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 will include an update regarding US EPA’s and the US Army Corps’ of Engineers’ final rule to streamline the definition of “waters of the United States,” US EPA’s proposed revisions to the state water quality certification process, and the implications of Northern Plains Resource Council, et al, v US Army Corps of Engineers on the nationwide permitting program. We will also discuss the Council on Environmental Quality’s proposed revisions to its rules implementing the National Environmental Policy Act. Finally, we will examine the US Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al.

Please join Bill Shuster, Karen Winters, and Carolyn McIntosh for the fourth session in the US ESH Webinar Series on Tuesday, May 5 between 1 and 2 p.m. EDT – register here – as they discuss “Environmental Challenges Associated with Infrastructure Development.” For more information about the US ESH Webinar Series contact Christopher Timms, +1 602 528 4110.

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 to COVID-19).

Below we will take you through some of the key points of the proposed new tax regime and explain what will and will not fall within its scope. Continue Reading

Flexibility for Transactional and Regulatory Requirements in the Wake of COVID-19

In a little over a couple of months, the COVID-19 outbreak has dramatically altered the landscape of Virusbusiness. Companies are struggling to cope with massive uncertainty and an array of unforeseen challenges, including everything from supply chain and revenue disruptions caused by reduced consumer demand, to staffing shortages, travel restrictions, business closures, and other such issues. At the same time, these companies are bound by obligations in a variety of transactional instruments and regulatory requirements developed in normal times—like purchase and sale agreements, agreed consent orders or decrees, and operating permits. Those transactional instruments presume continued performance in all but the most unusual of circumstances. Similarly, regulatory requirements at law demand strict compliance. In the wake of novel COVID-19, parties are increasingly pressed to find creative ways to address their inability to meet such requirements. While this is far from a “one-size-fits-all” exercise, three areas of potentially available flexibility are considered below. Continue Reading

WEBINAR April 28 – US ESH Webinar Series – TSCA 2020: What you Need to Know About the Months Ahead

Chemical manufacturers, importers and processors will be significantly impacted by a number of major Electronic Newsevents and deadlines coming up under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the months ahead.

In June, the US EPA must complete risk evaluations on 10 substances and then initiate risk management rules that could restrict or even ban certain uses of these substances. At the same time, the US EPA must initiate new risk evaluations on 20 other “high-priority” substances, including developing scoping documents that will be subject to public comment. Moreover, by late May, companies that manufacture or import any of these 20 high-priority substances must “self-identify” and will be required to pay part of a US$1.35 million fee for each risk evaluation, if they do not qualify for one of the exemptions established by the US EPA. On top of it all, the US EPA made a number of important changes to the information that companies must provide under the TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule about the substances they manufacture or import, with the reporting period beginning June 1.

Chemical manufacturers, processors and users need to understand the effect and implications of these – and other – events for them and stay on top of the tidal wave of TSCA activity that is heading their way.

Please join Steve Owens and Allen A. Kacenjar for the third session in the US ESH Webinar Series on Tuesday, April 28 between 1 and 2 p.m. EDT – register here – as they discuss “TSCA 2020: What You Need to Know About the Months Ahead.”  For more information about the US ESH Webinar Series contact Christopher Timms, +1 602 528 4110.

We Finally Have the US Supreme Court Decision in Atlantic Richfield, But Who Really Won?

Guardian of Law Statue United States Supreme Court BuildingOn April 20, 2020, the US Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Gregory Christian. In short, the Court held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) does not strip Montana state courts of jurisdiction over landowners’ claims for restoration damages; but the Court also held that CERCLA requires the landowners to seek approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their restoration plans. In other words, the landowners’ state law claims may proceed, but realizing any damages awarded as a result of those claims requires US EPA approval. So, who really won? Continue Reading

OSHA State Plan Agencies Issue COVID-19 Guidance

Over the past several months, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has Virussteadily issued guidance to both employers and agency officials on strategies to navigate regulatory matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as we have discussed here, here, here, here, and here. However, federal OSHA is not the only government agency addressing the crisis at hand. Below is an outline of efforts OSHA State Plan agencies have also implemented, as of April 23, 2020, to address COVID-19 issues in the workplace. Should you operate in any one or more of these jurisdictions, you will want to be cognizant of the guidance outlined below. (Please note that this outline is limited to measures that state “OSHA” agencies have taken to address COVID-19; it does not include all state measures that state governments have taken, such as shelter-in-place orders, business closures, public health orders, and so forth). 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. The rule was signed by Administrator Wheeler on January 23, 2020, but publication was withheld until now.  The 2020 Rule represents the culmination of the Trump Administration’s efforts to revisit, and revise or rescind, the controversial revisions to the definition of “waters of the United States” promulgated during the Obama Administration (2015 Rule). The 2020 Rule, controversial as well, will become effective sixty (60) days after publication in the Federal Register, which is June 22, 2020.

Continue Reading

WEBINAR April 21 – US ESH Webinar Series – COVID-19: Safety and Health Law on the New Frontier

While COVID-19 has turned everyone’s focus toward safety and health generally, it has forced US Electronic Newsemployers specifically to focus on the safety and health of their employees during an unprecedented time. Employers in the US have common law and statutory duties to ensure safe workplaces, but the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted many of the traditional means that employers have relied on for doing so, as well as greatly accelerated timeframes to adapt and adjust accordingly. The pandemic has also shone a glaring spotlight on a variety of workplace safety issues, including engineering, administrative and safety practice controls, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, training, employee relations, hazard communication, recordkeeping, workers’ rights, and up-to-date policies and procedures.

Please join Peter Gould, Matthew Cooper, Cole Wist and Dr. Emily Haas of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for the second session in the US ESH Webinar Series on Tuesday, April 21 between 1 and 2 p.m. EDT – register here – as they discuss and provide guidance regarding what employers can and should be doing now to ensure employee safety and health remain in compliance with safety and health laws and requirements. For more information about the US ESH Webinar Series contact Christopher Timms, +1 602 528 4110.

To Provide an N95 Mask or Not to…That is the Question Plaguing Some Employers (US)

One of the biggest questions plaguing employers during the COVID-19 pandemic is whether or not to Virusprovide employees with respirators—the holy grail of all personal protective equipment (PPE) at this time. On March 11, 2020, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum, entitled “Making General Use Respirators Available,” which mandated all necessary efforts by the government and public at large to make respiratory devices available for use by healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate against further transmission of the virus. In response, OSHA has issued several forms of temporary enforcement guidance for the Respiratory Protection standard, as well as its April 13, 2020 Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and both the healthcare and general industries have scrambled to comply with this exacting standard in the face of extensive shortages.

For full coverage of OSHA’s guidance on respiratory protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, continue reading on our Employment Law Worldview Blog at this link.

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 VirusHealth 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 Prevention (CDC) and the White House, and builds upon past guidance OSHA has offered to employers when dealing with other (not so) similar pandemics. Continue Reading