies sued to prevent the release. “There’s a larger issue here that dairies, these dairies and all dairies in the state, are allowed to keep the very information that people need to protect themselves from public view,” Charlie Tebbutt, CARE’s attorney, said. “Right now, under state law, neighbors can’t get the critical information on whether or not these facilities are likely causes of pollution.”     Read the full story . . .

Eugene City Council Agrees to Buy 26 Acres as Open Space, Register Guard, Nov. 25, 2014.
Nearly 15 years of advocacy and a sizable chunk of cash will pay off for south Eugene residents who sought to preserve forested land near the Amazon Creek headwaters. The City Council on Monday evening unanimously voted to partner with the Be Noble Foundation on a $1.775 million purchase of 26 acres near Martin Street and West Amazon Drive in south Eugene. The city will contribute $1.125 million, the foundation $625,000 and the Lane County Audubon Society $25,000. “Future generations will be grateful to us for saving this land,” said south Eugene City Councilor Betty Taylor, who long had urged the council to buy the property.     Read the full story . . .    Read the press release including maps . . .

Nitrates, fecal coliform from dairies linked to tainted shellfish, tap water, KOMO News, Nov. 21, 2014.
Shellfish, swimming beaches, and the tap water for thousands of people in certain areas of Washington state are being contaminated by pollutants running off farms, and critics say dairy cows are the chief culprit. Government regulators are failing to halt that pollution largely because of insufficient laws, pressure from the agriculture industry and too little enforcement. Voluntary compliance and good intentions from many dairy farmers have not been enough to prevent dangerous contaminates generated by manure from getting into waters of Washington state. Only one percent of Washington's roughly 700 dairy farms - some with thousands of cows - have a permit to pollute, say state agencies.    Read the full story and watch the video . . .

Debate on Dairy Industry's Role in Increased Nitrate Levels Rages On, Magic Valley Times-News, Nov. 19, 2014.
Charles Tebbutt, attorney for the plaintiffs, nonprofits Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) and the Center for Food Safety Inc., said “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a two-year study of groundwater contamination in the Lower Yakima Valley, ultimately identifying the dairies as a major contributor. Results from the groundwater sampling have shown nitrate contamination over 200 ppm (parts per million), when the Safe Drinking Water Act safety standard is 10 ppm,” he said. “If failure to responsibly manage manure is common throughout the U.S., then these practices need to change so that innocent families, including infants and the elderly who are most susceptible to the contamination, do not continue to have their lives and property polluted by industrial-sized dairies that put profit over people’s health.” “Manure is not an issue.” responded Marv Patten, dairy bureau chief for the Idaho Department of Agriculture.     Read the full story . . .

Lawsuit against Yakima Valley dairies expands, Yakima Herald, Oct. 7, 2014.
A federal judge has allowed environmentalists to add one individual and several companies as defendants in the case that accuses the dairies of allowing cow manure to contaminate groundwater with nitrates, phosphorus, heavy metals and pharmaceuticals. The development means that if the court agrees with the plaintiffs, the owners of the affiliated properties, not just the dairy corporations, could be held accountable for the pollution, said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney representing the environmentalists. “It’s important that all the owners of the dairy properties be involved so they can’t play corporate shell games,” Tebbutt said.     Read the full story . . .

Oregon Not Prepared For Major Oil Spills, Eugene Weekly, Sept. 11, 2014.
With the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico setting the cautionary example, here in the Northwest, lessons from the spill still have not sunk in — Oregon’s waters and habitats are up against a massive influx of oil shipments and a potential catastrophe we are not prepared for. On Sept. 3, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Columbia Gorge filed a notice of intent to sue to update and improve oil spill response in the Northwest. According to local attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who sued BP over the Deepwater Horizon spill, “It seems obvious, proper emergency planning should be done before a disaster hits, not after,” and he calls the BP disaster “an example of what not to do.”
Read the full story . . .

