Archives: Rulemaking & Policy Development

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Coalition Seeks to Compel US EPA Action on States’ Impaired Waters Listings for Lake Erie

A coalition of environmental and conservation groups have given US EPA notice of their intent to sue over the Agency’s failure to timely review Ohio’s and Michigan’s biennial impaired waters listings. Under §303(d)(2) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), US EPA is required to approve or disapprove a state’s proposed list of impaired waters not … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Proposed TSCA Risk Evaluation Rule

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has issued its proposed rule outlining the process by which it will conduct risk evaluations on chemical substances under the recently amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), to determine whether the substances present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment under the conditions of use. … Continue Reading

Superfund Financial Assurance Rules: Chemical, Coal, Petroleum & Electric Power Industries Face Upcoming US EPA Rulemaking

On December 1, 2016, the US EPA Administrator signed two documents about financial assurance – effectively bonding for facility cleanup – under Superfund for several industry sectors. The longer document with the shorter deadline concerned the hard rock mining and mineral processing industries, proposing specific costly rules, on which comments are due around March 13.  … Continue Reading

UK Environmental Audit Committee Calls For Brexit Environmental Protection Law

The UK Environmental Audit Committee (a cross-party parliamentary select committee which considers how well government policies and programmes contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development) has published its report on “The Future of the Natural Environment after the EU Referendum”.  The report makes a series of recommendations for actions that the Government should take during … Continue Reading

Proposed Settlement Agreement Requires US EPA to Promulgate Perchlorate Regulations by the End of 2019

US EPA recently agreed in federal court to engage in a rulemaking process over the next three-plus years which would culminate in the promulgation of final perchlorate regulations by December 19, 2019. Perchlorate remains the only unregulated contaminant for which US EPA has made a final determination to regulate since the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was amended in … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes Rules Governing Financial Responsibility for Hard Rock Mines & Processing Facilities

On December 1, 2016, US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy complied with a court order and signed a proposed Superfund rule to require facilities in the hard rock mining industry to provide financial assurance for cleanup and related environmental costs, as required by Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). 42 … Continue Reading

Despite New Administration, Environmental Groups May Influence Changes to US Industrial Stormwater Discharge Permits

Although the focus and priorities of a new US EPA administration under President-elect Trump remain unclear, regulatory changes may be in the works that could require certain industrial entities to either change how they handle stormwater discharges or face lawsuits brought by environmental groups. As described more fully below, US EPA entered into a settlement … Continue Reading

Involved with US Export and Import of Hazardous Waste? New Requirements Are Coming

On November 28, 2016, US EPA published its Final Rule revising the requirements applicable to the export and import of hazardous wastes to and from the United States.  The changes enacted by US EPA make three significant revisions to existing regulations by: Aligning existing export and import related requirements with the current import-export requirements for … Continue Reading

Preparing for Revised Warning Requirements Under California Proposition 65

On August 30, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) adopted revised warning requirements under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly known as Proposition 65 and codified at California Health and Safety Code section 25249.5.  The new regulations take effect on August 30, 2018. Proposition 65 requires … Continue Reading

Oral Argument Approaching in Litigation to Expand 8th Circuit’s Ban on US EPA’s Blending Prohibition

Oral argument in the Center for Regulatory Reasonableness (CRR) v. EPA, Case No. 14-1150 (D.C. Cir.) matter has been set for October 21, 2016. At issue is the March 25, 2013 decision of the Eighth Circuit in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA, Case No. 11-3412, which vacated US EPA’s across-the-board prohibitions on the use … Continue Reading

US Deputy Attorney General: Focus on Individual Wrongdoing to Promote Compliance

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Yates Memorandum, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) memorandum drafted by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, which announced revisions to the US Attorney’s Manual (USAM). One purpose of the Yates Memorandum was to refocus corporate compliance on individual accountability. To do so, it created incentives for … Continue Reading

New US Standards to Reduce Emissions and Improve Fuel Efficiency of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

