Category Archives: Legislative & Public Policy (State, Local, Federal, Int’l)

Is That Regulation Affordable? If It’s Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, It Better Be

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You open your mailbox. There’s your monthly water bill. Inside, you notice it’s gone up nearly $500—but your use hasn’t changed. How could this be? And maybe more important, can you afford it? This is an essential question, concludes the Sacramento Superior Court. So essential that it must be considered when enacting standards under California’s Safe Drinking Water Act. The regulation in question, a primary drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium, was enacted in 2014 and set the maximum contaminant level—or MCL—at 10 parts per billion. The rulemaking was controversial, [...]Read more

Cannabis Industry Jammed With Extensive Environmental Regulations

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The surge of new cannabis-related regulations continues in California this month, this time courtesy of the State Water Resources Control Board.  In response to Senate Bill 837, the agency recently released a draft Cannabis Policy and General Order aimed at regulating the water-quality impacts of cannabis cultivation. The proposed Order lists well over 100 requirements and prohibitions, which range from the expected, such as riparian setbacks, in-stream flow limits, and water-use recording mandates, to the burdensome:  under the Order, legacy impacts from poorly-designed logging road would [...]Read more

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

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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

New Regulatory Program for Cannabis Industry Proposed

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On April 28, 2017, the Bureau of Marijuana Control proposed 58 pages of a brand new regulatory program for the newly legalized marijuana industry. The Bureau will hold hearings on June 1, 2017 in Eureka, June 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, June 9, 2017 in Sacramento and June 13, 2017 in San Jose.   Written comments will be received until 5 pm on June 13, 2017. It is the first comprehensive regulatory framework of its type.   The regulations propose specific licensing, specifying the voluminous documentation and information required to be submitted to the State, specifying packaging, labeling, [...]Read more

Regulatory Attorneys – Ready Yourself for California’s “Track and Trace” Product Supply Chain Regulatory Regime: First product up, Marijuana Cannabis

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As close and jaded observers of the colliding worlds of environmental regulation, consumer product and global supply chain regulation sitting and toiling daily in the center of the world’s most talented, creative and aggressive government regulators (i.e., Sacramento, not DC) for the past 25 years, even we are in awe of what is proposed to regulate the newest legalized product in California – marijuana. Proposition 64 passed by in a voter initiative on November 8, 2016 and establishes a licensing and regulatory framework for legalized cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and sales. Last [...]Read more

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

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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

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

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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 Final Facility Safety Rule Still Faces Uncertain Future

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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

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

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