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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.

Washington court rules in favor of conservation groups in fight over cattle lots and groundwater, KNKX, July 7, 2021.
It’s back to the drawing board for state regulators, after the Washington Court of Appeals ordered the Department of Ecology to rework permits for confined animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs. A panel of judges ruled that current waste discharge permits don’t adequately protect groundwater and don’t take climate change into account. Conservation groups are calling the ruling a “watershed moment for the entire state of Washington.” “Time is of the essence. Ecology has been dragging its feet for decades, and now it’s time for them to take responsibility and protect the people of Washington,” said Charlie Tebbutt, lead attorney for the conservation groups, including Friends of Toppenish Creek, Puget Soundkeeper and the Sierra Club.  Read the full story . . .

State appeals court orders Ecology to strengthen CAFO permit requirements, Yakima Herald Republic, July 1, 2021.
The Washington State Court of Appeals has ordered the state Department of Ecology to rewrite its confined animal feeding operation permits, saying they don’t protect groundwater. The court’s decision overturns an earlier one by the state’s Pollution Control Hearing Board, which upheld Ecology’s permits. Environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt said that for years, his clients have argued for groundwater monitoring, something Ecology’s own scientists have suggested. “One of the main points was that Ecology ignored its own scientists about the need for groundwater monitoring,” Tebbutt said. “That is an argument we have been making to Ecology and the PCH since 2005.”  Read the full story . . .

Wash. Court Finds Water Permits For Dairy Farms Inadequate, Law360, June 30, 2021.
Conservation groups secured a victory in their challenge against waste discharge permits used by dairy farms in Washington after a state appeals court found the approvals don't provide adequate protections to ensure excessive manure runoff doesn't pollute nearby water sources. Charlie Tebbutt, lead counsel for the conservation groups, said "The courts of the state of Washington have finally recognized the devastation that industrial dairies have wrought upon the people of this great state. It is long past time for Ecology and the governor to take responsibility for protecting the people from this rampant pollution, which two federal judges in Washington have previously found to be taking place based on actual site information." A brief summary from the decision: "We hold that (1) the permit conditions meet AKART requirements for animal pens and corrals, but not for existing manure lagoons or composting areas, (2) the permit conditions do not protect all covered activities from violating water quality standards, (3) monitoring beyond the soil sampling and visual inspections required by the permits is necessary to ensure compliance, (4) the combined permit fails to make site-specific information regarding how a CAFO will comply with permit requirements available for public comment and review as required under federal regulations, (5) Ecology had a responsibility pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), ch. 43.21C RCW, to consider the effects of climate change before issuing the permit, and (6) the T-SUM 200 standard for field application satisfies AKART requirements as applied to Eastern Washington."  Read the full story . . .    Read the press release . . .   Read the decision . . .

Environmentalists sue over Florida wastewater reservoir leak, AP News, June 24, 2021.
Efforts to clean up a leaky reservoir that dumped tens of millions of gallons of hazardous gypsum wastewater into Tampa Bay must be overseen by a federal judge to guard against continued mismanagement, environmental groups claim. The lawsuit asks a federal judge to declare Piney Point an “imminent and substantial endangerment” to the environment and public health, and require government action to fix that. The plaintiffs Center for Biological Diversity, Tampa Bay Waterkeeper, Suncoast Waterkeeper, ManaSota-88 and Our Children’s Earth Foundation are represented by the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C.  Read the full story . . .

Controversial Thurston Hills area timber harvest stalled in court, Register Guard, June 2, 2021.
A proposed timber harvest on land near the Thurston Hills Natural Area being expanded into bike trails has stalled again in court after a judge on Friday ruled the Bureau of Land Management did not complete instructions issued by the judge in a previous lawsuit. A magistrate judge ruled in a second lawsuit filed by Eugene-based nonprofit Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild that BLM did not take proactive steps to preserve trees along planned extensions of Willamalane Park and Recreation District bike and hiking trails onto BLM-managed land. The groups are represented by the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C.  Read the full story . . .

