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Environment, Health & Safety incident response

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ICYMI: California to conserve land, coasts to capture carbon and fight climate change

California has joined dozens of nations in a global pact to preserve biodiversity and prevent species loss by pledging to conserve 30 percent of the state’s land and coastal water by 2030 (“30 by 30”).  Governor Gavin Newsom signed the executive order earlier this month, which also directs the state to streamline approval of land restoration … Continue Reading

California going electric: Sale of new gasoline-powered cars banned in 2035

California will ban the sale of new, gasoline-powered cars by 2035, an aggressive action by Governor Gavin Newsom to combat the causes of climate change. The executive order Newsom signed will require that all new passenger vehicles sold in California beginning in 2035 be “zero-emission.”  That category currently includes battery-powered electric cars and those running … Continue Reading

As of 1 September 2020, the PRC Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes has been revised

In 1996, the PRC Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes (“Current Solid Waste Law”) was established. In 2015, almost 20 years later, this PRC Law was first revised and has since worked to take proper precautions for the environment. However, on 29 April 2020 the Standing Committee of the … Continue Reading

Quick cash in the times of COVID-19 – Section 363 sales of distressed assets and environmental liability

As we mentioned in a previous post, the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a wave of bankruptcies that we expect to continue into 2021. Companies entering 2020 in a strong financial position may now need to quickly shed distressed assets and generate cash. A Chapter 11 reorganization is likely to be too long and burdensome for … Continue Reading

EPA grants the first-ever COVID-19-related Section 18 Emergency Exemption under FIFRA

On August 24, 2020, EPA announced an emergency exemption in the state of Texas that permits American Airlines and Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine to use an antiviral that kills microbes like COVID-19 on surfaces for up to seven days.  This exemption request was submitted under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide … Continue Reading

EPA rolls back methane regulations for oil and gas infrastructure

On August 13, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two final rules—a Methane Policy Rule and an Inspection Rule —rolling back portions of its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the oil and gas industry. In explaining these changes, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the EPA rescinded portions of the Methane Policy … Continue Reading

California proposes revisions to regulation of air emissions from “Ships at Berth;” upcoming public hearing scheduled for late August

The California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) has again proposed revisions to the State’s existing “Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth Regulation” of air emissions from ships docked in California. As revised, further reductions in air emissions will be required, but some of the earlier implementation dates have been extended. Most substantive changes were made in response to feedback … Continue Reading

Proposition 65 – Potential warning requirement exemption for exposures to listed chemicals in cooked or heat processed foods

California is inviting public comments on a proposed regulation that would exclude the need to place warnings on many cooked, baked or fried food items that may expose individuals to acrylamide, a chemical the State has deemed to be a carcinogen. California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (aka “Proposition 65”) prohibits businesses from knowingly … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA takes historic action on aviation emissions

In a historic act, U.S. EPA proposed the nation’s first-ever greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standard for aircraft on July 21, 2020. (Proposed Rule). Once the Proposed Rule is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments. There will likely be significant push back from environmental groups on the Proposed … Continue Reading

Racing toward a standard: How Virginia, Oregon, and Washington are moving to regulate workplace hazards of COVID-19

Individual states’ safety agencies have undertaken the development of their own workplace safety rules in response to potential hazards from COVID-19 as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has declined to promulgate specific standards and instead relied on existing regulations and guidance.  Specifically, Virginia recently published a temporary emergency COVID-19 rule, while Oregon has … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit upholds OSHA’s interpretation of PSM standard

On July 9, 2020, the Fifth Circuit held that the mechanical integrity requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) process safety management (PSM) standard for highly hazardous chemicals applies to emergency stops that would only be activated after a release. The case—Sanderson Farms v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC)—centered on the … Continue Reading

ICYMI: States sign joint memorandum to advance vehicle electrification

A group of 15 states and the District of Columbia agreed to collaborate on advancing and accelerating the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school and transit buses, and long-haul delivery trucks (big-rigs). The goal of this initiative is to ensure that 100 percent … Continue Reading

