White House Finalizes Long-awaited Build America, Buy America (BABA) Guidance

The White House has announced long-awaited final guidance to federal agencies to implement domestic content and manufacturing requirements in federally funded infrastructure projects. The Biden administration guidance applies broadly to the use of iron, steel, and other common construction materials and products and, as a result, is expected to have broad implications for awardees of federal funding, prospective applicants, contractors, and suppliers.

Read the full publication here.

Reforming Cost-Benefit Calculations under Circular A-4: Implications for Environmental Rulemaking

Would you rather pay your bills tomorrow or next year?  What about your paycheck?  Intuitively, most people want delayed costs and immediate benefits, and so want checks now and liability later.  This poses a challenge for policymakers when weighing the costs and benefits of a new policy: is reasonable to pay 90 cents today for a dollar tomorrow—and what if tomorrow’s dollar is a benefit other than money?  When federal agencies undergo notice-and-comment rulemaking, they have to make these calculations.  Immediate costs and benefits must be considered, while future factors are discounted to their present value to account for the intervening time.  Selecting the discount rate can have material implications for any economic analysis, and especially for environmental rules which tend to involve front-loaded compliance costs and primarily future benefits.

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Environmental Law Institute webinar: TSCA Reform – Seven Years Later

Electronic News

The Environmental Law Institute will host its seventh annual Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Reform conference on Thursday, June 29, 2023 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET.

In this webinar, panelists will discuss challenges and accomplishments since the implementation of the 2016 Lautenberg Amendments and where the TSCA stands today. Topics will include risk evaluation, risk management, new chemical review, PFAS and more.

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UK Annual Environmental, Safety & Health Conference 2023 – Get to Know Our Speakers

After a few years off, we are delighted to bring back our Annual UK Environmental, Safety & Health Conference this June. The theme is Managing Developing ESH Risks in the UK and Internationally.

We are excited to have the following speakers join us for what will be an interesting discussion:

  • Heather Beach – Heather is the Founder and Director of Healthy Work Company. She is a prominent figure in the health and safety sector, having founded “Women in Health and Safety”, and has been featured in numerous consumer publications and on TV. Heather has won Business Leader of the Year at UBM and Top Ten Most Influential in H&S in 2018, 2019, and 2020. She provides wellbeing strategy support such as ISO45003 and training in wellbeing related topics. Heather will present on “Creating Psychological Safety in your Workplace”.

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US Supreme Court Narrows the Definition of “Waters of the United States” with Respect to Wetlands for Purposes of Federal Jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act

On May 25, 2023, the US Supreme Court, in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, ___ US_ (2023) (“Sackett”) held that “waters of the United States” for purposes of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) refer “only to geographical features that are described in ordinary parlance as “streams, oceans, rivers and lakes’ and to adjacent wetlands that are ‘indistinguishable’ from those bodies of water due to a ‘continuous surface connection’” a test first articulated in the plurality opinion in Rapanos v. United States, 547 US 715 (2006).

Read the full publication here.

From Farm to Table: How the Supreme Court’s Pork Ruling Impacts States’ Rights and Doing Business in California

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In a heavily fractured decision last month, the U.S. Supreme Court held in National Pork Producers Council, et al v. Ross, et al, that a California law (Cal. Health & Safety Code 25991, known as Proposition 12), which forbids the in-state sale of whole pork meat that comes from breeding pigs “confined in a cruel manner,” did not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause impermissibly burdening interstate commerce. While the decision deeply impacts the pork industry, it may also have broader impacts on states’ rights and ultimately impact all types of companies doing business in California.

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Plastic Packaging Tax: Proposed Updates to Recycled Content Definition to Facilitate Chemical Recycling

The UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) was introduced in April 2022. It was initially set at £200 per tonne (£210.82 since April 2023) and applies to importers and manufacturers of plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been seeking to raise more awareness of PPT and has indicated that the “soft landing” first year of the new tax has ended, and enforcement should now be expected for non-compliance.

Read the full publication here.

Heavy-Duty Regulatory Update: Reviewing US EPA’s Waiver for CARB’s Advanced Clean Trucks Regulations and US EPA’s Proposed Phase 3 GHG Emissions Standards

Front view of truck

Our team at Squire Patton Boggs monitors developments surrounding the heavy-duty vehicle and engine sector.  Our last blog post on this topic covered updates on US EPA’s proposed Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards and California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) rulemaking for off-road diesel engine regulations.  In this post, we will discuss CARB’s Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation (ACT Regulation), US EPA’s recent waiver approval for the ACT Regulation, US EPA’s recent Phase 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards, and expectations for other developments in the sector moving forward.

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Reviewing US EPA’s New Cybersecurity Evaluation Requirements in Sanitary Surveys Conducted at Public Water Systems

Water

Previously, we discussed the Biden-Harris Administration’s emphasis on cybersecurity in the water utility sector.  This month, the Administration continued that trend by issuing a final memorandum interpreting the regulatory requirements pertaining to public water system (PWS) sanitary surveys to require that states evaluate operational technology for cybersecurity when conducting the periodic sanitary surveys.  A fact sheet issued by US EPA also provides a brief outline of the new memorandum’s requirements. 

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Deposit return scheme: Circularity Scotland hails “milestone” producer registration and reaffirms August 2023 launch date amid growing scepticism

With a planned launch date of 16 August 2023, the pressure is on for the Scottish government to deliver the deposit return scheme (“DRS”) for drinks containers. Despite increased scrutiny of industry readiness, Circularity Scotland (“CSL”) reaffirmed on 2 March that the scheme is on track and that producers responsible for more than 95% of containers sold in Scotland had registered with the scheme.

However, as the “go live” date moves closer, there are still challenges around how the DRS will operate in practice. For producers and retailers, who have new legal obligations under the scheme, this raises questions around how to ensure their compliance in time.

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