U.S. appeals court dismisses dairy federation's challenge to EPA report, Yakima Herald Republic, May 25, 2021.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the Washington State Dairy Federation’s petition for review of a 2012 EPA study that linked a handful of Lower Valley dairies to groundwater contamination. The study prompted a handful of dairies in the Sunnyside and Granger areas — known as the dairy cluster — to enter a federal consent decree with the EPA and the local environmental group CARE, which sued those dairies over groundwater contamination, mainly high nitrate concentrations. The decree required the dairies to install double-walled synthetic liners in manure storage ponds and to reduce the amount of manure applied to fields as fertilizer. Environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who represented CARE in the lawsuit, said the EPA report is moot at this point given all the other scientific data gathered in recent years. “The EPA report is now nearly a decade old,” Tebbutt said. “The data that has been collected since then, particularly from the 32 monitoring wells at the cluster dairies, the lagoon abandonment information and the soil analysis all make it 100% clear that the dairies are polluting the community.”  Read the full story . . .

Piney Point UPDATE, Suncoast.com, May 18, 2021.
Several conservation groups announced they will be filing a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, HRK Holdings and the Manatee County Port Authority for releasing pollutants into Tampa Bay and groundwater, endangering residents and potentially causing severe damage to marine life. The announcement follows the failure of one of the phosphogypsum stacks in April that led to evacuations and the threat of 480 million gallons of the wastewater going into Tampa Bay. The plaintiffs Center for Biological Diversity, Tampa Bay Waterkeeper, Suncoast Waterkeeper, ManaSota-88 and Our Children’s Earth Foundation are represented by the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C.  Read the full story . . .

Piney Point spill leads to lawsuit, Anna Maria Island Sun, May 18, 2021.
Plaintiffs claim defendants are liable for “endangering the public and harming marine ecosystems and endangered species” by failing to maintain the gyp stacks and the waste storage ponds built into them at the closed Piney Point phosphate plant in Palmetto. In a Notice of Intent to Sue, the conservation groups note that protected marine species including loggerhead sea turtles and manatees make their home in waters that are currently affected by the plume of pollution spreading from Piney Point. After a leak in a gyp stack was discovered on March 26, officials ordered the emergency evacuation of hundreds of nearby Manatee County homes and intentionally discharged 215 million gallons of water into Tampa Bay at Port Manatee to take pressure off a compromised stack, avoiding its collapse and a potentially more serious spill. Read the full story . . .

BLM again defends logging project in trail area, Capital Press, Feb. 1, 2021.
The federal government is again defending a timber sale in a recreational area near Springeld, Ore., arguing that it’s not prohibited from logging around proposed recreational trails. Environmental groups, meanwhile, claim the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has merely made cosmetic changes to the 100-acre Pedal Power timber sale and failed to comply with a previous court order to reconsider the plan. “Quite frankly, it doesn’t make sense to plaintiffs why the BLM is trying the same thing and expecting different results,” said Parker Jones, attorney for the Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild nonprofits, during Jan. 28 oral arguments.  Read the full story . . .

U.S. Right to Know Sues State Department for Documents about Origins of SARS-CoV-2, U.S. Right to Know, Nov. 30, 2020.
U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit investigative public health group, filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Department of State for violating provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This is the second FOIA lawsuit filed by USRTK as part of its efforts to uncover what is known about the origins of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2; the risks of biosafety labs; and gain-of-function research, which seeks to augment the infectivity or lethality of potential pandemic pathogens. The lawsuit seeks State Department documents and correspondence with or about China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the EcoHealth Alliance, which partnered with and funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology, among other subjects. USRTK is represented by Daniel C. Snyder of the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, PC, and Laura Beaton of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP.  Read the press release . . .

Documents detail push to manage Yellowstone bison as cattle, Intermountain Farm and Ranch, Sept. 23, 2020.
In May 2018, Yellowstone National Park’s superintendent was ordered by then-Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to manage the park’s bison “more actively like cattle on a ranch,” according to a park briefing statement. The revelation of Zinke’s order didn’t surprise Darrell Geist, habitat coordinator for the Buffalo Field Campaign, a nonprofit bison advocacy group. “These are things we’ve been saying for a long time … that the herd is being managed for the good of the livestock industry and not the public trust,” said Geist. Confirmation of the group’s theory came after a long court fight by BFC seeking the release of documents from the National Park Service through the Freedom of Information Act. U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy ruled the NPS must release nine documents in their entirety. BFC recently made the documents available online, including the briefing statement. The group was represented by Daniel Snyder of the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, PC.  Read the full story . . .

