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US EPA Revises RCRA Definition of Solid Waste Rule to Comport with D.C. Circuit Rulings

On May 30, 2018, US EPA issued a final rule to revise the regulations associated with the 2015 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule.  US EPA performed this rulemaking to bring the regulations in line with the D.C. Circuit’s 2017 and 2018 rulings in American Petroleum Institute v. EPA (Case No. 09-1038), which vacated and … Continue Reading

Deadline Nears for US EPA TSCA Nanomaterials Reporting Requirement

The August 14, 2018 deadline for reporting under US EPA’s nanomaterials reporting rule is rapidly approaching. US EPA promulgated the rule in January 2017 under Section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 82 Fed. Reg. 3641 (Jan. 12, 2017). The rule requires any person that manufactured, imported or processed a covered nanomaterial substance … Continue Reading

White House Seeks Guidance on Environmental Review Standards

Government agencies may soon use a different framework for evaluating the environmental impact of their decisions. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the executive agency tasked with ensuring that federal agencies meet their obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), published a notice on June 20, 2018 seeking input from the public about changes to the … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Final TSCA Mercury Reporting Rule

On June 27, 2018 US EPA formally published its final rule under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to require reporting by persons who manufacture, import or intentionally use mercury and certain “mercury-added products.” 83 Fed. Reg. 30054 (June 27, 2018). The final rule is effective on August 27, 2018. US EPA was required … Continue Reading

Uncertainty Looms as Ohio Seeks to Address Lake Erie Impairment Issues Following Criticism from District Court

Ohio has reversed course on its prior decision not to include the open waters of Lake Erie in its 2016 impaired waters listing following an April 11 ruling by Judge James G. Carr of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  The decision criticized the maneuvering of US EPA and Ohio EPA … Continue Reading

US EPA Releases Problem Formulation Documents for “First Ten” TSCA Risk Evaluations

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has formally released “problem formulation” documents for the risk evaluations it is conducting on the “first ten” chemical substances under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Formal notice of the problem formulation documents was published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2018.  Comments on the … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Filed in Response to US EPA Rollback of Tailpipe Emission Standards

On May 1, 2018, 17 states, including California, as well as the District of Columbia filed a Petition for Review in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in response to US EPA’s announcement that it would be rolling back tailpipe emission standards. As we previously reported, California stated in April that it was … Continue Reading

US Department of Energy Geothermal Plan Offers Opportunity But Deadlines Approaching

Geothermal energy production has proven to be a reliable renewable energy source with great potential to contribute to US (and global) energy grid stability and resiliency.  Indeed, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has described geothermal energy as “a clean, efficient, and nearly inexhaustible domestic energy resource.”  Nevertheless, geothermal developers often run into excessive up … Continue Reading

Groups Request Comment Period Extension on US EPA’s Proposed Rule Banning the Use of “Secret Science”

US EPA announced on April 24, 2018 that EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, had signed a proposed rule to strengthen the science used in regulations issued by US EPA. The proposed rule, “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” was published on April 30, 2018 and would require that – where scientific studies are pivotal to US EPA’s regulatory action … Continue Reading

President Trump’s Proposed Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America Portends Significant Changes for Real Estate Developers, If Adopted

President Trump’s Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America includes several modifications that many believe will streamline and accelerate redevelopment of brownfield sites that are currently tied up in Superfund cleanups.  Despite previously cutting funding for the federal brownfields program, the President’s proposed infrastructure plan would increase access to funding for Superfund and brownfields sites … Continue Reading

A Tilted Balance: Emerging Regulation of Nutrient Pollution in Ohio

Nutrient pollution has become a growing concern in the State of Ohio and elsewhere along the Great Lakes.  In the summer of 2014, large algae blooms in Lake Erie generated toxins that contaminated the City of Toledo’s drinking water.  In response, the City instructed 400,000 people not to drink or cook with tap water, prompting … Continue Reading

