Rulemaking & Policy Development

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After Almost Four Decades, White House Issues New NEPA Regulations–Lawsuits Likely

The Trump administration recently finalized updates to regulations for environmental impact review of large projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  NEPA was originally enacted 50 years ago to reorient federal agencies to consider the environmental impact of projects.  It generally requires federal agencies to consider environmental effects of proposed projects before they are … Continue Reading

Heavy Duty Engine Regulatory Update: US EPA Enforcement Discretion and CARB Proposed Rulemaking

We are continuing to follow regulatory developments proposed for the heavy-duty vehicle and engine sector.  In our most recent blog post on the topic, we covered updates on timing for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Cleaner Trucks Initiative and the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) efforts related to Heavy-Duty Low NOx Omnibus … Continue Reading

US EPA Amends TSCA “Small Manufacturer” Definition for Chemical Data Reporting Requirements

On May 28, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) issued its final rule amending the definition of a “small manufacturer” under section 8(a) of the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). As a result of the change, some manufacturers and importers who were previously subject to Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) requirements under the … Continue Reading

Political Debate Heats Up Over Private Financial Institutions and the Fossil Fuel Industry Amidst COVID-19 Economic Uncertainty

Given the current economic stressors affecting the fossil fuel industry, there is growing political interest in investment policies that financial institutions are applying to that industry.  On May 7, Republican lawmakers penned a letter to the Trump Administration that cited the economic instability of the COVID‑19 pandemic as the basis for a request for regulatory … Continue Reading

Heavy-Duty Truck and Engine Regulation by US EPA and CARB: Agency Rulemaking in the COVID-19 Era

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are proceeding with development of proposed rules for on-road heavy-duty vehicle and engine regulation. As previously covered in our blog, US EPA and DOT already issued a final rule in early April rolling back greenhouse gas emission (GHG) standards in the … Continue Reading

Is the UK Heading Towards a Duty on Businesses to Prevent Breaches of Human Rights?

In April 2017, the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights suggested that it might be appropriate for a “failure to prevent” mechanism, such as the one found in section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, to be applied to business and human rights.  Earlier this year, the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (“BIICL”) … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Best Practices for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes

On April 29, 2020, US EPA and the CDC issued guidance on how best to disinfect and clean workplaces, schools, and other public spaces as the US economy begins to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance, mainly directed to employers, facility managers, and public school officials, is part of the larger federal “Guidelines for … Continue Reading

WEBINAR May 6 – UK ESH Webinar Series – Plastics Packaging Tax Update

From April 2022, the UK government is proposing to introduce a new tax on plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into, the UK and containing less than 30% recycled plastic. Currently, the detailed policy design for the plastics tax is under consultation until 20 May 2020. Join Anita Lloyd and Caroline Almond for the first … Continue Reading

WEBINAR May 5 – US ESH Webinar Series – Environmental Challenges Associated With Infrastructure Development

This webinar will explore the latest developments in Congress regarding additional stimulus legislation and the likelihood that it will include an infrastructure component. We will also focus on challenges associated with environmental permitting in the infrastructure development context, primarily those projects that involve impact to wetlands and streams under the Clean Water Act. The discussion … Continue Reading

UK Plastic Packaging Tax Proposed

From April 2022, the UK government is proposing to introduce a new tax on plastic packaging manufactured in or imported into the UK containing less than 30% recycled plastic.  Currently, the detailed policy design for the plastics tax is under consultation until 20 August 2020 (the period has just been extended by 3 months due … Continue Reading

US EPA and the Corps Finally Publish Their Definition of “Waters of the United States” Narrowing the Scope of Federal Jurisdiction Under the Clean Water Act

On April 21, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published, in the Federal Register, their final rule (2020 Rule) revising the definition of “waters of the United States” and narrowing the scope of waters subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. … Continue Reading

OSHA Interim Response Plan for COVID-19 Issued to Guide Agency Action, But Just as Useful for Employers (US)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States in early 2020, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been issuing COVID-19 guidance to employers on appropriate ways to address the pandemic, as we previously discussed here, here, and here.  The guidance has mirrored recommendations coming from the Centers for Disease Control and … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues New Guidance for Hazardous Waste Cleanup & Emergency Response Sites Impacted by COVID-19