Judge allows dairy lawsuit to expand to other contaminants, groundwater, Yakima Herald, Feb. 7, 2014.
A federal judge has agreed that pharmaceuticals, phosphorus and hard metals, not just nitrates, can be included as potential pollutants in a contentious environmental lawsuit against five Yakima Valley dairies. “This decision is important because the Court will accept the data that manure contains pollutants, including antibiotics and hormones, other than just the dangerous levels of nitrates that make their way into the groundwater used by people as drinking water and into streams and rivers that fish and wildlife are dependent upon,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney representing the environmentalists.     Read the full story . . .
Other related stories:
Feb. 8, 2014
Feb. 13, 2014

BNSF Can't Escape Suit Over Coal Spillage From Railcars, Law360, January 3, 2014.
A federal judge in Washington state refused to toss a suit accusing BNSF Railway Co. of polluting the state’s waterways by allowing coal to escape from railcars, saying plaintiffs led by the Sierra Club deserve a chance to flesh out their claims. U.S. District Judge Lonny R. Suko issued an order rejecting the railway operator’s argument that many of the plaintiffs’ claims exceeded the scope of the Clean Water Act because they related to coal materials discharged initially onto land, rather than directly into water. The Sierra Club, represented by the Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt and others, hailed the decision, calling it a "major victory."     Read the full story . . .

More Carbon than Keystone: Peabody Energy and Warren Buffett Ship Coal to China, Washington Spectator, Nov. 1, 2013.
The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal in Washington state will connect the strip mines of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to coal-fired electricity plants in China and is anticipated to export 48 million metric tons each year. Not only will Washington residents be affected by nearly uncontrollable coal dust at the Terminal - all residents along the railway from Wyoming will be affected by coal dust as the coal is transported. According to the carrier Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad’s testimony at hearings before the Surface Transportation Board, each rail car loses an average of 500-3,500 lbs. of coal dust. Coal trains are composed of approximately 120 rail cars, resulting in an average of 60,000-420,000 lbs. of coal per train each trip. In July the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and six regional environmental groups sued the BNSF railroad under the Clean Water Act. Plaintiffs allege that BNSF is violating the Clean Water Act because dust ends up in waterways along the rail bed. “The point sources are the rolling stock,” said Charlie Tebbutt, a Eugene, Oregon, attorney who filed the suit. “The Clean Water Act requires them to have permits if they are discharging pollutants. And they don’t.”
Read the full story . . .

Conservation group seeking to identify pollutants released during 2010 BP oil spill asks for own trial, Louisiana Record, Sept. 17, 2013.
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is part of a larger a larger lawsuit brought against BP and Transocean in 2010 shortly after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon that initiated the largest offshore oil spill in history. Although the overall case was dismissed, earlier this year the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found the dismissal of the CBD’s individual claim to be improper. In that claim, CBD’s attorneys sought that the names of specific pollutants released in the Gulf be revealed and that the public living in coastal areas be warned of any known health risks stemming from exposure to those pollutants. CBD is represented by the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C.
Read the full story . . .

Dairy lawsuits can proceed to trial, federal judge rules, Yakima Herald, June 22, 2013.
A federal judge has decided environmental lawsuits against five Yakima Valley dairies for alleged groundwater pollution can go to trial. In a 24-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice denied a motion by the dairies to dismiss lawsuits. “Judge Rice agreed with CARE on all major issues,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney representing the Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment, or CARE. “We look forward to proving our case on the facts. The facts undeniably show that not only these dairies but the other dairies in the Valley are causing a severe threat to human health and the environment.”     Read the full story . . .

Missouri Lawyer Brings Nuisance Claims to Fracking Arena, Bloomberg, June 11, 2013.
Six Pennsylvania families who sued Chevron Corp. (CVX) and units of The Williams Companies Inc. and WPX Energy Inc. (WPX) over hydraulic fracturing-related claims have turned to a Missouri lawyer who has used nuisance allegations to win cases against commercial animal feed operations. Nuisance suits are based in part on the loss of such use and enjoyment of property, often through noise, odors or vibration, as opposed to physical damage like poisoned water. “I call them quality-of-life lawsuits,” said the attorney for the families, Charlie Speer. Charlie Tebbutt, an environmental attorney in Eugene, Oregon, said in an interview about the agricultural factory cases, “Charlie Speer has definitely taken it to a new level by bringing them more systematically. Charlie has specialized in these kinds of cases.”     Read the full story . . .

Opposing sides argue positions in groundwater pollution case, Yakima Herald, June 8, 2013.
Whether cow manure is a dangerous waste or a useful product was the issue as lawyers descended on the federal courthouse in Yakima for the first hearing in an environmental lawsuit that has attracted national attention. In February, CARE sued five Yakima Valley dairies under federal solid waste laws, contending their methods of handling manure are so insufficient they amount to open dumping and the contamination of thousands of private drinking water wells — contamination that has been verified by numerous studies. Attorney Charlie Tebbutt, based in Eugene, Ore., argued that dairies are in business to produce milk, not fertilizer, and therefore are responsible for the waste that has contaminated groundwater.     Read the full story . . .

