Author Archives: Bruce Pasfield

Bruce Pasfield
Bruce Pasfield is an experienced trial attorney whose practice focuses on environmental and business litigation.  Read More

EPA Risk Management Program (RMP) Facility Safety Rule Delayed Until Feb. 2019

Written by and
The effective date of EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) Facility Safety Rule has been delayed from June 19, 2017 to February 19, 2019.  EPA issued a Final Rule on June 9 explaining that the 20-month delay will “allow EPA to conduct a reconsideration proceeding and to consider other issues that may benefit from additional comment.” [1] This delay—and the signal that EPA may be reviewing “other issues” with the original RMP Rule that may not have been affected by the now-delayed amendment—show that Pruitt’s EPA intends to act on its goal of minimizing regulatory burden on industry. Environmentalists, [...]Read more

EPA Risk Management Program (RMP) Facility Safety Rule Delayed Again

Written by and
EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) Facility Safety Rule continues to face an uncertain future, particularly given EPA Administrator Pruitt’s historical opposition.[1]  On March 16, EPA again stayed the effective date of the Rule and “will prepare a notice of proposed rulemaking in the near future” that will allow industry groups and the public an opportunity to comment again.[2]  This new notice and comment period could also allow EPA to scrap the new Rule altogether if it so desired.  What’s more, a coalition of GOP states are asking Administrator Pruitt to delay the Rule for an [...]Read more

Forthcoming California Phase 2 GHG Emission Regulations Foreshadow Compliance Challenges

Written by and
Last August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized the more stringent “Phase 2” greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles.  As discussed at a CARB hearing on February 6, California will propose its own Phase 2 GHG emission standards this summer, and is predicted to release the proposed rule for public comment in September.  California’s rules are expected to differ from and go beyond the EPA Phase 2 rules.  They will move forward [...]Read more

EPA Facility Safety Rule (and Others) Delayed until March 21, 2017

Written by and
Yesterday, EPA posted a pre-publication version of a new final rule (the Delay Rule) delaying the effective date of the Risk Management Program (RMP) Facility Safety Rule until March 21, 2017.[1]  The RMP Rule is one of 30 regulations listed in the Delay Rule that have been published in the Federal Register but have not yet taken effect—so-called “Midnight Rules” promulgated at the end of the Obama administration.  As a result of the Delay Rule, the new effective date for all 30 Midnight Rules is now March 21, though EPA left open the possibility that effective dates could be further delayed. The [...]Read more

EPA Confirms Vehicle Emission Standards for 2022-2025

Written by and
As expected, on January 12, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Final Determination affirming the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for model year 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles.  While EPA had until April 1, 2018 to issue this Final Determination, it did so quickly,  less than two weeks following the close of the public comment period on the agency’s Proposed Determination, detailed in our prior blog here.  This Final Determination makes it much more difficult for the new administration to change course. EPA’s Final Determination was originally anticipated [...]Read more

EPA Final Facility Safety Rule Still Faces Uncertain Future

Written by and
Yesterday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the agency’s final Facility Safety Rule.[1]  The rule, which contains some significant changes from the draft version, will be published in the Federal Register within the next few weeks and will take effect 60 days after publication.  That is, if it is not somehow blocked. The final rule codifies many of the safety requirements in the draft rule, including consideration of inherently safer technology and third party audits after reportable releases.  It also includes notable changes to address security concerns raised both by industry and [...]Read more

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

Written by and
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

Written by and
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

CARB Launches Rulemaking for Heavy-Duty Engine Low NOx Standard

Written by and
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

Written by and
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