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MSHA Officially Delays Effective Date of Workplace Examination Rule Until June 2018

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) officially delayed the effective date of the controversial “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines” final rule by a full eight months to June 2, 2018 and temporarily reinstated the previous versions of the workplace examination rules – deemed 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002T and 30 C.F.R. § 57.18002T –  that were in … Continue Reading

US EPA’s Superfund Task Force Recommendations May Expedite Cleanup and Reuse Process for Contaminated Sites

Shortly after being confirmed as the new US EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt appointed a Superfund Task Force to review the approximately 1,300 Superfund sites in the United States and make recommendations on how to improve and restructure the cleanup process. Administrator Pruitt observed that “many of these sites have been listed as Superfund sites for decades, … Continue Reading

MSHA Workplace Examination Rule Delayed Once Again

On January 23, 2017, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published its long-awaited final rule regarding modified workplace examination requirements in non-coal mines.  The rule was originally scheduled to go into effect in May of this year, but implementation was delayed twice until October 2, 2017. Over the past several months, operators have been … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Holds US EPA Cannot Stay Implementation of Methane Rule Issued by Obama Administration

On July 3, 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated US EPA’s decision to stay implementation of portions of a final rule concerning methane and other greenhouse gases.  In Clean Air Council v. Pruitt, a three-judge panel held that US EPA lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to stay the … Continue Reading

Warning: Only One Year Left Before New Prop 65 Regulations Become Operative On August 30, 2018

As of today’s date, businesses have just one more year to comply with the newly-amended Clear and Reasonable Warnings regulations from California’s Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”), which take effect on August 30, 2018.  Businesses should consider the Clear and Reasonable Warning compliance requirements and guidance outlined below now to be prepared for this deadline and minimize the risk of … Continue Reading

US EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Propose Re-Codification of Definition of “Waters of the United States” Pre-Existing Rules

On July 27, 2017, US EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers published a Proposed Rule regarding the “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States; – Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules.” The Proposed Rule is a “first step in a comprehensive two-step process intended to review and revise” the definition of “waters of the United States” … Continue Reading

Deadlines Set for Submission of Chemical Substance Notifications to US EPA under the TSCA Inventory Reset Rule

US EPA’s rule to “reset” the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory of chemical substances was formally published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2017. This means that the clock is now running on the 180-day deadline for chemical manufacturers and importers to submit to US EPA the chemical substance notifications required by the … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Three Major Rules Affecting Chemicals Industry

On June 22, 2017, US EPA issued three major rules required by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA), which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 2016.   The three TSCA rules addressed: (1) “resetting” the TSCA Inventory, (2) chemical substances prioritization, and (3) risk evaluations for chemical substances.  … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Strikes Down Portions of the RCRA Definition of Solid Waste Rule

On July 7, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision striking down portions of US EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule, which defines when certain hazardous secondary materials (i.e. recyclable materials generated as the remainder of industrial processes) become “discarded” and thus subject to regulation as a solid waste.  The Rule, … Continue Reading

What Happened to US EPA’s New Source Performance Standards and Emission Guidelines for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills?

In 2016, US EPA finalized two rules designed to reduce methane and non-methane organic compound emissions from landfills.  These rules were adopted as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan: Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.  US EPA issued final New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to reduce emissions caused by landfill gas from new, modified and reconstructed municipal solid waste (MSW) … Continue Reading

US Lawmakers Target the Endangered Species Act While Advocates Continue to Sue to Shape the Act’s Implementation

Since President Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, the ESA has directed the identification and protection of endangered and threatened species in the United States. While President Obama remarked that his Administration had “seen more victories under the Endangered Species Act than any previous administration,” the Obama Administration generally applied the ESA … Continue Reading

US Dam Infrastructure Earns a “D” in American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card

In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) completed its quadrennial infrastructure report card, giving American infrastructure a “D +” overall, and a slightly lower “D” for the “Dams” category. With 90,580 existing water impoundments in the US, there is need and opportunity to undertake a variety of activities at all levels of government and across … Continue Reading

Squire Patton Boggs Helps Secure a Victory for the State of Colorado at the US Supreme Court

