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Environment, Health & Safety incident response

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Signs of the times: Environmental related ESG offerings

A number of signs point to the fact that public companies should expect increased scrutiny on whether their environmental-related ESG offerings, practices and controls are consistent with their disclosures, claims and marketing material. SIGN #1: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) announced that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal will become the next … Continue Reading

Electrifying transportation network companies in CA: Updates to SB 1014’s Clean Miles Standard + Incentive Program

As we reported, the California Legislature passed SB 1014 – the Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program (the “Clean Miles Program”) – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from “rideshare” vehicles. This led to the creation of the Clean Miles Standard regulation, which the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) fully adopted in May 2021 after receiving stakeholder … Continue Reading

ESG Watch: Carbon Tax vs. Clean Energy Standard

Many public companies are keeping a close watch on potential GHG regulations because the shape of these regulations can significantly affect their regulatory and reporting obligations and thus affect their ESG obligations. There is a significant difference between two recent proposals on that front. CARBON TAX: The concept of a carbon tax is simple: fossil … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board oks regulations targeting power sector greenhouse gas emissions

On July 13, 2021, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board approved a rulemaking  to establish a program to limit the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGU) located in the Commonwealth. The stated purpose of the final-form rulemaking is “to reduce anthropogenic emissions of CO2, a greenhouse gas (GHG) and major contributor to climate … Continue Reading

Environmental, Social and Governance Legislation in the Biden Era: The Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2021

An example of a new trend towards recognizing “Environmental, Social and Governance” (“ESG”) impacts from business operations is the recently introduced Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2021 (“the Act”).  As currently drafted, the Act would require significant new public disclosures from publicly traded companies regarding financial risks to their operations and profitability from climate change … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Update: Supreme Court reaches decisions on HollyFrontier and PennEast Pipeline cases

On Friday, June 25, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a Tenth Circuit Court decision that had vacated an Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) exemption relieving small refineries from the fuel blending requirements of the Renewable Fuel Program (“RFP”), codified by 42 U.S.C. § 7545(o). The decision represents a huge victory for small refineries. In an … Continue Reading

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
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