On April 10, 2020, US EPA issued updated interim guidance to regional offices for dealing with the “challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation.” The guidance applies to all US EPA field activities, including cleanup under the Superfund program, RCRA corrective action, TSCA PCB cleanup provisions, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Underground Storage Tank program. … Continue Reading

US EPA and US DOT Issue Final Rule Rolling Back Vehicle Emissions Standard

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, US EPA and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued the final rule rolling back greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for vehicles. This long-awaited final rule was proposed in August 2018 and represents the culmination of an extended and controversial rulemaking. We have previously covered the rollback and … Continue Reading

US EPA Offers Advice to NPDES Permittees on Documenting COVID-Related Noncompliance While Environmental Groups Seek More Stringent Reporting Requirements

On March 26, 2020, US EPA issued a temporary policy regarding enforcement of routine monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting violations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  As discussed in an earlier blog post, US EPA’s temporary policy sets out the Agency’s overall policy to exercise of enforcement discretion during the COVID-19 pandemic and generally not seek penalties … Continue Reading

California Prop 65 Amendments on Responsibility to Warn Are Effective On April 1, 2020

In the last few weeks, product supply chains have been experiencing massive interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some industries, these challenges have resulted in increased communication among manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.  Communication across the supply chain is also recognized in new amendments under California’s Proposition 65 “Clear and Reasonable Warning” regulations (Prop 65). … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Temporary Policy on COVID-19 Implications for the Agency’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program

On March 26, 2020, US EPA Assistant Administrator, Susan Bodine, authored and released guidance to all governmental and private sector entities entitled “COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program.”  The seven-page guidance memorandum outlines the Agency’s “temporary” policy governing issues of noncompliance that arise (1) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit to Review Montana’s Nutrient Variance Approach: What You Need To Know

Control of nutrient loadings to US surface waters has widely proven to be a difficult task, and nutrient levels in many of our waterways continue to fail in satisfying the stated goals of the Clean Water Act.  In 2015, the State of Montana established stringent water quality standards for nutrients.  Recognizing the economic and social … Continue Reading

US EPA Revises TSCA Chemical Data Reporting Requirements and Extends Deadline for 2020 Reporting Period

With the 2020 reporting period under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule rapidly approaching, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has announced a number of key changes to the information that chemical manufacturers and importers must submit to the agency pursuant to the CDR rule.  US EPA also announced … Continue Reading

OMB Directs US EPA and Other Federal Agencies to Refocus on Mission-Critical Functions Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic; OECA Guidance on Implications for Enforcement and Compliance Forthcoming

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance to the heads of federal departments and agencies titled, “Federal Agency Operational Alignment to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus COVID-19.”  The guidance directs agencies to “prioritize all resources to slow the transmission of COVID-19, while ensuring our mission-critical activities continue.”  Under the guidance, agencies … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues List of Disinfectants Qualified for Use Against COVID-19 and Initiates Expedited Review Process for Approving Product Claims Against the Virus

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has issued a list of nearly 300 disinfectants that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list can be found here.  According to US EPA, the disinfectants on the list have not been tested specifically against SARS-CoV-2, but they are expected to be … Continue Reading

Are You “Essential”? Ohio Guidance for Environmental Industries Regarding COVID-19

On Sunday, Ohio issued a “shelter in place” or “stay at home” order, bringing the total number of states with these orders to ten.  The other states are California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and this number increases by the day.  The orders and associated guidance identify which businesses … Continue Reading

Administrative Law Corner: The End of Federal Agency Guidance as We Know It? Not So Fast.

On October 9, 2019, President Trump signed two Executive Orders that could have a few significant impacts on federal government agency guidance documents moving forward. The White House says these two Executive Orders are “combating bureaucratic abuse and holding federal agencies accountable.” Our read is that in many ways the two Executive Orders actually just … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes New Rule Modernizing and Streamlining EAB Review Process

On November 6, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) proposed a new procedural rule titled “Modernizing the Administrative Exhaustion Requirement for Permitting Decisions and Streamlining Procedures for Permit Appeals” (the Proposal). The Proposal represents the first update to the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) in 27 years. Specifically, the Proposal would impact the EAB’s … Continue Reading
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