Investigations enforcement and compliance

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 a fatality, serious injury or substantial property damage.” The statute also required the CSB to issue a rule governing the reporting of accidental releases to the CSB under 42 U.S.C. section 7412(r)(6)(C)(iii), which the Agency has not done since it began operations in 1998. Following a lawsuit by advocacy groups, the Agency is now being required by court order to promulgate reporting requirements by February 2020.
Continue Reading CSB proposes rule on accidental release reporting

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 strengthen work protection best practices; (3) the possibility of creating a digital library of leading indicators accessible on the OSHA website; and (4) next steps for OSHA’s leading and lagging indicators.  The agency did not specify how this information would be used and, specifically, whether it would be utilized to develop a future rulemaking or guidance document.
Continue Reading OSHA conducts public stakeholder meeting on safety key performance indicators

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 the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme Regulations 2014, the ESOS transposes the energy audit requirements from the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) into national law, and prescribes mandatory assessment and auditing requirements for large companies (or small or medium-sized companies where they are in a corporate group with a large company).Continue Reading Next ESOS compliance period commencing

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 the new RMP elements was not justified by sufficient rationale, and so includes additional information regarding the basis for the agency’s decision. The new reconsideration rule specifically rescinds requirements relating to root cause analysis incident investigations, third-party audits, safer technology and alternatives analysis (STAA), and public availability of information, but retains certain requirements relating to emergency response and coordination.
Continue Reading EPA again rolls back Obama Administration RMP regulations

In May 2019, we blogged about the UK government’s consultation on which direction UK carbon emissions policy should take post Brexit, with the preferred course being a UK-only ETS (emissions trading scheme) that is formally linked with the EU ETS. Please click here to read more.  The government is due to publish its full response to that consultation shortly and we will report on its response in due course. In the meantime, the government has had to publicly address the ongoing uncertainty for UK emitters created by the recent Brexit ‘flextension’, and take steps to implement Phase IV of the EU ETS into UK law.
Continue Reading Continued Brexit uncertainty for UK carbon emitters in EU ETS

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

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

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:, focussed on the Court of Appeal’s decision in R v. Thames Water Utilities Ltd [2015] EWCA Crim 960.Continue Reading UK Court of Appeal reaffirms new, tougher stance on sentencing for environmental pollution offences

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 and the hiring of several additional prosecutors reflects Harris County District Attorney’s increased focus on prosecuting environmental and safety crimes. This trend of increased accountability for companies after high-impact incidents was also highlighted in California, where a federal judge overseeing Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) probation ordered PG&E board members to visit Paradise, CA, which was destroyed in the 2018 Camp Fire.
Continue Reading Broader focus on environmental and safety crimes as Harris County announces new charges against Arkema

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 ( Should the government take up the proposals, the Modern Slavery Act could be significantly amended to become more robust. There are over 80 recommendations across the four areas the report considered: the role of the independent anti-slavery commissioner, transparency in supply chains, independent child trafficking advocates and the legal application of the Modern Slavery Act.
Continue Reading Modern Slavery Act independent review – final report published: significant change is on the way