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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 (https://www.ewg.org/proposedpfaslegislation), 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 … 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

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
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