On June 26, the US Supreme Court denied New Mexico’s petition seeking to institute an original action against Colorado for the 2015 Gold King Mine spill. An original action in the US Supreme Court is a lawsuit between states. Invoking that rarely used procedure, New Mexico sought to hold Colorado liable for the Gold King Mine spill.  … Continue Reading

Traditional SEPs and Mitigation Projects May Still Pass Muster under US DOJ’s New Settlement Policy

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued a new policy barring payments to non-governmental third parties as part of most civil and criminal settlements.  The memorandum does not detail how the US Department of Justice (DOJ) will implement the policy, leaving much to departmental interpretation.  The language is broad enough to have significant impacts on environmental settlements.  … Continue Reading

OSHA to Hold Stakeholder Meetings on Voluntary Protection Programs

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced its plan to hold a stakeholder meeting in Washington, D.C. on July 17, 2017, “to discuss the future direction of the agency’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP),” the agency’s initiative to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through cooperation, collaboration, and targeted hazard prevention and control.  A second stakeholder … Continue Reading

US EPA Approves Ohio’s Lake Erie Impairment Decision After Lawsuits Filed

US EPA recently approved Ohio’s 2016 list of impaired waters not meeting water quality goals which did not list the open waters of the Western Basin of Lake Erie as impaired. A coalition of environmental and conservation groups had recently filed lawsuits to force US EPA action on Ohio’s proposed listing in both the D.C. … Continue Reading

US Congress Creates New Subcommittee to Focus on Challenges and Opportunities for Local Governments

Local governments have a new forum on Capitol Hill focusing on the many challenges and opportunities they face: the Intergovernmental Affairs Subcommittee in the US House of Representatives. The new Subcommittee was created in January at the start of the new Congress and is led by Chairman Gary J. Palmer (AL-6) and Ranking Member Val … Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Join Fight Over “1-in 2-out” Trump Executive Order

Attorneys General from 14 states—led by West Virginia and Wisconsin—filed an amicus brief on April 17 in support of the “1-in 2-out” Executive Order (EO) issued by President Trump.  This EO, which we have covered previously, requires that: For every new regulation promulgated, two regulations are eliminated; Any new incremental costs associated with new regulations … Continue Reading

D.C. Court Gives US EPA 3 Years to Update National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants

On March 13, 2017, D.C. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan granted summary judgment to an environmental advocacy group and ordered US EPA to update its National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant (NESHAP) rulemakings for 20 listed major source categories in three years. The soon-to-be updated major source categories will affect several industries, including: … Continue Reading

OSHA Delays Effective Date of Controversial Rule Regulating Occupational Exposure to Beryllium

On March 16, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted a 60 day effective-date delay for its controversial rule regulating occupational exposure to beryllium (the Final Beryllium Rule). The rule is now scheduled to be effective on May 20, 2017. The delay in the rule reflects the agency’s compliance with a directive issued … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Declines Review of US EPA Practices on Blending and Mixing Zones

On February 28, the D.C. Circuit in Center for Regulatory Reasonableness v. US EPA dismissed a challenge to statements made by the US EPA regarding two wastewater treatment techniques – blending and the use of mixing zones. US EPA previously prohibited these techniques in specified circumstances, and in 2013, the Eighth Circuit vacated these prohibitions in Iowa League … Continue Reading

Are Changes on the Horizon to the Deference Historically Afforded to US Administrative Agencies?

As we have previously discussed on this blog, a cornerstone of US administrative law, Chevron deference, is in flux.  That fluctuation and its eventual resolution will impact US businesses, including in the promulgation of critical environmental regulations.  Chevron deference describes a doctrine articulated by a unanimous US Supreme Court in its 1984 decision, Chevron USA, Inc. … Continue Reading

Coalition Seeks to Compel US EPA Action on States’ Impaired Waters Listings for Lake Erie

A coalition of environmental and conservation groups have given US EPA notice of their intent to sue over the Agency’s failure to timely review Ohio’s and Michigan’s biennial impaired waters listings. Under §303(d)(2) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), US EPA is required to approve or disapprove a state’s proposed list of impaired waters not … Continue Reading
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