EPA Releases CERCLA Financial Assurance Rule

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EPA has released its long-awaited proposed CERCLA financial assurance regulations for the hardrock mining industry.  When finalized, these regulations will serve as a model for financial assurance regulations for other industries. Also on December 1, EPA provided notice that its next target industries -  petroleum and coal products manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; and electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.  These developments have major implications for a multitude of companies—both in these industries and in industries that could be future targets. Here are some [...]Read more

EPA Provides Early Affirmation of Vehicle Emission Standards for 2022-2025

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On November 30, 2016, EPA issued a Proposed Determination as part of its Midterm Evaluation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for model year 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles.  EPA has concluded, in this proposed adjudicatory determination, that these GHG standards, established in 2012, remain appropriate under the Clean Air Act (CAA).  EPA is required by regulation (40 CFR 86.1818-12(h)) to consider factors such as the availability and effectiveness of technology, appropriate lead time for technology, costs to manufacturers and consumers, and the feasibility and practicality of the standards [...]Read more

TSCA Criminal Provision Update: More Bark Than Bite

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On June 22, 2016, Congress passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).[1] Congress kept standard violations—whether done knowingly or willfully—as misdemeanors, though it increased the maximum fine from $25,000 to $50,000. Keeping even willful TSCA violations as misdemeanors distinguishes TSCA from other environmental laws, including the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, in which negligent violations are misdemeanors but knowing or willful violations are felonies. Congress did add a felony endangerment provision [...]Read more

Clothing, Cleaning Products, Nail Polish, Carpets, Rugs and Upholstered Furniture among the next likely Priority Products to be regulated by California

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The long slumber is over.  DTSC is now actively pursuing its next three priority products (PP), which are the following chemical-product combinations:  Nonylphenol ethoxylates and triclosan  in cleaning, clothing and personal care products Formaldyde, toluene and all possible candidate chemicals in nail products PFAS (perfluoralkyl, polyfluoroalkyl) in carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture (textiles) and care and treatment products DTSC released three background papers on these three broad product categories this week, see cleaning, clothing and personal care products, nail products, carpets, [...]Read more

CARB Launches Rulemaking for Heavy-Duty Engine Low NOx Standard

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On November 3, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced plans for a new low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard for heavy-duty engines sold in the state.  CARB intends to adopt the new NOx standard—of 0.02 grams per brake horse power-hour (g/bhp-hr)—in 2019.  This standard would apply beginning with 2023 model year engines sold in California.  CARB stated that this new rulemaking will combine amendments to: The heavy-duty engine NOx standards, including a low load certification cycle; The Not-to-Exceed in-use compliance program; The useful life and durability requirements [...]Read more

New EPA Facility Safety Rule Faces Uncertain Future

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On October 14, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its final revised facility safety rule to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review. The rule would update EPA’s Risk Management Plan (RMP), a program established under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to improve the safety of industrial plants that use or store more than a threshold quantity of a hazardous substances. The current rule requires only that covered companies submit to EPA a plan to reduce the risk of future accidents from releases; the February 25, 2016 version of [...]Read more

EPA Commits to Hazardous Waste Retail Strategy, Policy Expected to Address Point of Generation Issues

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On September 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Strategy for Addressing the Retail Sector under RCRA’s Regulatory Framework.  As part of this strategy, EPA will finalize the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule this fall, and is working to finalize the Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule, but appears to need additional time to do so.  While EPA states that it is focusing efforts on these rulemakings, it will also issue a Policy on Reverse Distribution and RCRA. EPA recognizes that [...]Read more

Prop 65 Warning Regulations Adopted

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Today, September 2, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) published its notice of adoption of amendments to Prop 65 - essentially overhauling Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations, Article 6, which governs the warning requirements of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act The new regulations are not effective until August 30, 2018. In the interim, businesses have the option of complying either with the current regulation, or the provisions of the new regulation. OEHHA has published a side-by-side comparison of the newly adopted [...]Read more

CSB Report calls for Preventative Inspections at Petroleum Refineries, Bolstering EPA and OSHA Efforts

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Earlier this month, the U.S. Chemical and Safety Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) issued a report calling for preventative inspections at petroleum refineries to prevent accidents and injuries.  The report highlights the value of robust, preventative inspections and proactive regulators in minimizing process safety incidents.  CSB, through the report, calls on California regulators to conduct preventative inspections and analyze facilities’ process safety history, including “near misses.”  CSB also calls for California to require refineries to report process safety indicators.  The conclusions [...]Read more

EPA and NHTSA Finalize Stringent Emission and Fuel Efficiency Standards

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Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized more stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles.  This “Phase 2” rule, applies to: 1) combination tractors; 2) trailers pulled by combination tractors; 3) heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans; and 4) vocational vehicles, such as buses, garbage trucks and concrete mixers, as well as engines that power combination tractors and vocational vehicles, and covers model years 2021 through [...]Read more