As the result of a joint rulemaking effort, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) Office of Transportation and Air Quality and the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized new standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and their engines on August 16, 2016. Included among the types of vehicles affected by … Continue Reading

US Congress Considers Law That Would Overturn Chevron Deference

Earlier this year, Senate and House Republicans introduced the “Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016.”  On July 12, 2016, the House passed the bill by a vote of 240-171, largely along party lines. The legislation would fundamentally alter a cornerstone of administrative law: Chevron deference.  Chevron deference describes a doctrine articulated by a unanimous US Supreme Court in its 1984 decision, Chevron USA, … Continue Reading

US District Court Strikes Down BLM Rule for Hydraulic Fracking on Federal and Tribal Land

On June 21, 2016, the US District Court for the District of Wyoming set aside the US Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands, finding that BLM lacked Congressional authority to promulgate the regulations.  “Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues First Safety Determinations for New Chemicals Under Amended TSCA

On July 22, 2016,  US EPA issued its first safety determinations on premanufacture notices (PMNs) for new chemicals under TSCA as amended by the recently enacted Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  US EPA announced the decisions exactly one month after President Obama signed the Lautenberg Act into law on June 22, … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues First Year Implementation Plan for New Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act

The US EPA has issued a “First Year Implementation Plan” outlining the steps it will take over the next year (and beyond) toward implementing the requirements of the new Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, the legislation signed into law by President Obama on June 22 to modernize the Toxic Substances … Continue Reading

US Mine Safety and Health Administration Proposes New Workplace Examination Rule; Requests Information Regarding Exposure of Underground Miners to Diesel Exhaust

On June 8, 2016, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published the following two documents in the Federal Register, seeking information and comments from industry stakeholders: (1) a proposed rule addressing “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines (MNM)”; and (2) a Request for Information (RFI) on “Exposure of Underground Miners to Diesel Exhaust.” … Continue Reading

President Obama Signs Landmark TSCA Reform Legislation into Law, as US EPA Begins Implementation

On June 22, 2016 President Barack Obama signed into law the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act,” the landmark legislation modernizing the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).   The Lautenberg Act is the first substantive update of TSCA since it was passed 40 years ago in 1976 and signed into law … Continue Reading

Implications Of The Brexit Vote On UK Environmental Law And Policy

Following a referendum which has polarised the nation, the people of the UK have voted to leave the European Union. Stepping away from the political rhetoric and posturing, it is worth reflecting on some of the more practical issues which will arise from this decision, such as how it could affect our environmental law landscape. … Continue Reading

US Congress Passes Landmark TSCA Reform Legislation

On June 7, 2016 the US Congress passed the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act,” the landmark bipartisan, compromise legislation to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).    The Lautenberg Act is expected to be signed into law by President Obama very soon. As passed by Congress, the Lautenberg Act makes … Continue Reading

US EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants for Voluntary Action a Striking Contrast to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL

US EPA announced recently that it had awarded twenty-eight Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants totaling more than $12.5 million. Portions of this federal funding will provide financial assistance to owners of farmland who voluntarily act to reduce nutrient runoff from their land. The provision of federal funding to address issues in the Great Lakes … Continue Reading

US EPA Finalizes Oil and Gas New Source Performance Standards With Potentially Broader New Source Review Impact

With US EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel–fired electric generation still hotly contested in the D.C. Circuit, US EPA is proceeding with the next step in its implementation of the White House’s Climate Action Plan by moving forward with additional greenhouse gas regulations, this time of the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure.  … Continue Reading

Citing Climate Change, US Regulations Expand Protection for the Critical Habitats of ESA-Listed Species

On March 14, 2016, two new federal rules went into effect that could change the way in which the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented throughout the United States. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) finalized these rules to update the regulatory provisions on which the agencies … Continue Reading

Introduction of Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund Safeguard Mechanism

Australia’s goal to decrease its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 26-28% by 2030 is a direct result of the Paris Climate Conference in 2015. This commitment will be partially executed through the existing Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). The ERF is a voluntary scheme introduced by the Australian Government (Government) that incentivises individuals and businesses to … Continue Reading
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