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Cal Safety Standards Board approves second COVID-19 ETS

Late last week, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Standards Board”) reconvened in a public meeting to consider the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  The new proposed ETS was developed to replace the existing ETS that has been in place since December 1, … Continue Reading

Texas keeps the gas taps flowing, but will others do the same as energy infrastructure takes center stage?

The regular session of the Texas Legislature came to a fraught end on May 31, 2021. The political spectacle in recent days capped off a legislative session dramatically interrupted by a winter storm in February that crippled much of the state with snow, ice, and power outages. That natural disaster led to intense scrutiny of … Continue Reading

Cal-OSHA proposes changes to COVID-19 emergency regulation

With vaccination rates on a rise, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal-OSHA”) have proposed revisions to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”).  On May 20, 2021, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is expected to decide on whether to send the draft revisions to the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”).  … Continue Reading

Senate votes to rescind Trump-era methane emissions rule

On Wednesday, April 28, the U.S. Senate voted to effectively reinstate Obama-era methane regulations by approving a resolution nullifying the Trump-era methane emission rule “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Review.”  The September 2020 Trump Administration rule rolled back Obama-era oil and gas emission rules by rescinding methane … Continue Reading

New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Bill and its effect on Title V facilities

New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Bill (EJ Bill) applies to Facilities located in Overburdened Communities (OBC). N.J. Stat. § 13:1D-157 – 13:1D-161.  A Facility includes any: 1. Major source of air pollution; 2. Resource recovery facility or incinerator; 3. Sludge processing facility, combustor, or incinerator; 4. Sewage treatment plant with a capacity of more than 50 … Continue Reading

Biden’s pledge to cut U.S. emissions signals increased climate change regulation and other implications for industry

On Earth Day, April 22, 2021, President Biden announced that the U.S. will aim to cut carbon emissions in half by the year 2030 compared to 2005 levels.  This is significantly higher even than goals established by President Obama during his tenure.  The virtual Leaders Summit on Climate where the announcement was made took place … Continue Reading

Chemical Safety Board announces plans to add board members and investigators

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (“CSB”), the federal agency created under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and charged with investigating industrial chemical releases, has announced that it will draw up a new board following a recommendation to do so by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”). The CSB … Continue Reading

Advanced Clean Trucks Rule — California announces extension of large entity reporting deadline

As we reported last year, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) adopted the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation to support its efforts to reduce air pollutants and meet state climate change targets.  The regulation has a one-time reporting requirement for large entities that operate or dispatch vehicles in California with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating … Continue Reading

EPA indicates intention to regulate certain PFAS in drinking water

The EPA is moving towards establishing a drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS, and has stated that it is considering avenues for regulating additional groups of PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) as well.  On February 22, 2021, the EPA announced two actions under SDWA to address PFAS. First, the agency reissued … Continue Reading

Cal/OSHA moves forward with development of permanent COVID-19 standard while legislature considers bill to increase enforcement

California continues to move forward with new proposals for regulation and enforcement of workplace hazards associated with COVID-19.  As the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) continues to develop a draft permanent standard to address COVID-19 hazards in cooperation with an advisory committee of various stakeholder groups, state legislators have proposed a senate bill … Continue Reading

The fall of Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule and the strengthened EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases

On January 19, 2021, in a 2-1 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the Trump administration’s 2019 Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule and remanded it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The decision offers a strong statement about EPA’s breadth of authority to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and, … Continue Reading

California seeks to significantly restrict optional use of Proposition 65 “short-form” warnings on consumer products

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed to significantly amend the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly known as Proposition 65, to revise the method of transmission and content of State-approved “safe harbor” short-form warnings for consumer products. OEHHA believes implementation of the warning regulations has revealed … Continue Reading

ICYMI: Horizon Scanning: 2021 Environmental, health & safety law in the United States

Reed Smith’s U.S. based environmental team recently held a CLE webinar on what US environmental, health and safety legal and regulatory changes we can expect in 2021.  The webinar provided an insightful discussion on environmental policy and topics including: Environmental Policy With Biden Win: Anticipating new federal regulation and enforcement actions United States Supreme Court: … Continue Reading

Signs point to Federal OSHA issuing rule under new administration as states continue to modify COVID-19 rules and guidance

As the transition in presidential administration draws closer and COVID-19 cases continue to increase in certain parts of the country, it appears increasingly likely that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) will undertake a rulemaking relating to COVID-19.  Additionally, state plan OSHA agencies continue to revise and issue guidance relating to their own rules, … Continue Reading

California rapidly approves sweeping Cal/OSHA emergency COVID-19 regulation

Just one week after the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) made its proposed COVID-19 Emergency Regulation (“COVID-19 Rule”) available, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) responsible for approving such regulations unanimously passed it without revisions.  Cal/OSHA is the fourth state OSHA plan to promulgate a rule to address COVID-19, following … Continue Reading

Chemical regulation in the new administration: PFAS top of list?

Organizations closely scrutinizing PFAS, like the Environmental Working Group, are touting loudly that the Biden administration will address PFAS and speculating on how the Biden Administration might approach the chemicals by setting enforceable drinking water limits, designating the substances as hazardous and finding PFAS substitutes for consumer items. Under President Trump, EPA touted its PFAS … Continue Reading

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
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