Environmental Groups Sue Railway And Coal Companies For Clean Water Act Violations, Northwest Public Radio, June 5, 2013.
Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court against BNSF Railway and several coal companies. The groups say that the rail and coal companies are violating the Clean Water Act by allowing coal to escape from trains that travel through the region. Charles Tebbutt is the lawyer representing the groups. "The main issue here is that every train that goes through today, yesterday, tomorrow, has discharged and will continue to discharge coal and each and every discharge is illegal," Tebbutt says.     Read the full story . . .

SMA, PacifiCorp reach settlement on Silver Bell tailings, deal sets out plan of monitoring, amending tailings impoundment, Telluride Daily Planet, March 28, 2013.
Telluride environmental organization Sheep Mountain Alliance (SMA) and Oregon-based utility company PacifiCorp have reached a settlement agreement over the Silver Bell tailings impoundment, an old tailings site that was found leaking pollutants into a tributary of the San Miguel River. The agreement, which was reached collaboratively between the parties, lays out a plan of monitoring and improving the remediation at the site, and calls for PacifiCorp to donate $150,000 to a local watershed restoration project. SMA was represented by the law offices of Charlie Tebbutt. Read the full story . . .

Oregon: Groups Give Notice of Suit Over Coal Dust, New York Times, April 2, 2013.
An environmental coalition on Monday charged that coal and coal dust spilled from railroad hoppers is polluting the scenic Columbia River Gorge, and pledged to sue mining companies and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad if they do not halt the spills.     Read the full story . . .

BNSF Railway, Coal Shippers Receive Notice of Intent to Sue for Coal Contamination in Waterways. Coal export proposals would worsen existing water pollution.
The Sierra Club and its partners, represented by the Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt, sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) and several coal companies for violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The Sierra Club, Puget Soundkeeper, Columbia Riverkeeper, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge have found evidence that the companies are responsible for emitting coal into waterways in many locations across Washington. By BNSF’s own figures, the four daily coal trains travelling through Washington heading to Canada or to the state’s last remaining coal plant combine to lose a staggering 120 tons of coal dust per day. Local residents and conservation groups are concerned that the problem will only worsen if coal companies receive approval to move forward with their hotly contested plan to develop five coal export sites in Washington and Oregon, which could send an additional 60 trains through Washington daily.    Read the Oregonian article, April 2, 2013 . . .       Read the press release . . .

Five Valley Dairies Agree to Reduce Nitrate Levels, Yakima Herald, Mar. 6. 2013.
Five Yakima Valley dairies located north of Granger have agreed to take a number of steps to reduce nitrate levels in groundwater under a legally binding agreement with the federal government that also requires them to assure their neighbors have safe drinking water. Critics of dairy practices and the way the facilities are regulated said the agreement only reinforces the use of failed strategies that will not solve the contamination and will continue to put Lower Valley residents at risk, according to Charlie Tebbutt, a Eugene, Ore., environmental attorney. “If any other industry were doing what this industry is doing, they would be required to remediate and if they couldn’t prove they would stop contaminating, they would be shut down,” Tebbutt said. “The dairy industry is being given a free pass to continue to contaminate.”     Read the full story . . .

Environmental groups sue 4 Lower Valley dairies in federal court, Yakima Herald, Feb. 15. 2013.
Outlook-based Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment, or CARE, and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Food Safety, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court against four dairies for manure-handling practices they say constitutes “open dumping” and violating three federal statutes that require reporting the release of hazardous chemicals. In October, the groups sent notices of intent to sue to the dairies, starting a 90-day clock to give the facilities a chance to change their operations, namely by lining manure storage lagoons and limiting the application of fertilizer, including liquid manure. “The main objective is changing the practices,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the Eugene, Ore., attorney representing CARE, which the groups allege contaminate drinking water. The suits also allege the dairies are in violation of federal law requiring them to report the release of hazardous airborne pollutants, including ammonia, to various state and federal agencies.
Read the full story . . .         Read the press release . . .         Read the Cow Palace Complaint (8 MB)

Court revives call for BP oil spill pollutant list, Associated Press, Jan. 11, 2013.
A federal appeals court has revived an environmental group's lawsuit to make BP PLC list the amount and type of every pollutant that got into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 oil spill. But it upheld a judge's decision that the rest of the Center for Biological Diversity's lawsuit became legally irrelevant when BP capped the well. Read the full story . . .

