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

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The outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has just received the most significant update in decades.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

I See a Prop 65 Label On This Product, But What Does It Mean? New California Website to Explain

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At the beginning of 2016, the State of California (OEHHA) adopted a new regulation to give itself authority to create and operate a website to provide information about the Prop 65 labels the public sees on everyday products and in everyday locations such as restaurants, gas stations and airports.  New section 25205 allows OEHHA to post information about pathways of exposure to chemicals in products and strategies to avoid exposure, while also providing a disclaimer that OEHHA cannot assure the accuracy of anything it posts.   It creates a petition process for manufacturers, sellers and the [...]Read more

Short Comment Period for Revised Prop 65 Warning Regulations

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On Friday, March 25, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released another set of proposed revisions to the Prop 65 warning label regulations. The comment period is very short – only 15 days.  Members of the public have only until April 11, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. PST to submit comments on the revised regulations.  Requests to extend the comment period are pending, but not guaranteed. OEHAA initiated formal rulemaking for the revisions to Prop 65 warning label regulations in January 2015. That proposal was repealed and replaced with new proposed regulations [...]Read more

County-Level Pharmaceutical Take-Back Programs May Be Spreading in California and Illinois

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Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest County, has proposed a pharmaceutical take-back ordinance that would require businesses to finance a local government program for disposal of unwanted medications and potentially hazardous medical products like needles and syringes. Under the draft ordinance, termed the “Los Angeles County Pharmaceuticals and Sharps Collection and Disposal Stewardship Ordinance,” certain manufacturers, producers, or distributors of covered medications and supplies would be responsible for designing, implementing and financing the collection program. At its March 22, [...]Read more

DOJ Redoubles Efforts to Prosecute Workplace Violations as Environmental Crimes

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Reporting that 13 workers in America die each day on the job due to injuries and 150 workers succumb to exposure to carcinogens and other toxic and hazardous substances while working, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to increase deterrence of crimes that put the lives and the health of workers at risk. Given the troubling statistics, the DOJ is redoubling joint efforts between its Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other agencies to hold accountable [...]Read more

TSCA Reform Passes Senate Unanimously

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Historic overhaul of the primary law governing the safety of chemical products in the U.S.—the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”)—has, after long delay, passed in the Senate. With agreement from all sides that the law is long overdue for modernization and reform, lawmakers have been working for years to update and reform TSCA.  Enacted in 1976, TSCA has never been significantly amended and the current legislation is poised to massively overhaul U.S. EPA’s authority over chemicals in commerce. In June 2015, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan TSCA Modernization Act [...]Read more