Author Archives: Elise Paeffgen

Elise Paeffgen
Elise Paeffgen is an associate in the Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources Group. Her practice focuses on environmental enforcement defense; RCRA, CERCLA and SDWA financial assurance; chemicals management; carbon regulation; and shale gas extraction.  Read More

Forthcoming California Phase 2 GHG Emission Regulations Foreshadow Compliance Challenges

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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 Confirms Vehicle Emission Standards for 2022-2025

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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 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

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

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

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

NOx Emission Reductions for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks Forthcoming

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The timeline for federal NOx emission reductions for medium and heavy-duty trucks is uncertain, but expected in California in 2017.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is expected to issue a NOx standard in 2017 that should reduce NOx emissions by up to 90 percent:  the expected lower standard is 0.02 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr), a significant decrease for the current 0.2 g/bhp-hr.  Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), California may issue emission standards that are more stringent than federal standards.  While California is the only state with such authority, other states [...]Read more

EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposed RCRA Rules

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EPA announced this morning that it extended the comment period for both the Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Proposed Rule and the Hazardous Waste Generators Improvements Proposed Rule until December 24, 2015, according to the pre-publication notices here and here.  All healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical reverse distributors and other hazardous waste generators should read the proposed rules, and each should analyze the impacts it will have on its operations and waste management practices.  The proposed rules have broad-reaching implications, and generators should provide [...]Read more