Cal/OSHA Appeals Board proposes revisions to procedural rules, including elimination of automatic discovery

The California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (Board) is soliciting public comments on proposed revisions to its Rules of Practice and Procedure. The three-member Board hears appeals from public- and private-sector employers regarding citations issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and is authorized to adopt procedural rules related to these appeals. If adopted, the proposals would primarily affect the way appeals are docketed and discovery is conducted during proceedings before the Board.

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Will the SECR regime apply to your organisation under the new corporate reporting regime in the UK?

This blog post provides a brief summary on the commencement of the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting regime which has introduced mandatory corporate reporting obligations for relevant UK companies.

Introduced by the Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018, the SECR regime is a complex and comprehensive new corporate reporting regime that requires relevant UK organisations to report on their annual energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency measures and other associated information. While some companies that fall under the scope of the SECR regime may already report on emissions, a number of the reporting requirements will be completely new. It is therefore important that companies take the time to understand whether the SECR regime will apply and ensure the appropriate internal frameworks are in place for compliance.

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Important questions left unanswered as rare ECJ case rules that debris from a fire on board a ship is excluded from international shipment of waste rules

This blog post provides a brief commentary on the transboundary movement of waste case of Conti 11 v. the Land of Lower Saxony, Germany (Case C689-17).

The law on the international shipment of waste is of increasing importance to many global businesses. The Reed Smith Environmental, Health & Safety team regularly handles cases on this subject involving sectors such as oil and gas, mining, consumer electronics, ship recycling and offshore renewables, as well as many others. Case law in this complex area is sparse.

On 16 May 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave judgment in a case concerning the status of waste resulting from a fire on board a ship. The case warrants closer attention than its seemingly narrow scope and clear outcome might suggest.

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Broader focus on environmental and safety crimes as Harris County announces new charges against Arkema

Following last year’s indictments of Arkema Inc. (Arkema) CEO Richard Rowe and plant manager Leslie Comardelle, a Texas grand jury recently indicted Mike Keough, Arkema’s Vice President of Logistics, in connection with allegations that Arkema failed to provide adequate emergency response information to response officials. Along with this indictment, recent charges against Intercontinental Terminals Company and the hiring of several additional prosecutors reflects Harris County District Attorney’s increased focus on prosecuting environmental and safety crimes. This trend of increased accountability for companies after high-impact incidents was also highlighted in California, where a federal judge overseeing Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) probation ordered PG&E board members to visit Paradise, CA, which was destroyed in the 2018 Camp Fire.

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Chinese National Emissions Trading Scheme Update – some progress but more questions than answers

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment, in its first formal publication on the subject of the Chinese emissions trading scheme since taking over the responsibility for its development from the National Development and Reform Commission, published draft ‘Interim Regulations’ in April 2019 setting out the overarching legislative framework proposed for the scheme.

Whilst this publication is very welcome and long-overdue, its sparsity highlights how much work still remains to be carried out and publicised before the scheme can be fully made operational. This client paper assesses the ‘Interim Regulations’ and considers some of the known-unknowns that follow from its publication.

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The future of UK carbon emissions policy

The UK government is currently consulting on the future policy options for the regulation and pricing of carbon emissions once the UK has left the EU.  The government’s preferred option is to establish a UK-only emissions trading scheme (UK ETS) and to secure a formal link with the EU ETS in order to have renewed access to the EU carbon market. Several alternative options have also been tabled by the government in recognition that establishing a UK-EU linked ETS would be politically fraught and could take considerable time. The consultation will be of particular interest to companies, industry bodies and other stakeholders in the industrial, power and aviation sectors, as well as carbon traders.

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The year it becomes real – ICAO CORSIA: 2019

The ICAO CORSIA initiative has commenced monitoring, reporting and verification obligations imposed on aircraft operators with effect from 1 January 2019. Data collected will form the baseline to determine subsequent offsetting requirements. Aircraft operators attributed to a country likely to be participating in the voluntary compliance phase from 2021 to 2023 should also take note of the various deadlines for compliance and monitor for updates from the ICAO Council on the offset credits that would qualify under CORSIA. Continue Reading

California air emission regulation expands for shipping industry

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) intends to expand its existing Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth Regulation (the Regulation) in order to reduce further air emissions from ships docked in California. Proposed changes include:

  1. Increasing the number of ports and facilities subject to the Regulation;
  2. Expanding the types of vessels covered by the Regulation; and
  3. Changing the threshold for when emission control requirements are triggered.

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Reprint may soon be needed for California cannabis warning labels

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) announced on March 15, 2019, that it is collecting public comments regarding the inclusion of cannabis on the Proposition 65 list of substances known to cause birth defects. Such a finding by OEHHA would require those in the California cannabis industry to change their warning labels, informing users of the risk of birth defects.

One of the many challenges facing the cannabis industry is ensuring compliance with a state’s evolving labeling and warning requirements. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers in the California cannabis industry may have to anticipate further changes in light of the State developing new information about cannabis and related products.

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What does the Pennsylvania EHB aggregation decision and opinion mean for your business?

Clean Air Council v. Department of Environmental Protection and Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, L.P., EHB Dkt. No. 2016073L (Adjudication Jan. 9, 2019)

On January 9, 2019, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board issued its adjudication in an appeal by Clean Air Council of a plan approval issued to Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals, L.P. The Board ultimately remanded the plan approval to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for further consideration. The Board’s discussion of why it remanded the plan approval provides in-depth insight into what it considers to be indicia of project aggregation for purposes of New Source Review (NSR) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) under the Clean Air Act.

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