Tag Archives: Investigations enforcement and compliance

OSHA announces changes (again) to how COVID-19 cases are recorded

With most states starting to reopen after the lockdown, attention is focused on the process for getting back to work safely, and when and how employers must record COVID-19 cases as a work related illness. In response to this, OSHA has issued a revised recordkeeping enforcement memorandum outlining the applicable requirements. This comes into effect … Continue Reading

Montana federal court vacates Nationwide Permit 12 for pipelines and other linear projects

On April 15, 2020, a federal district court in Montana issued an order vacating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) due to the Corps’ failure to meet its obligations under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The court remanded NWP 12 to the … 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

TCEQ implementing a more tailored case-by-case enforcement policy than the U.S. EPA in response to COVID-19

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced that it will exercise enforcement discretion on a case-by-case basis as opposed to the EPA’s broader temporary enforcement policy issued on March 26, 2020. Under its more tailored approach, the TCEQ has not relaxed any limits on air emissions or discharges to water. Similarly, the TCEQ has … 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

Last call for alcohol… comments. Proposed amendments to clarify the requirements for providing alcoholic beverage Proposition 65 warnings

Following a recent settlement between the California Attorney General’s Office and a number of alcoholic beverage retailers, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is proposing to clarify the Proposition 65 warning requirements for alcoholic beverages sold on the internet, in catalogs, and via third-party providers. The most prominent item in the settlement’s methods … Continue Reading

Administrative agencies have broad subpoena power

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 … Continue Reading

OSHA and Cal/OSHA issue coronavirus guidance

Earlier this month, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published information on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hazard recognition, medical information, potentially applicable OSHA standards, control and prevention, and additional resources. The guidance notes that without sustained human-to-human transmission, most U.S. workers remain at low risk of exposure and infection. However, OSHA has identified commonsense … Continue Reading

CSB proposes rule on accidental release reporting

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB or Agency) recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for its accidental reporting rule in the Federal Register (Proposed Rule). The CSB was established by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which directed the Agency, among other things, to investigate and report on any accidental release “resulting in … Continue Reading

OSHA conducts public stakeholder meeting on safety key performance indicators

On November 7, 2019, OSHA held a public stakeholder meeting on safety key performance indicators (KPIs).  During this meeting, the agency sought input from employers and industry groups on leading and lagging safety KPIs.  Specifically, OSHA aimed to gather information about: (1) how companies regularly implement leading indicators; (2) how the information is used to … Continue Reading

Next ESOS compliance period commencing

The end of the current Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) compliance period (and associated notification by the end date of 5 December 2019) is fast approaching in the UK. The next ESOS compliance period commences on 6 December 2019 and will require companies to assess if they are within scope of the ESOS. Introduced under … Continue Reading

EPA again rolls back Obama Administration RMP regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a reconsideration rule rescinding many of the agency’s changes and additions made during the Obama administration to strengthen the Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations that address facilities using highly hazardous chemicals. This rulemaking follows the D.C. Circuit’s decision in 2018 that the EPA’s previous effort to rescind … Continue Reading

The new Registry Regulation for Phase IV of the EU ETS. Are you ready?

A new registry regulation for Phase IV of the EU emissions trading system (ETS) has been published recently, and will replace the current registry regulation from 1 January 2021. Among other changes, the new registry regulation will accommodate allowances originating from the Swiss Emissions Trading Scheme, recognise EU allowances as financial instruments, and make administrative … Continue Reading

Senate Environment & Public Works Committee votes unanimously to approve Dr. Katherine Lemos to head the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

On September 25, 2019, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) voted unanimously to approve Dr. Katherine A. Lemos, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). Dr. Lemos’ nomination will now advance to the full Senate for confirmation.… Continue Reading

UK Court of Appeal reaffirms new, tougher stance on sentencing for environmental pollution offences

Several years ago, we wrote a detailed article explaining the new, tougher approach in the UK to the sentencing of environmental offences committed by large companies. That article, from 2015 (see: https://www.reedsmith.com/en/perspectives/2015/10/uk-courts-get-tough-on-environmental-crime-sentenc), focussed on the Court of Appeal’s decision in R v. Thames Water Utilities Ltd [2015] EWCA Crim 960.… Continue Reading

Broader focus on environmental and safety crimes as Harris County announces new charges against Arkema

Following last year’s indictments of Arkema Inc. (Arkema) CEO Richard Rowe and plant manager Leslie Comardelle, a Texas grand jury recently indicted Mike Keough, Arkema’s Vice President of Logistics, in connection with allegations that Arkema failed to provide adequate emergency response information to response officials. Along with this indictment, recent charges against Intercontinental Terminals Company … Continue Reading

Modern Slavery Act independent review – final report published: significant change is on the way

The final report of the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 carried out by Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss, has been published. It is available here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act-final-report). Should the government take up the proposals, the Modern Slavery Act could be significantly amended to become more robust. There are over … Continue Reading

Reprint may soon be needed for California cannabis warning labels

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) announced on March 15, 2019, that it is collecting public comments regarding the inclusion of cannabis on the Proposition 65 list of substances known to cause birth defects. Such a finding by OEHHA would require those in the California cannabis industry to change their warning labels, informing … Continue Reading
LexBlog