Rulemaking & Policy Development

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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

October Update: Key Developments in UK and EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy

We are pleased to share with you the latest edition of “frESH Law Horizons – Key Developments in UK & EU Environment, Safety and Health Law, Procedure and Policy”. In our September edition, we summarise 32 developments in the environmental, safety and health sector. Some of the top stories this month include: The 2019 UK … Continue Reading

US EPA-California Tensions Over GHG Standards Increase with Preemption Challenge

Disagreements between California and the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) over greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for automobiles have been simmering since 2018, but tensions between the two sides have recently increased after California entered into a voluntary agreement on GHG standards with a group of major automakers, followed swiftly by US EPA’s withdrawal of California’s authority … Continue Reading

Potential Settlement Creates Uncertainty for US Supreme Court Case Regarding Clean Water Act Liability for Indirect Groundwater Discharges

On September 20, 2019, Maui County Council (Council) voted to settle the County’s pending appeal before the US Supreme Court of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, et al. As previously reported here, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling held that the eventual migration of pollutants from permitted underground injection wells … Continue Reading

Groundwater Contaminant Regulation in California: State Water Board Lowers Notification Levels and Announces First Step Towards Developing an MCL for Certain Compounds

In June of 2018, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) Division of Drinking Water (DDW) provided recommendations for PFOA and PFOS notification levels.  On July 13, 2018, the State Water Board released guidelines based on DDW’s recommendations for testing and reporting on two PFAS compounds—PFOA and PFOS. The interim notification level for … Continue Reading

It Has Been A Busy Year For the TSCA Risk Assessment Process

As 2019 moves into its closing months, US EPA activity under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) remains front and center.  As part of US EPA’s three-step process of prioritization, risk evaluation and risk management for existing chemicals, as we previously reported, EPA began in 2016 by identifying the first ten chemicals for  risk … Continue Reading

Report Recommends Changes to US EPA’s General Permit for Industrial Stormwater Discharges Ahead of Reissuance

Stormwater permitting requirements for many industrial facilities are set forth in US EPA’s Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity (MSGP) or state permits based on the MSGP.  US EPA last issued the permit in 2015, which expires on June 4, 2020.  While the current Administration does not appear to be predisposed … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes Rule Narrowing States’ Ability to Block Pipeline Projects

On August 7, 2019, US EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the Agency’s newest proposal to amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) to streamline permitting of energy projects. Specifically, the proposed rule would amend the regulations concerning Section 401 of the CWA. It represents US EPA’s first comprehensive effort to promulgate federal rules governing the implementation … Continue Reading

US EPA Proposes to Roll Back Requirements to Control Oil & Gas Industry Methane Emissions

Today, US EPA proposed a rule to roll back the Obama Administration’s rule to control methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. Methane emissions from the oil and gas industry are equivalent to the emissions of one-quarter of all cars in the US, according to US EPA data. Methane emissions are also known to … Continue Reading

Is the U.S. Endangered Species Act Itself Now Threatened or Endangered?

On August 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) unveiled three final rulemakings that will have a significant impact on the future implementation of certain portions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to DOI, the new regulations are “designed to increase transparency and effectiveness and bring the administration of the [ESA] into the … Continue Reading

Why Are We Still Talking About California Prop 65?

For readers who have been following us, you have likely seen our posts tracking California’s consumer right to know law, Prop 65, along with its new amendments and significant litigation. You may think, what more is there to write about a law that is only effective in one state? As it turns out, quite a … Continue Reading

DC Circuit Upholds US EPA Decision Not to Issue New Financial Assurance Requirements for the Hardrock Mining Industry

On July 19, 2019, the D.C. Circuit issued its decision in Idaho Conservation League v. Wheeler, upholding US EPA’s decision not to issue financial responsibility requirements for the hardrock mining industry under Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  The requirements, if adopted, would have cost the hardrock mining industry … Continue Reading

US EPA Announces Policy To Enhance State Partnerships in Civil Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Work

On July 11, 2019, US EPA announced its new policy on Enhancing Effective Partnerships Between the EPA and the States in Civil Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Work (the Policy). The Policy was communicated as a memorandum from Assistant Administrator Susan Parker Bodine to the regional administrators. To date, the Policy is US EPA’s most comprehensive statement … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Affirms Tweaked Auer Deference, But Is It Now a “Paper Tiger”?

In our prior coverage of Kisor v. Wilkie, we predicted that the Court would impose “greater scrutiny” on “administrative agencies’ . . . interpretation of their regulations.”  And the Court did.  The Court’s decision will affect every aspect of the federal government’s regulation of environmental, safety, and health. At the end of its term, the … Continue Reading

US EPA Formally Proposes Repeal of “Once In, Always In” Policy

On June 25, 2019, US EPA issued a proposed rule that would reverse the “once in, always in” policy for sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) that has been in place for more than 20 years. The rulemaking formalizes a January 2018 US EPA memorandum repealing the policy, an action that was challenged by environmental groups and … Continue Reading
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