Lower Valley dairies challenging EPA study blaming them for groundwater pollution, Yakima Herald Republic, Sept. 13, 2020.
A dispute between Lower Valley dairies and the Environmental Protection Agency over groundwater contamination is making its way through the federal court system. At issue is a 2012 EPA study that linked a handful of dairies near Granger and Sunnyside to groundwater pollution in the Lower Valley. The study led to those dairies entering a federal consent decree with EPA and the local environmental group CARE. The decree required those dairies to install double synthetic liners in manure storage ponds and reduce the amount of manure applied to fields as fertilizer. Now the dairy industry is fighting back, saying EPA’s study was flawed. Attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who represents CARE and other local environmental groups, said there’s scientific data beyond EPA’s report linking large dairies to groundwater pollution. “Instead of attacking an old study and fighting to maintain early 20th century management practices that have been proven to pollute drinking water, the dairy federation should get its members to synthetically line their leaking lagoons and stop overproducing and overapplying manure,” he said.  Read the full story . . .

Sunnyside dairy agrees to settlement with environmental groups, Yakima Herald Republic, August 21, 2020.
A Lower Valley Dairy has agreed to make significant operational upgrades intended to better protect groundwater and soil from pollution. Sunnyside Dairy LLC agreed to a settlement with three environmental groups — CARE, Friends of Toppenish Creek, and the Center for Food Safety — after more than a year of negotiations. “This consent decree will provide further protections to the Lower Yakima Valley community and requires another dairy to improve its operations to better protect groundwater,” said environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt. “It will take years to see the progress from the change in manure management. In the meantime, clean drinking water will continue to be provided to as many homes as possible through these settlements.”  Read the full story . . .

Dairy Farms Face Potential $10K-A-Month Fines For Pollution, Law360, July 15, 2020.
Two Washington dairy farms that haven't complied with a court-approved settlement requiring them to curb manure pollution have been ordered to make significant progress on cleanup by the end of the year or face $10,000 monthly fines. U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice ordered the farms to step up, pointing out that George DeRuyter & Sons Dairy and D&A Dairy have been out of compliance for "several years". Forcing immediate and short-term compliance is necessary to ensure that the dairy farms meet obligations to complete maintenance on manure lagoons by the end of the year and finish installing liners in the lagoons by the end of next year, or to safely abandon them, the judge said. The dairy farms were also instructed not to use liquid or solid manure on its fields until it complies with nutrient limits in the settlement. "The judge recognizes the big picture, and that's the ongoing pollution of the lower Yakima Valley by not only this dairy but all the dairies in the valley," Charlie Tebbutt of the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt PC, who represents the plaintiffs, told Law360. "That's the key message: They've got to do something about it."  Read the full story . . .

Litigation flares up over Washington dairy farms, Capital Press, April 23, 2020.
The Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment and other nonprofits recently filed a lawsuit accusing Majestic Farm, a dairy in Outlook, Wash., of violating federal law by storing manure in leaky lagoons and applying it to fields at excessive rates, contaminating groundwater. The lawsuit is seeking a court order prohibiting the dairy from keeping manure in unlined lagoons and requiring it to monitor groundwater, develop a nutrient management plan and provide drinking water to local residents. The environmental group has also sent letters notifying two dairies in Sunnyside, Wash., of its intent to file similar lawsuits alleging illegal “open dumping” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Meanwhile, CARE has persuaded a federal judge that two dairies in the Lower Yakima Valley have violated a 2015 settlement deal by failing to timely turn over nutrient data, meet composting requirements and double-line their lagoons to prevent leakage, among other provisions.“As soon as the dairies stop polluting, my clients will stop suing them,” said Charles Tebbutt, attorney for the plaintiffs. Washington’s Lower Yakima Valley region has among the largest concentrations of “industrial" dairies in the country and a history of groundwater pollution that adversely impacts the public, Tebbutt said. “It violates federal law and it violates human rights to clean water,” he said.  Read the full story . . .

Federal judge finds Lower Valley dairy in violation of environmental mandates, Yakima Herald Republic, April 15, 2020.
Federal District Judge Thomas Rice found George DeRuyter & Son and D & A Dairy in contempt of court for violating a 2015 Consent Decree designed to stop pollution from the industrial dairies. "The only issue remaining is what sanction the Court should impose for failure to timely comply and the imposition of a future date certain to comply." The dairies, along with dozens of other industrial dairies, have caused extensive groundwater contamination in the Lower Yakima Valley. Governors Inslee, Gregoire and Locke, and Ecology Directors Bellon, Sturdevant, and Manning have allowed this public health to continue virtually unbated, except for efforts by CARE, and more recently CFS, and Friends of Toppenish Creek, to tackle the pollution problem.  Read the full story . . .   Read the decision . . .   Read the Consent Decree . . .

