US EPA Announces Drinking Water Health Advisories for Certain PFAS Chemicals

water drinking fountain

On June 15, 2022, US EPA issued its prepublication notice announcing final drinking water health advisories for PFBS and GenX, as well as interim drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS.1

In this publication, we discuss US EPA’s recent announcement and consider how it could impact industries moving forward:

  • Drinking Water Advisory Levels for GenX, PFBS, PFOA and PFOS
  • National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for PFOA and PFOS
  • IIJA Grant Funding for Emerging Contaminants

To read the full publication, click here.

UK COVID-19 Public Inquiry Terms of Reference finalised and presented to the Prime Minister for approval

In April, we published an article about the UK COVID-19 Public Inquiry’s four-week long consultation process into its draft Terms of Reference (“TORs”), which will shape the scope of issues to be addressed by the Inquiry. Last month, the Inquiry published its summary report into the consultation, having analysed the 20,000 responses received, and meeting over 140 organisations across various sectors in roundtable discussions, as well as 150 bereaved families.

Finalised TORs

The public contributions have assisted the Chair of the Inquiry, Baroness Hallett, in revising the draft TORs. On 21 May, the Chair wrote to the Prime Minister advising him of the proposed changes and asking him to expand their scope to include:

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Heavy Duty Regulatory Update: CARB & US EPA Proposed Rulemaking for NOx Heavy-Duty Offroad and Onroad Truck Standards

Front view of truck

Our team at Squire Patton Boggs continues to track recent regulatory developments for the heavy-duty vehicle and engine sector. In our last blog post on this topic, we covered US EPA’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative, the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) heavy-duty engine and vehicle omnibus regulation, and CARB’s Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation.

US EPA Heavy-Duty Highway Vehicles Proposed Rule Comment Period Ends

For the on-road heavy-duty trucking industry, US EPA finally issued its long-awaited proposed rule on March 7, 2022 for heavy-duty highway vehicles and engines beginning in MY 2027. Heavy-duty highway vehicles are generally those in weight categories ranging between 8,500 lbs to greater than 33,000 lbs GVWR. The comment period recently ended on May 13, 2022. This rule, entitled Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards, 87 Fed. Reg. 17414 (March 28, 2022), is the first step in EPA’s “Clean Trucks Plan.”  As identified in President Biden’s Executive Order 14037, Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks, EPA intends to issue a series of regulations over the next three years to reduce pollution from trucks and buses and to advance the transition to a zero-emissions transportation future.

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US EPA Adoption of New Phase I ASTM Standard E1527 Delayed by Adverse Comments

Stacked Confidential DocumentsBack in November of 2021, ASTM International issued its revised Standard Practice E1527-21 to replace its 2013 version setting forth the specific procedures and requirements for environmental professionals preparing Phase I environmental site assessments.  Preparation of a Phase I report under this Standard satisfies one of the obligations under the All Appropriate Inquires (AAI) Rule for asserting the Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP) protection to liability for property owners under CERCLA.  The new standard contains a number of substantive changes from the 2013 version, including the following:

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Are You Ready for the UK Plastic Packaging Tax?

The plastic packaging tax (the ‘Tax’) came into force on 1 April 2022, with UK businesses which produce or import plastic packaging components in quantities of 10 or more tonnes per year affected. However, despite already being in force, research conducted by YouGov, on behalf of Veolia, has found that a high proportion of retail and manufacturing businesses (77% of those surveyed) are still not aware of the Tax.

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UK Government publishes guidance on the implementation of the Food (Promotion and Placement) Regulations 2021

Supermarket shelvesThe Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 will come into force on 1 October 2022 and impact foods High in Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) by introducing restrictions on volume offers and new rules on placement in retail stores and promotion. These include a 9 p.m. watershed on all advertising of HFSS foods and an outright ban on paid online advertising of HFSS foods, but additionally, the regulations prescribe the location where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store.

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US States Charge Into the Future with Federal Support for EV Charging Infrastructure

White House at NightEarlier this year, a new $5 Billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program was established under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  The Program will provide funding to States to help with the strategic deployment of a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by 2030, with the goal of providing convenient, reliable, affordable, and equitable charging experiences for all users.

The $5 billion will be distributed to States over five years, with $615 million available in fiscal year 2022.  The funding will be apportioned among States (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) on a formula basis. Under the formula, each State receives a share of program funding equal to the State’s share of the combined amount that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) distributes in: (i) Federal-aid highway apportionments; and (ii) Puerto Rico Highway Program funding.  Excluding outliers like California and Texas (slated to receive $56 million and $60 million respectively), the Program will see an average of just less than $10 million distributed to each State in fiscal 2022. Continue Reading

ESG Hot Legal Issues for Food Manufacturers (UK)

Squire Patton Boggs invites you to join us for a webinar on 5 May 2022 where we will discuss the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues that affect food manufacturers, from changes in legislation, priorities for remaining compliant, navigating supply chain transparency and how, together, these feed into the wider corporate governance obligations both current and in the future.

More event details and registration information can be found here.

New EU Ecodesign law – “Making sustainable products the norm” or empty shell?

At the end of March, the European Commission (Commission) presented the Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) as part of a ‘Circular Economy Package I’, together with a Sustainable Textiles Strategy, and proposals for a new directive empowering consumers for the green transition (please see Sustainability Outlook March 2022), and a new Construction Products Regulation. In its new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP 2.0) of March 2020, the Commission had foreseen adopting the SPI in 2021.

The Commission aims at “making sustainable products the norm” and reducing negative life cycle environmental impacts of products, while benefitting from efficient digital solutions, by setting a framework for Ecodesign requirements, creating an EU digital product passport and tackling the destruction of unsold consumer products.

In particular, the SPI includes the proposal for an Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), which would repeal the current Ecodesign Directive 2009/125. It establishes a horizontal framework and broadens the scope of the Ecodesign Directive beyond energy-related products, i.e. beyond any product that has an impact on energy consumption during use. The new Regulation would apply to all physical goods, including components and intermediate products, except food, feed, medicinal and veterinary products, living plants and animals, and products of human origin. According to the Commission’s explanatory memorandum, the ESPR is meant to address products that are not covered by existing legislation or where that legislation does not sufficiently address sustainability, and Ecodesign requirements in the delegated acts that it will adopt cannot supersede requirements set in legislative acts (of the Council and European Parliament).

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Furthering the Biden Administration’s Environmental Goals Using the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee

AgricultureRecently, in celebration of National Agriculture Day, US EPA Administrator Regan announced that US EPA had rechartered its Farm, Ranch & Rural Communities Advisory Committee (FRRCC).  Administrator Regan simultaneously announced a new charge topic for the FRRCC as well.

The FRRCC was developed in 2007 and focuses on providing policy advice, information, and recommendations to the US EPA Administrator on a variety of environmental issues and policies relating to agriculture and rural America.  Charge topics are announced approximately every two years, with the FRRCC’s newest charge topic set for years 2022–2024.

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