Emerging legislation and regulations

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 and intentionally exposing consumers to over 900 chemicals that have been listed as “known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity” (without first giving a clear and reasonable warning to the consumer).  Acrylamide is regulated under this law as a carcinogen.

Acrylamide can be formed by the cooking or heat processing of many foods, including French fries, potato chips, other fried and baked snack foods, roasted asparagus, canned sweet potatoes and pumpkin, canned black olives, roasted nuts, roasted grain-based coffee substitutes, prune juice, breakfast cereals, crackers, some cookies, bread crusts, and toast.

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

The UK Government has opened a consultation on a proposed UK carbon emissions tax with public submissions due by 29 September 2020.

The UK will no longer be participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), as of 31 December 2020. To enable the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets from 1 January 2021, the Government has proposed the establishment of a UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS), which would be preferably linked to the current EU ETS (as has, eventually, been done by Switzerland’s greenhouse gas emissions trading system). Subject to the success of negotiations on a linked UK/EU ETS, the UK has proposed an unlinked UK ETS or a proposed UK carbon emissions tax, by way of an alternative.

The carbon emissions tax would be intended to align with the EU ETS in regards to emissions monitoring, reporting and verification and apply to regulated installations currently participating in the EU ETS that exceed their annual tax emission allowance.

Continue Reading Consultation now open for proposed UK Carbon Emissions Tax

The European Commission is currently seeking public comment as part of its review of the EU General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) (Directive 2001/95/EC).

The GPSD sets out a broad regulatory framework for the placement of non-food consumer products (not regulated by other product specific EU legislation) on the EU market. In particular, it establishes the general safety requirement, that producers must only place safe products on the EU market, and requires that appropriate steps are taken where there are risks to consumers. The GPSD also established the EU Rapid Alert System (Safety Gate), a platform for communication between EU member states and the European Commission on dangerous products. The GPSD must be transposed into the national law of all EU member states, and subsequently there may be some variations between jurisdictions.
Continue Reading Comments sought on review of the EU General Product Safety Directive

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will conduct a public Board hearing later this month as it continues its efforts to expand the state’s existing Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth Regulation to further reduce air emissions from ships docked in California. As earlier reported, CARB recently released further modifications to the at-berth rulemaking documents (15-day change).

The European Commission launched a public consultation on its review of Regulation 347/2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure (the TEN-E Regulation) on 18 May 2020. The public consultation is accompanied by a targeted, more technical consultation aimed at stakeholders with specialist knowledge of the TEN-E Regulation. Both consultations will be open for eight weeks, with submissions due by 13 July 2020.

Background

On 11 December 2019, the European Commission adopted the European Green Deal (the Green Deal), and presented its communication on the Green Deal to the European Parliament. The Green Deal sets out overarching objectives that will inform EU legislation and policy going forward. The objectives include achieving climate neutrality by 2050, mainstreaming sustainability and promoting “nature-based solutions”.

The Green Deal highlights the importance of smart infrastructure in the transition to climate neutrality, and identifies the need to review the regulatory framework for EU energy infrastructure, including the TEN-E Regulation, to ensure consistency with the 2050 climate neutrality objective. The revised framework should also address the policy ambition under the Green Deal of supplying clean, affordable and secure energy by integrating a significant increase in renewable energy in the European energy system, and prioritising energy efficiency.

Continue Reading European Commission launches consultation on TEN-E Regulation

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) continues its efforts to reduce air pollutants from consumer products through amendments to California’s Consumer Products Regulation. Proposed amendments would further lower current volatile organic compounds (VOC) limits for certain consumer products.

Background

The Consumer Product Regulation is an important part of CARB’s effort to reduce the amount of VOCs, toxic air contaminants (TACs), and greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted when using chemically formulated consumer products. In this context, “consumer product” means a chemically formulated product used by household and institutional consumers including, but not limited to: detergents; cleaning compounds; polishes; floor finishes; cosmetics; personal care products; home, lawn, and garden products; disinfectants; sanitizers; aerosol paints; and automotive specialty products; but does not include other paint products, furniture coatings, or architectural coatings. Consumer product also refers to aerosol adhesives, including aerosol adhesives used for consumer, industrial, and commercial uses.

Continue Reading CARB plans more consumer product regulations to reduce smog-forming emissions

The explosive growth of ridesharing companies has left states facing a potential, albeit unintended, increase in greenhouse gas emissions (for example, carbon dioxide generated by fuel combustion). As a result, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is developing the Clean Miles Standard, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ridesharing companies.

Continue Reading Hailing all rideshare: The California Clean Miles Standard is set to hit the road this year

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) have issued various guidance regarding potential workplace hazards resulting from exposure to COVID-19 (see our recent client alert for more information). Most recently, on April 3, 2020, OSHA issued enforcement guidance to all industries indicating that respiratory protection certified by certain non-U.S. jurisdictions may be used as mandatory or voluntary personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace where masks approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health were not available (https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-04-03/enforcement-guidance-use-respiratory-protection-equipment-certified-under).

This guidance was issued in conjunction with similar announcements from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommending the use of face masks by the general population and expanding approvals of certain masks from foreign jurisdictions for use by health care personnel, respectively. As these three announcements are likely to significantly expand the use of respiratory protection in the workplace, one area where many “nonmedical” employers may seek advice is how to safely dispose of PPE, for example, gloves and face masks that were used in the workplace and that may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Specifically, once an employee uses such PPE, is it considered “medical waste,” or can it go out with the regular trash?

Continue Reading Novel coronavirus – How employers should dispose of personal protective equipment

A recent decision by a California court of appeal clarified the breadth of the California Water Resources Control Board’s (Board) subpoena power, which could have implications for other state agencies in California and elsewhere.  Moreover, private entities which are the subject of an administrative investigation may have a difficult time withholding financial records even if those records are not related to the alleged violations, and even if the subpoenaed entity is not directly responsible for any of the alleged violations.

Continue Reading Administrative agencies have broad subpoena power