More of the Story: Environmental groups, dairy industry continue to clash over nitrates, Yakima Herald Republic, January 30, 2020.
Controversy is still simmering between environmental groups and Lower Valley dairies. At issue is high nitrates in groundwater. Environmental groups blame dairies and large animal feeding operations known as CAFOs for the problem, saying their manure storage lagoons leak and that they over apply animal manure to fields as fertilizer. The three environmental groups - CARE, Friends of Toppenish Creek and the Center for Food Safety - have been aggressively seeking change to the way dairies operate. They want manure storage lagoons lined with synthetic material to prevent seepage into the ground. They also want increased soil and groundwater monitoring. Those regulation requests were denied in November 2018 by the state Pollution Control Hearings Board. Now the environmental groups have taken the matter to the state Court of Appeals. Environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt blames the state for being too soft on regulations. "Because of Ecology’s failure to regulate, my clients are bringing action against the dairies because they are polluting," he said.  Read the full story . . .

Environmental groups poised to sue Majestic Dairy over manure management practices, Yakima Herald Republic, January 8, 2020.
Three environmental groups announced their intent to sue Majestic Farms Dairy, alleging that mismanagement of animal waste is contaminating local drinking water in violation of federal law. The groups are represented by Charlie Tebbutt, an Oregon-based attorney who has been involved with 10 other lawsuits against dairies since 2009. The letter of intent to sue alleges that Majestic Farms Dairy has mismanaged its manure, including overapplying it to fields that don’t need fertilization, storing manure in unlined and inadequately maintained lagoons, and operating an “open dump” in violation of the dairy’s nutrient management plan and the Solid Waste Disposal Act. “This facility has contaminated fields, leaky lagoons, and seeping compost areas, which cause widespread groundwater pollution,” Tebbutt wrote. “This pollution fouls nearby residents’ wells.”  Read the full story . . .

DeRuyter & Son Dairy accused of not following federal cleanup order, Yakima Herald Republic, December 6, 2019.
DeRuyter & Son Dairy has been hit with a motion in federal court alleging it has failed to implement environmental safeguards required by a federal consent decree. “They have a settlement agreement with EPA and they also have a settlement agreement with the citizens and they have not met compliance with the citizens’ agreement,” Environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt said. The motion says the dairy repeatedly sought extensions of deadlines to install the liners from EPA but not the environmental groups. Under the decree, the dairy was to install liners at a rate of two ponds a year but has only completed work on two since the 2015 decree. “All of the other seven remain in the same state they were over five years ago, when the court ordered DeRuyter to line its lagoons,” the motion said.  Read the full story . . .

Dairy Farms Paying To Give People Clean Water, KIMA TV, December 3, 2019.
For the Morales family, the water is safe today, but in summer of 2018, they could have been drinking water containing over the safe limit of nitrate. Erica Morales, who lives near several dairy farms, got her well tested for free and found out her water could cause blue baby syndrome or cancer in adults. The test was provided by the Clean Drinking Water Project after a federal judge declared three dairy farms had polluted groundwater. Cow Palace, Bosma and Deruyter and Son dairy farms all contribute $2,000 each month to pay for well testing, reverse osmosis machines and bottled water. “The cow palace decision not only established that lagoons leak and even if built to federal standards they're polluting ground water and they're contributing to an imminent substantial endangerment to human health and the environment,” Charlie Tebbutt, an environmental attorney said. Tebbutt, the attorney who led the lawsuit against the dairy farms said the outcome of that litigation set a precedent which could change how the industry must deal with cow manure. Read the full story . . .