Bison Group’s Victory Affects All U.S. Public Records Requests, Environment News Service, Jan. 3, 2013.
The nonprofit bison advocacy group Buffalo Field Campaign and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have reached a settlement that requires the agency to process and respond to Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, requests from citizens nationwide in a “timely” manner. "Prompt public access to government records is a necessary ingredient for a healthy, transparent democracy,” says Daniel Snyder, an attorney with the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C. who represented Buffalo Field Campaign in its lawsuit. “Timely access is even more critical here, where the records sought by Buffalo Field Campaign illuminate the federal government's deplorable treatment of Yellowstone's threatened wild buffalo population. The new procedures APHIS must implement nationwide as a result of this lawsuit should result in the punctual disclosure of records requested by the public."
Read the full story . . .         Read the press release . . .

Environmental groups look to sue dairies over groundwater, Yakima Herald, Oct. 19, 2012.
Environmental groups say they will sue five Lower Valley dairies in federal court for allegedly contaminating local drinking water supplies unless the operators take steps to stop the contamination "and begin to make amends for the damage they have already caused." The environmentalists have enlisted Public Justice, a public interest law firm with a network of trial attorneys across the country, and longtime Eugene, Ore., environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt. Read the full story . . .

EPA report points at dairies as likely source of nitrate contamination, Yakima Herald, Sept. 28, 2012.
A long-awaited federal study released by the Environmental Protection Agency points at five Yakima Valley, WA dairies calling them "likely" sources of nitrates contaminating residential drinking water wells. The 307-page report concludes action is needed, but that it could take years to reduce nitrate levels in the wells to safe levels due to the extent of contamination in the Lower Valley. The EPA sampled 331 wells and found 20 percent had nitrate levels above federal drinking water standards. The report singles out five dairies, including several whose lagoons it estimates have leaked between 4 and 44 millions of gallons of manure wastewater into the underlying soil and aquifer each year. The study reserved the strongest blame for dairies, naming Haak Dairy, and a cluster of others — George DeRuyter and Sons Dairy, Cow Palace, Liberty Dairy and Bosma Dairy, located north of Granger. Read the full story . . .

Headwaters of the Amazon Saved, Again, Eugene Weekly, Sept. 27. 2012.
This week Southeast Neighbors announced that an independent land use hearings official in Eugene has rejected a proposal to construct the 75-lot Deerbrook PUD (planned unit development) in the sensitive Amazon headwaters. According to Dan Snyder, attorney for Southeast Neighbors, there are many inherent problems with developing the property, from the presence of the headwaters to the steep slopes. Snyder says another key point is that “it is the Amazon headwaters, an outstanding natural resource that the city should be protecting, not turning over to the developers to turn into upper-scale homes.” Read the full story . . .
Eugene Weekly, Sept. 27, 2012

KLCC, Sept. 25, 2012

Charlie Tebbutt in the newsHappening People - Charlie Tebbutt, Eugene Weekly, April 12, 2012.
After graduation from SUNY Albany, Charlie spent five years working with the group Save the River to protect the St. Lawrence River. “I realized I needed more tools to be effective as an activist,” says Tebbutt, who entered Syracuse Law School, got his degree in 1987, then joined the Atlantic States Legal Foundation, suing corporations for violating environmental regulations. “It’s what I do today.”
Read the full story . . .

PNM reaches settlement with Sierra Club, lawsuit centers on threat of coal ash contaminating San Juan River, Associated Press, March 28, 2012.
A two-year legal battle over the disposal of millions of tons of coal combustion waste in northwestern New Mexico is on the verge of settlement with a $10.2 million agreement announced by the Sierra Club, a BHP Billiton mining company and the state's largest electric utility. The settlement calls for about $8 million to be spent on structures that would prevent any contaminants from reaching the San Juan River as well as other environmental remediation projects. Read the full story . . .

Ag officials dispute conflict of interest concerns over dairy oversight, Yakima Herald, March 28, 2012.
A federal judge's stern rebuke of a Royal City dairy that violated an agreement to clean up its manure-management practices contrasts with the high marks state agriculture inspectors gave the same facility, raising questions about the thoroughness of state inspections, long criticized by environmental activists. The widely divergent views of the dairy and its manure-management practices raise an old question: Can the Agriculture Department fulfill its twin statutory goals of promoting agriculture while also protecting the public? Environmentalists say it's the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse. Agriculture officials say they can do both. Read the full story . . .

