Tag Archives: EPA

EPA administrator signs final power plant wastewater rule

On August 31, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, signed the final rule (referred to as the Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule) initially proposed last year to revise the technology-based effluent limitations guidelines and standards (ELGs) for common types of wastewater discharges from electric power generating facilities. This final rule rolls back … 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 In explaining these changes, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the EPA rescinded portions of the Methane Policy … Continue Reading

FIFRA’s treated articles exemption: Should your antimicrobial product be registered?

Products claiming to protect users against microbes, such as those that are currently being used to protect us from COVID-19, are flying off the shelves.  Manufacturers of these products must comply with regulations governing the use of such pesticides.  One of said regulations is the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under FIFRA, EPA … 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

EPA finalizes updates to CWA water quality certification requirements

On July 13, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule. The rule is set to become effective on September 11, 2020, and will introduce comprehensive changes to the regulations governing how states and authorized tribes certify water quality under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).… 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

ICYMI: Major May U.S. Supreme Court environmental decisions

This month’s notable U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) actions involve what the Court declined to review rather than any actual decisions. Declined to review: Fuel blenders exemption under the EPA’s RFS program On May 18, 2020, SCOTUS declined to review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policy that fuel blenders are not responsible for mixing biofuels … Continue Reading

EPA’s self-guidance for participation in bankruptcy proceedings

The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the global economy, and companies of all types and sizes are feeling the impacts. In recent weeks, certain high-profile retailers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Some airlines are expected to enter bankruptcy as well, and even farmers are feeling the pinch. Overall, data suggest that bankruptcies … Continue Reading

EPA updates ‘small manufacturer’ definition for reporting and recordkeeping under TSCA section 8(a)

A new EPA rule finalizes amendments to the definition of “small manufacturer” in accordance with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Changes to the small manufacturer definition impact certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements established under TSCA. The final rule is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The final rule, made public May … Continue Reading

Keeping it Clean: OSHA, CDC, and state-agency guidance explains how employers can help stop spread of COVID-19

Many businesses are reopening their doors as states lift closure orders. While a plan to reopen will look different for each company, all employers should ensure they are taking appropriate cleaning and safety measures to reduce possible exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recommended several measures … Continue Reading

States sue EPA over COVID-19 enforcement policy

Following on from our recent post regarding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy and the controversy surrounding it , on May 13, 2020, seven states brought an action in the Southern District of New York against the EPA to challenge the agency policy under which the EPA has stated it “will not” enforce a wide range … Continue Reading

Companies Beware: Will EPA ramp up mandated ‘clean up’ as part of perceived economic ‘stimulus’ package?

Post COVID-19 stay-at-home orders (SAHO) – and as we go back to “normal” – what is the likelihood of a sudden resurgence in new or deferred Superfund cleanups, and associated construction? It is impossible to ignore that fact (and EPA must be aware of it) that construction jobs can and will be important to economic … Continue Reading

ICYMI: Major April U.S. Supreme Court Environmental Decisions

1) Superfund deals don’t block state-law claims On April 20, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued an opinion allowing Montana residents to maintain state-law claims against a company for a Superfund site that is already covered by a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania continues to enforce all environmental laws and regulations during COVID-19 pandemic

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it will continue to enforce all environmental laws and regulation for the duration of the state’s COVID-19 disaster duration. This policy takes a much stricter stance on environmental obligations than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) temporary policy of enforcement discretion issued on March 26, 2020. … Continue Reading

In the midst of COVID-19, attorneys general of 18 States urge stronger EPA Action on PFAS

Last Friday, April 17, the attorneys general of New York, Pennsylvania, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin filed a comment letter with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the agency to take more comprehensive actions regarding per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (collectively, … Continue Reading

DOJ: civil penalty obligations temporarily suspended

In conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) move to relax enforcement efforts, and despite criticism of the EPA’s move, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has suspended collection of civil penalty payments for six weeks – until at least May 31, 2020 – in a move that could be a demonstration that federal government … Continue Reading

COVID-19 induced force majeure applied to environmental obligations

As governments and health authorities institute increasingly strict responses to COVID-19, companies worldwide face unprecedented challenges in meeting their otherwise “business as usual” contractual and regulatory obligations. While these challenges span all areas of business, this post focuses on particular environmental obligations and associated risks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently instituted a temporary … Continue Reading

California environmental agencies less flexible than U.S. EPA re enforcement policy in response to COVID-19

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shown some flexibility in enforcement of environmental regulatory obligations during the outbreak of COVID-19, at this stage in the pandemic, California will not typically excuse noncompliance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 26, 2020, the EPA issued a memorandum implementing a temporary enforcement discretion policy due … Continue Reading

EPA response actions during COVID-19: Continue, reduce, or suspend?

There are many types of cleanup occurring across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic under a range of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorities, including, but not limited to, the Superfund program, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act corrective action, Toxic Substances Control Act polychlorinated biphenyl cleanup provisions, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Underground Storage … Continue Reading

The 2020 updates to the chemical data reporting rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a pre-publication version of its final rule amending the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule codified at 40 CFR Part 711. The changes to the CDR rule are intended to ensure alignment with the 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In a separate action, EPA … Continue Reading
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