Flint Michigan Lead-Tainted Water Class Action Allowed to Continue

The US Supreme Court has denied review of a July 2017 Sixth Circuit ruling that revived two federal class action lawsuits seeking redress for plaintiffs alleging injury as a result of the lead-tainted water crises in Flint, Michigan.  In addition to ensuring that the Flint, Michigan water crises remains active in the national conversation, the Supreme Court’s … Continue Reading

California Threatens Lawsuit Against US EPA as Pruitt Threatens to Roll Back Emissions Standards

In 2012, California, the Obama Administration, and major US automakers agreed (2012 Agreement) to nearly double fuel efficiency fleet-wide by 2025, raising the average fuel economy of new cars and light trucks to more than 50 MPG, or roughly 36 MPG in real-world driving. As part of the 2012 Agreement, a midterm review was scheduled … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Declines to Reconsider Key Agency Deference Standard

On March 19, 2018, the US Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari in Garco Construction, Inc. v. Speer.  In doing so, the Court declined an opportunity to revisit an important and controversial administrative deference standard, known as Auer or Seminole Rock deference, which requires courts to give “controlling weight” to an agency’s interpretation … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Further Clarifies the RCRA Definition of Solid Waste Rule Ruling

On March 6, 2018, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals modified its 2017 ruling in American Petroleum Institute v. EPA, No. 09-1038, concerning US EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which defines when hazardous recyclable materials are excluded from regulation as hazardous waste.  The end result … Continue Reading

Amid Pushback, US EPA’s Reversal on “Once In Always In” Policy Opens Door to Reduced Clean Air Act Obligations

On January 25, 2018, Bill Wehrum, the new Assistant Administrator of US EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, issued a memorandum to all Regional Air Division Directors rescinding US EPA’s historic “Once In Always In” (OIAI) policy for major sources under US EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) program. Under the “Once In Always In” (OIAI) … Continue Reading

Navigating the “No Affiliation” Requirement to Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser CERCLA Liability Protection

­An important consideration for purchasers of US commercial property is establishing Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (“BFPP”) liability protection to mitigate the risk of liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et. seq.   Because the current owner of a property where a release of hazardous substances has occurred … Continue Reading

Warning: Only 6 Months Left Before New Prop 65 Regulations Become Operative on August 30, 2018

As of today’s date, businesses have only 6 months to comply with the newly-amended Clear and Reasonable Warnings regulations in California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65), which take effect on August 30, 2018. We posted a 1-year reminder here, which discusses the history of Prop 65, the new requirements in the regulations, and the potential increase in … Continue Reading

The Future of the Clean Power Plan as US EPA’s Proposed Repeal Looms

On October 16, 2017, US EPA, under Administrator Scott Pruitt, proposed the repeal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and the Agency is accepting comments on the repeal until April 26, 2018. Following a review of the statute’s language, surrounding policy, and legislative history, US EPA proposed to “return to a reading of CAA section 111(a)(1) … as … Continue Reading

US EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes for 2018 Unsatisfactory to Many

On November 30, 2017, US EPA issued the final volume requirements and associated percentage standards for its renewable fuel standards (RFS) program for calendar year 2018, as well as the biomass-based diesel volume requirement for 2019. The annual volumes establish quotas for how much renewable fuel must be added to gasoline and diesel in order to, … Continue Reading

Legal Challenges Ahead After President Trump Reduces Utah National Monuments

On December 4, 2017, President Trump issued two Presidential Proclamations reducing the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by more than 800,000 acres and 1.1 million acres, respectively.  Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments had been previously created by Presidents Obama and Clinton pursuant to the Antiquities Act of 1906.  The announcement by … Continue Reading

New US EPA Memorandum Suggests a Hand’s-Off Approach to NSR Applicability Determinations

On December 7, 2017, US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a memorandum to all Regional Administrators to offer guidance regarding the Agency’s interpretation of New Source Review (NSR) preconstruction permitting requirements in response to recent decisions from the Sixth Circuit in EPA v. DTE Energy Co.  Highlighting the lack of unanimity among the individual Sixth … Continue Reading
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