Environment, Health & Safety regulatory compliance

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 the final regulatory determination to implement a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for PFOS and PFOA (the “Determination”).  This Determination is a continuation of an intended action under the Trump administration, but indicates the Biden administration intends to continue to move forward.  The Determination also states that the EPA is considering the regulation of additional PFAS chemicals.

Continue Reading EPA indicates intention to regulate certain PFAS in drinking water

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 to increase enforcement of “willful” violations on a per-employee basis.

Emergency temporary standard and permanent rule

Earlier this month, Cal/OSHA convened an advisory committee to provide input on possible changes to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”).  Over the course of three days of public meetings, the advisory committee discussed and debated potential clarifications as well as broadening or narrowing the scope of certain requirements.  Although no decisions were made during the meetings, the following were areas of focus where we can expect to see some changes to the ETS:

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

As we reported, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) seeks to significantly amend the regulations under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (aka “Proposition 65”) to revise the method of transmission and content of State-approved “safe harbor” short-form warnings for consumer products. If passed as proposed, manufacturers,

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, if its position is upheld, clears the way for the Biden administration to regulate power plants.

The Affordable Clean Energy Rule

The EPA promulgated the ACE Rule in 2019 under the CAA, replacing the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan (CPP). Both rules sought to reduce GHG emissions from the power sector; but where the CPP implemented broader industry-wide mechanisms, the ACE Rule limited reduction efforts to the actual source power plants.

The 2015 CPP offered “beyond the fenceline” tools for states to reduce emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources and participating in emissions credit-trading programs; however, in February 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the CPP pending litigation in the D.C. Circuit. During the stay and subsequent freeze of litigation, the Trump administration rescinded the CPP and promulgated the ACE Rule.

In promulgating the ACE Rule, the Trump EPA took an alternative view of the CAA than the Obama EPA and reasoned that the CAA expressly limited the EPA’s power to only “at the source” emissions reduction options, such as heat rate improvement technologies. As a result, the Trump administration removed all of the CPP’s “beyond the fenceline” options and limited emissions restrictions to those applied directly to power plants.

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

The European Commission is proposing a radical and wide-ranging overhaul of the roughly 15 years’ old existing batteries and waste batteries laws in the Union.

For those who have not yet found the time to read the nearly 127-page draft regulation and annexures put out for public consultation in December 2020, here is a summary

2021 is shaping up to be a very busy year for those who are affected by EU laws relating to Environment, Health & Safety, ESG and product compliance matters.

Important developments are expected this year across a number of the EU’s flagship Green Deal policy initiatives, but there are many other significant initiatives to watch out for.

Reed Smith’s EMEA EHS & Product Compliance team will be keeping a close eye on them all for you and writing more detailed pieces on developments as they occur throughout the year.

In the meantime, in this short blog we provide just a snapshot of what you can expect to see during 2021:

Continue Reading EU EHS and Product Compliance laws: what to look out for in 2021

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

On January 5, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) released the final version of a rule revamping certain nationwide permits (NWPs) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA authorizes the Corps to issue general permits authorizing categories of activities that have minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. These permits remain in effect for no more than five years, at which point the Corps must renew the permits.

This rule reissues and modifies 12 nationwide permits (NWPs) and issues four new NWPs. Of these 16 NWPs, the most impactful changes are to NWP 12.

Continue Reading U.S. Army Corps of Engineers revamps Clean Water Act Nationwide Permit 12

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:

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,