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

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

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

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

US EPA Announces its Implementation Plan for TSCA Reform

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TSCA Reform was signed into law just one week ago on June 22, 2016, but a mere one week later, on June 29, U.S. EPA has published its implementation plan, which sets an aggressive schedule to get into place the basic rulemaking frameworks to implement its vast new authorities. U.S. EPA is proposing to establish its regulatory framework for implementation of its new authorities into four main rulemakings, and propose three of them by mid-December 2016 in the twilight days of the Obama Administration. The four main rulemakings are: 1) prioritization process rule, 2) risk evaluation process [...]Read more

Historic TSCA Reform Signed Into Law

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The outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has just received the most significant update in decades. On Wednesday, June 22, President Obama signed into law sweeping reforms, which had bi-partisan support in both houses. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve a revised version of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill, H.R. 2576, originally approved by the House last year. The Senate passed the bill on June 7. The newly signed bill was a compromise following House and Senate negotiations to reconcile differences between last year’s House [...]Read more

California – New Prop 65 Product Label Requirements Likely to be Adopted

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Today, May 17, 2016, OEHHA released a second set of revisions to its proposed regulations to change the warning labeling requirements for Prop 65.  This is the first major change to the words required on product labels and shelf signs and catalogues selling products into California in several decades.  OEHHA has been working on these warning wording and method changes since 2013.  The most recent proposal commenced in November 2015, and has gone through several public comment periods and revisions.  Today’s May 17th revision is probably the last set of revisions before adoption.  Comments [...]Read more