The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB or Agency) recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for its accidental reporting rule in the Federal Register (Proposed Rule). The CSB was established by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which directed the Agency, among other things, to investigate and report on any accidental release “resulting in a fatality, serious injury or substantial property damage.” The statute also required the CSB to issue a rule governing the reporting of accidental releases to the CSB under 42 U.S.C. section 7412(r)(6)(C)(iii), which the Agency has not done since it began operations in 1998. Following a lawsuit by advocacy groups, the Agency is now being required by court order to promulgate reporting requirements by February 2020. Continue Reading
On November 7, 2019, OSHA held a public stakeholder meeting on safety key performance indicators (KPIs). During this meeting, the agency sought input from employers and industry groups on leading and lagging safety KPIs. Specifically, OSHA aimed to gather information about: (1) how companies regularly implement leading indicators; (2) how the information is used to strengthen work protection best practices; (3) the possibility of creating a digital library of leading indicators accessible on the OSHA website; and (4) next steps for OSHA’s leading and lagging indicators. The agency did not specify how this information would be used and, specifically, whether it would be utilized to develop a future rulemaking or guidance document.
The end of the current Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) compliance period (and associated notification by the end date of 5 December 2019) is fast approaching in the UK. The next ESOS compliance period commences on 6 December 2019 and will require companies to assess if they are within scope of the ESOS.
Introduced under the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme Regulations 2014, the ESOS transposes the energy audit requirements from the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) into national law, and prescribes mandatory assessment and auditing requirements for large companies (or small or medium-sized companies where they are in a corporate group with a large company).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a reconsideration rule rescinding many of the agency’s changes and additions made during the Obama administration to strengthen the Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations that address facilities using highly hazardous chemicals. This rulemaking follows the D.C. Circuit’s decision in 2018 that the EPA’s previous effort to rescind the new RMP elements was not justified by sufficient rationale, and so includes additional information regarding the basis for the agency’s decision. The new reconsideration rule specifically rescinds requirements relating to root cause analysis incident investigations, third-party audits, safer technology and alternatives analysis (STAA), and public availability of information, but retains certain requirements relating to emergency response and coordination.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a collaboration of 13 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. The TCI’s goal is to increase the use of clean transportation and energy, and reduce carbon emissions, in the transportation sector. TCI jurisdictions are in the process of developing a plan to lower carbon emissions from transportation through a cap-and-invest program. Under the TCI plan, states would 1) put a cap on vehicle carbon emissions, which would decrease annually, 2) require large fuel suppliers to purchase allowances for the pollution resulting from their sales, and 3) use the proceeds from the allowances to fund programs that increase clean energy, for example, encouraging the use of bikes and electric vehicles.
In May 2019, we blogged about the UK government’s consultation on which direction UK carbon emissions policy should take post Brexit, with the preferred course being a UK-only ETS (emissions trading scheme) that is formally linked with the EU ETS. Please click here to read more. The government is due to publish its full response to that consultation shortly and we will report on its response in due course. In the meantime, the government has had to publicly address the ongoing uncertainty for UK emitters created by the recent Brexit ‘flextension’, and take steps to implement Phase IV of the EU ETS into UK law.
On October 8, 2019, the Office of Administrative Law approved an adjustment to the covered electronic waste (CEW) recycling fee for covered electronic devices (CED). This CEW recycling fee is assessed when a California consumer buys a CED – generally, any video display device with a screen larger than four inches – from a retailer. These fees fund the CEW Recycling Program, which is run by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). At least once every two years, CalRecycle is required to assess the adequacy of the CEW recycling fee to generate sufficient revenues to fund the operation and administration of the CEW Recycling Program. This year, the CEW recycling fees were decreased by a dollar. The new fee levels are:
- four dollars ($4) for each CED with a screen size of less than 15 inches measured diagonally;
- five dollars ($5) for each CED with a screen size greater than or equal to 15 inches but less than 35 inches measured diagonally; and
- six dollars ($6) for each CED with a screen size greater than or equal to 35 inches measured diagonally.
A new registry regulation for Phase IV of the EU emissions trading system (ETS) has been published recently, and will replace the current registry regulation from 1 January 2021. Among other changes, the new registry regulation will accommodate allowances originating from the Swiss Emissions Trading Scheme, recognise EU allowances as financial instruments, and make administrative changes to account management. We expect that these changes may have an impact on operations and trading documentation of market participants, and these should, accordingly, be reviewed. Please click here to read more.
Our EU law environmental and product regulatory teams have been following the passage of a significant new law through the French parliament: ‘the Anti-Waste and Circular Economy Bill’ (Projet de loi relatif à la lutte contre le gaspillage et à l’économie circulaire) (the Bill).
Key features of the Bill include:
- Radically expanded obligations for producers in relation to waste management
- Introduction of a ‘product lifetime score’ to be displayed on some products
- Harmonised waste collection rules
- New criminal sanctions for planned obsolescence tactics
The European Commission has recently adopted a range of new mandatory ecodesign obligations, which include ecodesign and energy efficiency requirements for energy related products in the EU, pursuant to the EU Ecodesign Framework Directive (Directive 2009/125/EC).