Hundreds Of Lower Valley Residents Have Contaminated Water From Nitrates, KIMA TV, November 28, 2019.
There's a chemical you can't see, smell or taste in the water of many people living in the Lower Yakima Valley. Test results show tap water for hundreds is contaminated by nitrates from farms and environmental groups say cows are the culprit. "Lower Yakima Valley is one of the one of the more concentrated areas in the country where large dairies are operating and because of that concentration, they're causing massive contamination of the groundwater," Charlie Tebbutt, an environmental attorney said. The state Department of Ecology says the nitrates in the water come from cow manure when it seeps into the groundwater, poisoning drinking water for those with wells nearby. According to the Department of Health, nitrates cause blue baby syndrome, a disease which prevents blood from bringing oxygen to different parts of an infants body. Nitrates are also linked to other birth defects and have the potential to cause cancer in adults. An environmental advocacy group called Community Association for Restoration of the Environment, or CARE, has tested over 400 wells in the Lower Valley. They found almost 40 percent tested at over ten ppm, a level unfit for human consumption. One well tested at 101 ppm, ten times the limit. "A lot of people don't know about this problem and it's a major social justice issue, just like Flint, Michigan or the civil rights movement of the sixties in Selma, Alabama," Tebbutt declared. Read the full story . . .

Environmental groups, Outlook ranch await approval of consent decree on water pollution issues, Yakima Herald Republic, November 15, 2019.
Outlook-based Spring Canyon Ranch has settled with two environmental groups that alleged its dairy operations had polluted local drinking water. In a proposed consent decree recently filed in U.S. District Court in Yakima, Spring Canyon Ranch agreed to close all but one of its manure storage lagoons, not reinstate its dairy operations for three years unless it gives three months’ notice to the environmental groups and pay $60,000 to a program that provides free water testing and filtration systems for Lower Valley residents affected by nitrate pollution. “It’s yet another one of the dozen polluting dairies in the Yakima Valley that is being held accountable for its past practice,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the attorney representing Outlook-based Community Association for Restoration of the Environment and Friends of Toppenish Creek, which initiated the action almost three years ago. “My clients will continue to bring actions to seek justice against the other dairies as well.”  Read the full story . . .

Environmental groups want more Lower Valley residents to get water tested for nitrates, Yakima Herald Republic, October 26, 2019.
Charlie Tebbutt was a young attorney when he started fighting dairy farms over nitrate pollution in groundwater. “Now, I’m old and frustrated because we haven’t solved the problem yet.” Tebbutt wants to see residents get their wells tested to ensure that they are drinking clean water and to chart the extent of the contamination. So, Tebbutt and local community groups held a forum to offer residents free water testing and, if necessary, have a reverse-osmosis filtration system installed at no cost to them. The tests and filtration systems are paid for from a fund into which polluting dairies contribute $2,000 a month, with community groups handling the testing and installation. Tebbutt said it is also frustrating that agencies such as the state Department of Ecology have not stepped in to address the issue. Out of 446 tests performed on wells so far, 169 were found to have nitrate levels exceeding 10 parts per million, the threshold amount for safety established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A recent test, Tebbutt said, found one well had 101 ppm of nitrates, about 10 times the federal limit.  Read the full story . . .

Latino Advocacy Group Encourages Yakima Valley Residents To Test Well Water For High Nitrates, Northwest Public Broadcasting, October 26, 2019.
Some people in the lower Yakima Valley wonder about the safety of their well water. Does it contain too much nitrate pollution, which can cause adverse health effects? In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found elevated nitrates in monitoring wells near three large dairies. The report named those dairies as a likely source of contamination. High levels of nitrates in drinking water are especially harmful to young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems. If wells test above 10 parts-per-million for nitrates, people can get a free reverse osmosis system installed on kitchen taps, with yearly maintenance, according to Charlie Tebutt, an attorney who represents multiple environmental groups in lawsuits against large dairies in the lower Yakima Valley.  Read the full story . . .

Commentary: We’re learning what it will take, Capital Press, August 3, 2019.
It was 2015 when I had a serious wake-up call. Dairy farmers like me were facing lawsuits filed by Charlie Tebbutt. Several said if they were sued they’d just quit farming. We started a group in our farming area called Whatcom Family Farmers. We got berry farmers, potato farmers, dairy farmers and other farm types to join together. That unity was critically important as we soon found. A local tribe hired Charlie Tebbutt but they were told: "You sue one farmer, you sue us all." It led to a partnership with the tribe that has been positive for all in the community.  Read the full story . . .

Lawsuit: "Dirty dairies" dump animal waste into Yakima Valley drinking water, KVEW, May 27, 2019.
Two Lower Yakima Valley dairies are being sued in federal court over allegations they’ve been dumping excessive amounts of cow manure in nearby fields, not to fertilize the land, but to dispose of extra waste. The lawsuit says by dumping too much manure, SMD and DBD dairies — formerly Snipes Mountain Dairy and DeRuyter Brothers Dairy respectively — have been contaminating the nearby water supply with nitrates, rendering it "unsafe for human consumption." "Once again, the people have been forced to take action to protect themselves due to negligence by both state and federal agencies that ignore these imminent threats to public health from the dairies,” said the community groups’ lawyer Charlie Tebbutt.  Read the full story . . .

