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Updated OSHA Guidance Demonstrates Employers’ Need for Further Pandemic Planning (US)

On May 19, 2020, OSHA issued two updated memorandums to regional administrators and state plan designees. The first updated the agency’s enforcement guidance for recording COVID-19 cases in the workplace. As we discussed here, OSHA originally indicated on April 10, 2020 that it would be exercising “enforcement discretion” and focusing COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements in the healthcare, … Continue Reading

Political Debate Heats Up Over Private Financial Institutions and the Fossil Fuel Industry Amidst COVID-19 Economic Uncertainty

Given the current economic stressors affecting the fossil fuel industry, there is growing political interest in investment policies that financial institutions are applying to that industry.  On May 7, Republican lawmakers penned a letter to the Trump Administration that cited the economic instability of the COVID‑19 pandemic as the basis for a request for regulatory … Continue Reading

Heavy-Duty Truck and Engine Regulation by US EPA and CARB: Agency Rulemaking in the COVID-19 Era

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are proceeding with development of proposed rules for on-road heavy-duty vehicle and engine regulation. As previously covered in our blog, US EPA and DOT already issued a final rule in early April rolling back greenhouse gas emission (GHG) standards in the … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Adopts “Functional Equivalent” Standard for Discharges of Pollutants to Surface Water Through Groundwater

Recently, in a 6-3 decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (Maui), the United States Supreme Court held that a discharge of pollution to groundwater may be regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The Supreme Court’s review arose from a case involving a wastewater treatment and reclamation facility in Hawaii that injects … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Best Practices for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes

On April 29, 2020, US EPA and the CDC issued guidance on how best to disinfect and clean workplaces, schools, and other public spaces as the US economy begins to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance, mainly directed to employers, facility managers, and public school officials, is part of the larger federal “Guidelines for … Continue Reading

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 … 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 business. 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 … 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 events 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 … Continue Reading

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

On 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 … Continue Reading

OSHA State Plan Agencies Issue COVID-19 Guidance

Over the past several months, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has steadily 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 … 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. … 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 employers 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 … Continue Reading

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 provide 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 … Continue Reading

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 Health 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 … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues New Guidance for Hazardous Waste Cleanup & Emergency Response Sites Impacted by COVID-19

On April 10, 2020, US EPA issued updated interim guidance to regional offices for dealing with the “challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation.” The guidance applies to all US EPA field activities, including cleanup under the Superfund program, RCRA corrective action, TSCA PCB cleanup provisions, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Underground Storage Tank program. … Continue Reading

US EPA and US DOT Issue Final Rule Rolling Back Vehicle Emissions Standard

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, US EPA and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued the final rule rolling back greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for vehicles. This long-awaited final rule was proposed in August 2018 and represents the culmination of an extended and controversial rulemaking. We have previously covered the rollback and … Continue Reading

WEBINAR April 14 – US ESH Webinar Series – Environmental Compliance During COVID-19: Federal and State Agency Guidance on Enforcement and Practical Tips for Businesses

Among the myriad concerns facing industry, many are confronting new environmental challenges caused by staffing issues, essential business determinations, stay-at-home orders, supply chain disruption and other complications from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Environmental regulators are aware of these challenges and, in many cases, have shared valuable guidance on how to mitigate related compliance problems and … Continue Reading

US EPA Offers Advice to NPDES Permittees on Documenting COVID-Related Noncompliance While Environmental Groups Seek More Stringent Reporting Requirements

On March 26, 2020, US EPA issued a temporary policy regarding enforcement of routine monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting violations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  As discussed in an earlier blog post, US EPA’s temporary policy sets out the Agency’s overall policy to exercise of enforcement discretion during the COVID-19 pandemic and generally not seek penalties … Continue Reading

California Prop 65 Amendments on Responsibility to Warn Are Effective On April 1, 2020

In the last few weeks, product supply chains have been experiencing massive interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some industries, these challenges have resulted in increased communication among manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.  Communication across the supply chain is also recognized in new amendments under California’s Proposition 65 “Clear and Reasonable Warning” regulations (Prop 65). … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues Temporary Policy on COVID-19 Implications for the Agency’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program

On March 26, 2020, US EPA Assistant Administrator, Susan Bodine, authored and released guidance to all governmental and private sector entities entitled “COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program.”  The seven-page guidance memorandum outlines the Agency’s “temporary” policy governing issues of noncompliance that arise (1) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit to Review Montana’s Nutrient Variance Approach: What You Need To Know

Control of nutrient loadings to US surface waters has widely proven to be a difficult task, and nutrient levels in many of our waterways continue to fail in satisfying the stated goals of the Clean Water Act.  In 2015, the State of Montana established stringent water quality standards for nutrients.  Recognizing the economic and social … Continue Reading

US EPA Revises TSCA Chemical Data Reporting Requirements and Extends Deadline for 2020 Reporting Period

With the 2020 reporting period under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule rapidly approaching, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has announced a number of key changes to the information that chemical manufacturers and importers must submit to the agency pursuant to the CDR rule.  US EPA also announced … Continue Reading

OMB Directs US EPA and Other Federal Agencies to Refocus on Mission-Critical Functions Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic; OECA Guidance on Implications for Enforcement and Compliance Forthcoming

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance to the heads of federal departments and agencies titled, “Federal Agency Operational Alignment to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus COVID-19.”  The guidance directs agencies to “prioritize all resources to slow the transmission of COVID-19, while ensuring our mission-critical activities continue.”  Under the guidance, agencies … Continue Reading

US EPA Issues List of Disinfectants Qualified for Use Against COVID-19 and Initiates Expedited Review Process for Approving Product Claims Against the Virus

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has issued a list of nearly 300 disinfectants that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list can be found here.  According to US EPA, the disinfectants on the list have not been tested specifically against SARS-CoV-2, but they are expected to be … Continue Reading
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