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

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 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 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 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

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

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

Clothing, Cleaning Products, Nail Polish, Carpets, Rugs and Upholstered Furniture among the next likely Priority Products to be regulated by California

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The long slumber is over.  DTSC is now actively pursuing its next three priority products (PP), which are the following chemical-product combinations:  Nonylphenol ethoxylates and triclosan  in cleaning, clothing and personal care products Formaldyde, toluene and all possible candidate chemicals in nail products PFAS (perfluoralkyl, polyfluoroalkyl) in carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture (textiles) and care and treatment products DTSC released three background papers on these three broad product categories this week, see cleaning, clothing and personal care products, nail products, carpets, [...]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