DOH, Big Island Dairy sign consent agreement, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, March 29, 2019.
The state Department of Health entered into an agreement with the owners of Big Island Dairy as its operations draw to a close. The agreement was completed to address numerous discharges of wastewater containing manure from the dairy to state waters during the past two years that were documented by DOH. Under the agreement, Big Island Dairy’s owners are required to terminate dairy operations, remove all cows from confinement on the site, clean and remove the existing wastewater system, and pay $79,000 by June of 2019, either as an administrative penalty or to fund an environmentally beneficial project in the area. Residents of Ookala have long complained about releases of manure-laden water from the dairy into nearby gulches that run through or next to the community. In the most recent incident, an estimated 2 million gallons of wastewater mixed with storm water was discharged from the dairy’s wastewater lagoons in February. Attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who represented citizen group Kupale Ookala and the Center for Food Safety in a lawsuit against the dairy alleging violations of the federal Clean Water Act said “We hope they incorporated our comments that asked them to require the lagoons to be back-filled before Big Island Dairy vacates the site, because those present an ongoing threat to the community.”  Read the full story . . .

Environmental groups threaten to sue a third Lower Valley dairy, Yakima Herald, March 7, 2019.
Three environmental groups intend to sue another Lower Valley dairy, alleging the operation has repeatedly mishandled animal waste in violation of the federal Solid Waste Disposal Act. The groups, CARE, Friends of Toppenish Creek and Center for Food Safety, notified Sunnyside Dairy in a letter dated Feb. 28 of their intent to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. The environmental groups accuse the dairies of overapplying animal waste as fertilizer to fields, resulting in excessive nitrates that are leaching into the groundwater and contaminating rural domestic wells. The letters list specific dates when soil samples showed high concentration of nitrates on fields that the dairies had applied cow waste. Nitrate naturally occur in soil, but concentrations are drastically increased by heavy use of fertilizers and animal waste.  Read the full story . . .

Environmental groups threaten to sue 2 Lower Valley dairies, Yakima Herald, February 13, 2019.
Two Lower Valley dairies under state investigation for their handling of cow manure could face a federal lawsuit. Three environmental groups — CARE, Friends of Toppenish Creek and the Center for Food Safety — recently sent letters to the dairies informing them of their intent to sue. The environmental groups allege the dairies — SMD LLC and DBD Washington LLC, both in Outlook — are polluting groundwater. They accuse the dairies of overapplying cow manure to fields as fertilizer and using leaky manure storage ponds. “These facilities are emblematic of the much larger dairy pollution problem in the Lower Valley,” said environmental attorney Charlie Tebbutt. “These are yet more examples of the fact that all of the dairies are contributing to the pollution problem.”    Read the full story . . .

No dairy farm, The Garden Island, February 1, 2019.
Hawaii Dairy Farms announced it was discontinuing plans for a pasture-based dairy farm on Kauai. Community organization Friends of Mahaulepu headed local opposition to the dairy, which included a lawsuit and travel to Hawaii Island to help the Ookala community respond to the May overflow of untreated effluent through a nearby gulch. That wastewater made its way through communities and into the ocean. Big Island Dairy announced in November it would be closing, and that is expected soon.   Read the full story . . .

Suit against Big Island Dairy settled, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, January 9, 2019.
A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed against Big Island Dairy that alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The dairy will stop milking no later than Feb. 28, with a target date of April 30 to end all operations. Because of the dairy’s “potential insolvency,” the settlement states civil penalties will be levied through the state Department of Health administrative process and no such penalties will be assessed or paid in the resolution of the lawsuit. All civil penalties collected by the DOH will be paid to an “appropriate supplemental environmental project or environmentally beneficial project” for the benefit of the Ookala community. The suit was scheduled to go to trial this month, but Big Island Dairy confirmed in November it would discontinue operations at its Ookala facility. “Given the circumstances, given that they’re going out of business, it made no sense to go to trial,” said Charlie Tebbutt, the attorney representing Kupale Ookala and the Center for Food Safety in the suit. Instead, Tebbutt said, his clients got a “firm agreement” that the dairy would close, which is the “best we could have done at trial in any case.”   Read the full story . . .