Idaho High Court Hears Big Sky Farms Lawsuit Appeal, Twin Falls Times-News, Feb. 12, 2012.
Five years have passed since a 13,000-animal feedlot in eastern Jerome County was proposed, spawning a battle between a private developer and supporters of a national historic site who called into question whether the county followed its own rules when originally granting the permits for the feedlot. Eugene, Ore., attorney Charlie Tebbutt told the court the county failed to follow its own ordinances in approving the proposal, and even changed its policy to thwart due process for people who hoped to testify against the feedlot. Read the full story . . .

Judge: Royal City dairy contaminated water, Seattle Times, Jan. 5, 2012.
A federal judge has ruled that an Eastern Washington industrial dairy that has been the subject of air and water pollution complaints for years consistently applied excessive amounts of manure to neighboring fields, causing or contributing to groundwater contamination in the area. Read the full story . . .

Study connects large-scale dairies, feedlots to increased air pollution, Yakima Herald, Dec. 16, 2011.
A recent scientific study that took place in the Yakima Valley has linked large-scale dairies and animal feed lots to air pollution. "This study is one among a growing body of evidence that air pollution from large dairies and other concentrated animal feeding operations pose as much or even more health risks than the issues of both surface and groundwater," said attorney Charlie Tebbutt. Read the full story . . .

Environmental group wins judgment, judge awards Eugene-based E-LAW $33,000 in
ELAW's Victory over Chevroncompensation in a legal challenge involving Chevron,

Register Guard, Dec. 8, 2011.
A small local environmental organization has successfully stared down the world’s 10th-largest corporation — Chevron — in a legal battle. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ruled last week that Chevron has made “unduly burdensome” demands for potential evidence from Eugene-based E-LAW — the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide. The judge also found that “harassment” seemed at least part of Chevron’s motive for serving E-LAW Executive Director Bern Johnson with a legal order that required him to submit to a day of questioning under oath by Chevron lawyers. Read the full story . . .

EPA meets court deadline for pesticide general permit, industry still keen on legislative fix, Pesticide & Chemical Policy, Nov. 4, 2011.
""These permits will reduce pesticide use with benefit to human health and the environment and without duplicative regulation because FIFRA and the Clean Water Act are fundamentally different statutes that do fundamentally different things,” says attorney Charlie Tebbutt."
Read the full story . . .

Residents Object to Aerial Spray, Eugene Weekly, Sept. 15, 2011.
A recent helicopter spraying of toxic herbicides by Giustina Land and Timber has upset nearby residents who say the company ignored a request to notify them 12 hours in advance. “Chemical invasions of people’s bodies and homes should not be allowed in Oregon,” says Eugene attorney Charlie Tebbutt who delivered a letter to the company asking Giustina to refrain from aerial spraying and asking for a dialogue about the spray with the community. Read the full story . . .

Pesticide Industry Ramps Up Lobbying in Bid to Pare EPA Rules,
New York Times, February 24, 2011.
“The pesticide industry is applying extra doses of lobbying in an effort to eradicate federal requirements it considers harmful. "They have a lot of power," said Charlie Tebbutt, an attorney who has represented environmental groups in lawsuits where pesticide groups sought exemption from Clean Water Act rules. "The public needs to know what they're doing behind the scenes here. What they're doing is against the public interest."”   Read the full story . . .

Clean Water vs. Pesticides, Repubs vs. Dems, Eugene Weekly, February 24, 2011.
“The meeting was made up of the Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture, Committee on Agriculture; and the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The hearing was called to discuss H.R. 6273, a bill which would which would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to exempt the application of pesticides from certain permit requirements under the Clean Water Act.”  
Read the full story . . .

GULF SPILL: Justice Department lawsuit against BP imminent, Greenwire, December 15, 2010.
"The Obama administration is finally ready to pull the trigger on its long-awaited lawsuit over the massive Deepwater Horizon spill. Charles Tebbutt, an attorney with the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, which has filed its own lawsuit against BP and Transocean, said the case was "a slam-dunk on liability.""  Read the full story . . .

Tests warned of cement problems before well's blowout; BP and Halliburton were aware of them but used it anyway, Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2010.
"Weeks before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, oil company BP and subcontractor Halliburton were aware of test results showing that the cement mixture designed to seal the well was unstable — but they used it anyway, President Obama's special commission investigating the environmental disaster reported Thursday. Legal experts said the information could bolster plaintiffs' cases in the multitude of spill-related lawsuits by helping to show that BP acted with gross negligence leading up to the spill. "There's no question that it's important evidence," said Charlie Tebbutt, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which has filed a lawsuit seeking $19 billion under the Clean Water Act. "It serves to confirm the previous reports of significant problems with the exploration and production of the well."  Read the full story . . .