CARB continues developing its “Clean Miles Standard,” reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ridesharing companies: hearing set for mid-July

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will conduct a public workshop later this month as it continues its efforts to expand the state’s development of the Clean Miles Standard (CMS). As was earlier reported, the CMS will require ridesharing companies, aka transportation network companies (TNCs), to account for, and reduce, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions … Continue Reading

ICYMI: June sees major U.S. Supreme Court environmental activity

1. Pipeline May Cross Underneath the Appalachian Trail with Forest Service Approval On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) held in a 7-2 decision that the U.S. Forest Service had the authority to grant developers of a gas pipeline right-of-way underneath the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. At issue in this case was whether … Continue Reading

EPA to terminate its temporary enforcement discretion policy

On March 26, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a memorandum about a temporary policy regarding EPA enforcement of environmental legal obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the policy, the EPA stopped seeking penalties for certain missed environmental obligations. The policy received mixed reactions from states and environmental groups. On June 29, 2020, EPA … Continue Reading

TSCA Summer Watch List

In 2016, Congress enacted major reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). These improvements included items such as: (1) a mandatory requirement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate existing chemicals with clear and enforceable deadlines; (2) risk-based chemical assessments; (3) increased public transparency for chemical information; and (4) a consistent source of … Continue Reading

U.S. regulatory developments: EPA issues first in a series of rules restricting ethylene oxide emissions

On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced final action to reduce emissions of ethylene oxide (EO) from certain sources. EO is an intermediary chemical used to make plastics, textiles and antifreeze, and also is used to sterilize medical devices. Scrutiny of EO has increased in the past few years due to … Continue Reading

Appeals court rejects AFL-CIO suit seeking to compel OSHA to issue COVID-19 emergency temporary standard

On May 18, the AFL-CIO filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to compel the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) protecting U.S. workers against COVID-19.  However, on June 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected … Continue Reading

Reed Smith issues guide for UK employers preparing to reopen workplaces post-COVID-19

Following recent announcements by the UK government on how the UK economy will gradually re-open, we are pleased to share a short publication with you that highlights some of the key health, safety and workplace management topics that UK employers may need to consider as we get businesses up and running again. In addition to … Continue Reading

Some considerations on suspension of regulated activities at all or part of a facility

In the context of COVID-19, many companies are downsizing operations or, in some cases, completely eliminating product lines or shuttering facilities. The considerations that go into such a decision are difficult and complicated, in part because the effects may be felt long into the future. However, if you are faced with such a decision, here are a … Continue Reading

OSHA announces changes (again) to how COVID-19 cases are recorded

With most states starting to reopen after the lockdown, attention is focused on the process for getting back to work safely, and when and how employers must record COVID-19 cases as a work related illness. In response to this, OSHA has issued a revised recordkeeping enforcement memorandum outlining the applicable requirements. This comes into effect … Continue Reading

EPA updates ‘small manufacturer’ definition for reporting and recordkeeping under TSCA section 8(a)

A new EPA rule finalizes amendments to the definition of “small manufacturer” in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Changes to the small manufacturer definition impact certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements established under TSCA. The final rule is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The final rule, made public May … Continue Reading

Keeping it Clean: OSHA, CDC, and state-agency guidance explains how employers can help stop spread of COVID-19

Many businesses are reopening their doors as states lift closure orders. While a plan to reopen will look different for each company, all employers should ensure they are taking appropriate cleaning and safety measures to reduce possible exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recommended several measures … Continue Reading

States sue EPA over COVID-19 enforcement policy

Following on from our recent post regarding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy and the controversy surrounding it , on May 13, 2020, seven states brought an action in the Southern District of New York against the EPA to challenge the agency policy under which the EPA has stated it “will not” enforce a wide range … Continue Reading
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