Ookala residents frustrated by latest dairy discharge, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, December 27, 2018.
Another wastewater discharge from Big Island Dairy this week is the latest to leave Ookala residents frustrated. On December 24th, Big Island Dairy, which is set to cease operations next year, discharged nearly 600,000 gallons of wastewater into Kaohaoha Gulch. It is just one of several such spills and discharges that have occurred at the dairy this year. “(There’s) nothing like having the dairy say ‘Merry Christmas’ to the community by releasing close to a million gallons of effluent into the community,” said resident Charlene Nishida.

“It’s extremely hard for the community to deal with this problem, particularly on Christmas Eve,” said Oregon-based attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who is representing citizen group Kupale Ookala and the Center for Food Safety in a 2017 lawsuit against the dairy that alleges violations of the federal Clean Water Act. “Discharges are not only illegal, and knowing that, it’s just simply wrong and unjust. Because an operator doesn’t know how to operate a facility in compliance with the law, that doesn’t mean they should just continue to do so.”
   Read the full story . . .

'Up to the courts': The 50-state climate change strategy: Climate Wire, E&E News, November 20, 2018.
In the summer of 2011, Des Moines teenager Glori Dei Filippone sued state agencies in Iowa over climate change. "The atmosphere is a public trust resource," she told the court through her lawyers, adding that the agency "has a duty to protect it and prevent harm to it for present and future generations." For seven years, Filippone and other American youth have engaged in a full-court-press strategy nationwide to hammer home the idea that state governments should value and protect the atmosphere as a public trust, and that by failing to do so they are unlawfully breaking their obligations to their residents. The 50-state strategy is a lesser-known prong of attack from Our Children's Trust, a legal nonprofit group locked in a high-profile fight with the Trump administration over its landmark climate change case, Juliana v. United States. Both Juliana and the state cases were drawn from a similar blueprint: The plaintiffs are children or young adults, and they raise public trust arguments. Yet while the federal case — which has been repeatedly stayed and unstayed — has attracted national and international attention, these state-level legal challenges have drawn much less notice, despite the fact they've delivered significant results. Perhaps the biggest breakthrough emerged from Washington state in April 2016, when Judge Hollis Hill ordered the state to enact a rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions before the year's end. The plaintiffs' "very survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming," Hill ruled, "before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late." Charlie Tebbutt, an environmental lawyer in Oregon, pointed to her ruling as courageous. "Most of the courts have been unwilling and dare I say afraid to address the problem," Tebbutt said.    Read the full story . . .

'Goodbye Washington.' Trial records paint 'chilling' picture: Climate Wire, E&E News, October 24, 2018.
There's been a flurry of activity in the lead-up to the trial in a landmark climate lawsuit brought by a group of young people against the federal government. But the trial may not actually happen. The Supreme Court temporarily stayed proceedings in Juliana v. United States last week, leaving the plaintiffs' supporters in the lurch as justices consider the case's future. Charlie Tebbutt, a lawyer based in Eugene, Ore., said the public would lose out on an all-inclusive presentation of climate change history and knowledge. "The whole history of knowledge of climate change," he said, "and how long we've known it for and the depth at which we've known it. And when I say we, I mean the United States government." He continued, "All of that is ready to be told in one story."    Read the full story . . .    Climate change has been known for over 50 years - "Goobye Washington".

Big Island: Residents Say Dairy Is Still Polluting Their Small Town, Honolulu Civil Beat, September 26, 2018.
Big Island Dairy’s website claims that its milk comes from “the happiest cows on earth.” But the people of Ookala, downhill from the dairy on the Big Island’s rainy Hamakua coast, are very unhappy. They’ve formed a nonprofit organization called Kupale Ookala to take legal action over repeated spills and runoff of cattle manure, cattle urine and other waste. The Hawaii Department of Health has stated “continuing wastewater discharges from the dairy call into question the dairy’s ability to suitably protect human and environmental health; so the Dairy remains under a DOH order to cease the discharge of wastewater from its facility to state waters.” But the plaintiffs say the discharges have continued, often in massive amounts. Among the worst releases were approximately 100,000 gallons May 6, nearly 2 million gallons May 7-9, and 5,848,000 gallons during Hurricane Lane, Aug. 13-25.   Read the full story . . .