Epic legal battle over oil spill is about to begin, Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2010.
“Charlie Tebbutt, a Eugene, Oregon attorney representing the Center for Biological Diversity in its suit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act, said he was pursuing the maximum penalties against BP and Transocean of $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled into the gulf. He estimates the bill could be $20 billion, "if we can prove gross negligence or willful misconduct, which we expect should be relatively easy to prove in this case.”   Read the full story . . .

Lawsuit Seeks $19 Billion in Clean Water Act Penalties From BP, June 18, 2010.
“The government has yet to take any criminal or civil actions against BP,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We filed this suit to ensure BP is held accountable for every drop of oil and pollution it has released into the Gulf of Mexico. We can’t bring back dead sea turtles, dolphins and whales, but we can ensure BP is penalized to the full extent of the law for causing the worst environmental disaster in American history.”   Read the full story . . .

Local Lawyer Files BP Lawsuit, June 10, 2010.
The Center for Biological Diversity and local attorney Charlie Tebbutt filed a notice of intent to sue BP under the Clean Water Act. Tebbutt says, “We hear a lot about the oil but not the massive amounts of toxic chemicals in the oil. BP knows which and how much of these toxic substances are in the oil but hasn’t made that public. Residents and clean-up workers are exposed to these toxic compounds without knowing what they are and how much they are breathing,” he says.   Read the full story . . .

Judge Hears Argument in Minidoka Lawsuit, April 29, 2010.
Charlie at Minidoka At last week’s hearing on the merits of the case, our attorney, Charlie Tebbutt, presented a compelling argument on behalf of preservation of the National Historic Site. Tebbutt concisely summarized the serious procedural irregularities in the County’s review process that led to approval of the largest animal feeding operation in Jerome County history.  Read the full story . . .

PNM, San Juan Coal Sued over Coal Ash Dumping, April 8, 2010.
The Sierra Club filed suit against the San Juan Coal Company and PNM, alleging that the dumping of ash and sludge from the power generating station into unlined pits is polluting the groundwater and causing damage to human health, livestock and wildlife.  Read the full story . . .

Supremes Say No To Pests, February 25, 2010.
Pro-pesticide forces met with defeat Feb. 22 in their attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the application of pesticides to waterways without a Clean Water Act permit.  Read the full story . . .

Court Pass on Pesticide Dispute Alarms Industry, February 25, 2010.
Up until now, agriculture has taken a "Wild West" approach to applying pesticides, with regulations allowing applicators to "shoot first and ask questions later," said Charles Tebbutt, an attorney representing the Baykeeper environmental group.  Read the full story . . .

Interview with Animal Factory author David Kirby and Charlie Tebbutt on KLCC Public Radio, February 24, 2010.
Hear radio interview with Animal Factory author David Kirby and Charlie Tebbutt on KLCC Public Radio. Kirby will keynote at the 28th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Oregon School of Law, Saturday, February 27, 7pm.  Listen to the interview . . .

Legal questions abound over pesticide inert ingredient disclosure, February 22, 2010.
Although pesticide manufacturers must currently disclose to EPA the inert ingredients in their products, the agency generally does not require those ingredients to be listed on the product label.  Charlie Tebbutt, an environmental lawyer . . . says “The public is the last to know — disclosure would allow them to make more informed choices.”  Read the full story . . .

Coalition Asks EPA to Regulate Greenhouse Gases and Other Toxic Air Pollutants From Factory Farms, September 21, 2009.
A coalition of environmental and public health organizations filed a legal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to regulate air pollution from factory farms. "The people who live in the communities devastated by unregulated air pollution from animal factories deserve protection" said Charlie Tebbutt.  Read the full story . . .

Editorial Sketchbook: Celebrating safer, cleaner air in Oregon's field burning Sacrifice Zone, August 13, 2009.
More than 200 guests came from all over Oregon's Sacrifice Zone -- small communities like Junction City, Harrisburg, Alvadore, Coburg and Brownsville -- to celebrate their historic legislative victory. They had been the backbone of a citizen campaign to persuade Oregon lawmakers to put an end to a half-century of open burning of grass seed fields in the southern Willamette Valley. 
Read the full story . . .

Dairies' discharge at issue in court, Yakima Herald, January 14, 2009.
If the state doesn't look for groundwater contamination by dairies and other large-scale animal farms, it won't find any. But studies show it's there. That's how attorney Charlie Tebbutt summed up his arguments Tuesday before the state Court of Appeals.  Read the full story . . .

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