Global Manufacturers Take Note: DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Priority Product Work Plan Released Today

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The final version of the California Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Priority Product Work Plan for 2015-2017 can now be viewed on the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC’s) website. The goal of the SCP program is to identify specific products containing potentially harmful chemicals and to ask manufacturers to determine (1) whether the chemicals are necessary; and (2) whether there are safer alternatives. The Work Plan issued in final form today identifies product categories from which such so-called “Priority Products” will be researched and selected for the next [...]Read more

Significant Expansion of Judicial Review Under the Clean Water Act

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Today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedent-setting decision in Hawkes v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, holding that jurisdictional determinations issued under the Clean Water Act are subject to immediate judicial review. Under the Clean Water Act, the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters requires a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (other types of discharges require a permit from the United States Environmental Protection Agency or its state-agency designates). Although on its face seemingly straightforward, the question [...]Read more

RCRA Regulation of Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals –Proposed Rule Forthcoming this Summer

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On March 19, 2015, EPA sent its proposed rule, “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals,” to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for pre-publication review.  This review may take up to 90 days (barring a one-time 30-day extension).  Unless OMB returns the rule to EPA for reconsideration, we expect the proposed rule to be released this summer.  This rule will have major implications for the pharmaceutical reverse distribution industry and the management of non-dispensable pharmaceuticals at health care facilities. The fall 2014 Unified Agenda states that [...]Read more

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment to Georgia Power

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed today the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to Georgia Power in the Ward Transformer Superfund Site litigation.  While this opinion focuses on whether Georgia Power’s sale of used transformers to Ward Transformer constituted an arrangement for disposal of PCB-containing oil, the court’s analysis includes a number of findings related to arranger liability generally.  This opinion is the first Court of Appeals decision to address the test for arranger liability post Burlington, and may impact a number of other pending CERCLA cases and enforcement [...]Read more

Update on Pharmaceutical “Take-Back” Legislation: Counties Forge Ahead; California Waits for Direction from the Supreme Court

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Between Washington and California, the West Coast once again pushes the envelope in drug take-back legislation, while state action – which may level the playing field – has taken a backseat, waiting for the United States Supreme Court to determine whether to grant certiorari in Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), et al. v. County of Alameda. At the end of December, the pharmaceutical industry petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse a September 30, 2014 Ninth Circuit appellate ruling that mandates that the industry pay for the County’s take-back program. On January [...]Read more

CARB’s March 2, 2015 Reporting Deadline is Approaching Fast – Do you need an extension?

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The reporting deadline for makers of consumer products, office supply products, garden supply, pool, personal care, automotive, and many other product types (see full list of product categories in Appendix A) is fast approaching. We previously blogged and released an Advisory about the CARB (California Air Resources Board) reporting requirement and the need to think about protecting your product’s trade secrets. It is possible the March 2, 2015 reporting deadline will be extended.  Even if it is not, CARB has stated that it will consider extensions of this deadline on a case-by-case basis. But [...]Read more

EPA to Begin Enforcing New Low Sulfur Fuel Standards for Vessels

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EPA is increasing enforcement of vessel pollution cases—specifically violations of fuel sulfur standards—in the North American and U.S. Caribbean Emissions Control Areas ("ECAs"), as demonstrated through its recent release of the “EPA Penalty Policy for Violations by Ships of the Sulfur in Fuel Standard and Related Provisions.”  This policy outlines how EPA will calculate penalties assessed for violations of Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the law that implements MARPOL, Annex VI.  The release of this policy coincides with the December 31, 2014 significant reduction in fuel sulfur [...]Read more

California State Water Board Workshop on Changes to Industrial Stormwater General Permit

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The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) held a workshop today to discuss significant changes to the General Permit for stormwater associated with industrial activity. The new General Permit, as discussed in an April 2, 2014 Alston & Bird LLP post, takes effect July 1, 2015. Notable changes in General Permit requirements are listed in the State Water Board’s Summary of Significant Changes. Among other prominent changes, the new General Permit makes it mandatory for dischargers to submit and certify all reports electronically on the SMARTS system, requires [...]Read more

OEHHA Releases Formal Rulemaking Draft for Prop 65 Warning Regulations

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The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released its formal rulemaking draft of Prop 65 warning regulations today. The public comment period begins Friday, January 16, and closes Wednesday, April 8. Uniquely for this rulemaking, OEHHA intends to post comments as they are received instead of waiting until the comment period closes. One of the key changes is the proposal that 12 chemicals (the so-called “dirty dozen” - see Section 25602) be specifically included in Prop 65 warnings: acrylamide, arsenic, benzene, cadmium, carbon monoxide, chlorinated tris, [...]Read more

Trade secret protection for mandatory California consumer product survey?

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Every company listed on a label of a consumer or commercial product sold or supplied for use in California in 2013 must complete and submit a survey to the California Air Resources Board by March 2, 2015.  Makers of hair sprays, cleaning products, floor waxes, insecticides, paints, as well as numerous other categories of products must submit their data in CARB’s electronic survey system, called the Consumer Product Reporting Tool (CPRT) and for formulators, the CPRT-F.  See Appendix A in the survey instructions for a full list of product categories.  The survey is unprecedented in its scope [...]Read more