Hurricane Lane Cleanup Poses Health Risks, Big Island Video News, August 28, 2018.
The final segment of this 3 minute video gives a glimpse of the voluminous discharges from the Big Island Dairy during Hurricane Lane.   Watch the video . . .

Dairy confirms volume of May wastewater discharge, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, July 2, 2018.
Nearly 2.3 million gallons of rain and wastewater were discharged from Big Island Dairy in Ookala over three days in May, before heading into nearby gulches. Water samples taken from the Alaialoa and Kaohaoha gulches show high levels of E. coli and other bacteria, which Oregon-based attorney Charlie Tebbutt says are a result of the wastewater discharges. Samples were taken from several locations on several dates, including immediately after wastewater discharges. A sample taken from Kaohaoha Gulch on May 10 shows E. coli counts greater than the lab could measure. “These are huge numbers,” Tebbutt said. “This is a tremendous discharge of at least 2.3 million gallons of contaminated water with bacteria counts that were off the charts. They couldn’t be counted because there was too much bacteria and these type of E. coli bacteria create a direct and immediate threat to human health and the environment.”   Read the full story . . .

Dairy farms battle environmentalists over manure, King 5 News, June 7, 2018.
Washington's Department of Ecology is facing criticism over its new permit that manages pollution from large farms called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs. Dairy farmers say the state's new permit requirements are too tough while environmental groups say they're not tough enough. "People can't drink the water. People can't eat the shellfish because of dairy pollution. It's simple," said attorney Charlie Tebbutt. "This board has the opportunity to right these wrongs that have been going on for decades because of Ecology's willful ignorance. Ecology fiddles while Washington burns from dairy contamination."    Read the full story . . .

Public advised to stay out of gulches after spill, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Aug. 13, 2017.
Following a weekend spill at Big Island Dairy, the state Department of Health is asking the public the stay out of Alaialoa and Kaohaoha gulches in Ookala because storm water within both gulches might be contaminated with animal waste. Big Island Dairy reported untreated wastewater from its wastewater treatment system spilled from a damaged sewage pipe on discharging into Alaialoa Gulch. “At this time, it is believed the contaminated water has reached coastal waters and further discharges are possible,” the DOH said. The DOH fined the dairy $25,000 in May 2017 for unlawful discharge of wastewater and a lawsuit alleging violations of the federal Clean Water Act was filed in 2017. "This is a problem that’s been going on for as long as this dairy has been operating," said Charlie Tebbutt, the attorney representing Kupale Ookala and the Center for Food Safety in the suit. "They expanded without being able to handle the massive amount of manure that they produce, and instead they’re using the gulches as toilets for their operations, which is a direct violation of the Clean Water Act, and a gross violation of the rights of the people who live on Ookala to live free from their manure."    Read the full story . . .

EBay’s Founder Has a New Idea: Build a Dairy in Hawaii, New York Times, Aug. 13, 2017.
If Pierre Omidyar gets his way, 699 dairy cows will soon enjoy a glorious view of the Pacific Ocean, framed by a pristine beach. Some residents, though, object. Opponents of the Hawaii Dairy drive around with bumper stickers — “No Moo Poo in Maha’ulepu,” as the area of the island where the dairy would go is known — summarizing their main cause of concern: that animal waste could contaminate drinking water or the oceanfront and cause unpleasant smells. “We’re all for local agriculture, but why put a dairy there?” said Bridget Hammerquist, a lawyer and the president of Friends of Maha’ulepu, a nonprofit set up to fight the dairy. “It’s a serious threat to Kauai’s biggest source of revenue, tourism, to the environment and to our quality of life.” So far, courts have sided with opponents of the dairy. In a case brought by the Friends group, contending that the dairy would violate the federal Clean Water Act, a judge ruled that it had violated the law by failing to get the permits it needed for the construction it had already done on the site.    Read the full story . . .

Big Island Dairy Sued Over Water Pollution Concerns, Honolulu Civil Beat, June 28, 2017.
Big Island Dairy was sued Wednesday by the Hawaii Center for Food Safety and Kupale Ookala, a group of local residents, who claim the company is polluting nearby waters with animal waste. The lawsuit accuses the dairy of violating the federal Clean Water Act by dumping animal urine and feces in waters around Ookala, a community on the northeast coast of the Big Island. It claims residents have photographed “brown, clouded water” and “tests have also shown very high levels of E. coli and enterococcus,” another type of bacteria.    Read the full story . . .

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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