Category Archives: EPA

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Product Stewardship and Textiles

The environmental parameters associated with textiles continue to attract both regulatory and value chain attention. In an interesting development, Vietnam just relaxed its chemical testing rules for exported textiles (e.g., textiles and apparel exported to the U.S. and EU markets), specifically for formaldehyde and aromatic amines. Formaldehyde is frequently used in treating textiles, including popular … Continue Reading

EPA Solicits Comments on Regulatory Reform

On April 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a request for comments to aid EPA’s ongoing “Evaluation of Existing Regulations,” which seeks to identify regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification. Comments must be submitted by May 15, so parties interested in taking this opportunity to help EPA identify regulations … Continue Reading

The 5th Circuit Issues Order Leaving Intact its Judicial Stay on the EPA Regional Haze Rule

On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit continued its stay of EPA’s Regional Haze Rule. Texas et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-60118 (Mar. 22, 2017). The EPA rule would have required power plants in Texas and Oklahoma to install costly and potentially unnecessary upgrades to their generators. Last July, … Continue Reading

EPA Issues Final Hydraulic Fracturing Report, Concluding that The Practice “Can Impact Drinking Water Resources under Some Circumstances”; Follow-on Federal Regulation Highly Unlikely

When Congress first tasked the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 with studying the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, pundits on both sides of the debate collectively held their breath: at last, they thought, there would be an independent, comprehensive, scientific study of the oil and gas extraction technique. Seven years in the … Continue Reading

EPA’s Amendments to the Standards for Hazardous Waste Generators

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published its amendments to, and reorganization of, the regulations governing generators of hazardous waste, 81 Fed. Reg. 85,732 (Nov. 28). These rules govern the hundreds of thousands of enterprises nationally that produce wastes characterized or listed as hazardous under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. … Continue Reading

EPA Seeks to Impose Financial Responsibility Requirements on Hardrock Mine Operators

On Dec. 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator signed a proposed rule, “Financial Responsibility Requirements under CERCLA § 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry,” which would impose new financial responsibility requirements for current owners and operators of hardrock mines, including numerous metal mines in the western United States. Federal Register … Continue Reading

Buckle Up for a Wild Ride: Environmental Policy in the Trump Administration

Millions of Americans are coming to grips with the broad social and political ramifications of Donald Trump’s stunning upset victory in last Tuesday’s presidential election. And while the president-elect’s policy pronouncements to date have been short on detail, one thing is clear: those concerned with environmental protection and climate change had better buckle up for … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Declines to Require Permits for Stormwater Discharges from Commercial Properties

How to regulate stormwater discharges from impervious areas such as parking lots remains a hotly disputed environmental issue. Most recently, U.S. EPA Region 9 rejected a petition filed by environmental advocacy groups under the federal Clean Water Act calling for regulation of stormwater discharges into the Alamitos Bay/Los Cerritos Channel watershed in Los Angeles County … Continue Reading

EPA: Research Shows Herbicide Glyphosate Unlikely to Cause Cancer

Introduction The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently concluded that the available data at this time suggest that the herbicide, glyphosate, is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) undertook the glyphosate study as part of its periodic review of pesticides registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide … Continue Reading

Multiple Challenges Filed Against Massachusetts Small MS4 Stormwater General Permit

The long odyssey of the Massachusetts Small MS4 stormwater general permit continues – the latest chapter involving four separate appeals filed in two courts seeking to modify the permit’s terms.  Issued by U.S. EPA New England, the general permit authorizes stormwater discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (“MS4”) located in Massachusetts. While the … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Settles Public Interest Groups’ Challenge to Industrial Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit

U.S. EPA recently entered into a settlement agreement with public interest groups regarding stormwater permitting requirements that will likely have significant consequences to industrial stormwater dischargers throughout the U.S.  In states not authorized to issue Clean Water Act permits (currently Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Idaho and New Mexico), USEPA retains responsibility for regulating stormwater discharges associated … Continue Reading

The Certainties and Uncertainties of EPA’s Civil Penalties Increases

Recent legislation and an even more recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemaking will cause civil monetary penalties for violations of federal environmental laws to increase significantly, beginning Aug. 1; subsequently, penalties will increase annually to track inflation. President Obama signed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 on Nov. 2, … Continue Reading

EPA Issues Environmental Justice Technical Guidance

In June 2016, the EPA issued its final version of the Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis. EPA has defined the concept of Environmental Justice (or “EJ”) as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and … Continue Reading

Ability to Challenge Agencies in Court is ‘Judicial Activism’ Both Sides Can Support

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide a case that may allow federal courts to involve themselves in a greater number of public policy disputes. With that in mind, Shareholder Jerry Stouck authored his recent column for the National Law Journal discussing Hawkes Co., Inc. v. EPA, argued on March 30, which will decide whether … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Coalition Asks Supreme Court to Halt EPA Power Plan

A bipartisan coalition of 29 states and state agencies filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to immediately halt the Obama Administration’s power plan while litigation continues in the D.C. Circuit Court.   The application for immediate stay of the final EPA rule imposing far-reaching climate rules for power plants was filed by the … Continue Reading

Navigating Legal Implications of Power Industry Regulations

I participated in a Power Magazine legal issues conference on December 7th in Las Vegas entitled, “Navigating Legal Implications of Power Industry Regulations.”  My presentation focused on the “nuts and bolts” of  preparing a State Plan under section 111(d) of the CAA and on what utilities should be doing with respect to State Plans while … Continue Reading

EPA Tightens Regs On Power Plant Wastewater Discharges

From Kathleen Kline of GT Philadelphia: On September 30, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) finalized a proposed rule to regulate wastewater discharges from power plants.  The new rule sets limits on dissolved pollutants permitted in these discharges, and focus on mercury, selenium, and arsenic—toxic metals previously unregulated in this context. Since the 1980s, … Continue Reading

Clean Water Rule: Confusion Rains Down

The Clean Water Rule, recently promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), continues to generate controversy, confusion and regulatory uncertainty.  Following decades of rulemakings and legal challenges over the scope of the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) jurisdiction, the Clean Water Rule is the most … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Reverses and Remands MATS to D.C. Circuit for EPA Failure to Consider Costs

In a 5 to 4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday, June 29th, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) unreasonably interpreted the federal Clean Air Act (“CAA”) when EPA decided deemed that costs were irrelevant in deciding whether to regulate hazardous air emissions from electric utility sources under section 112 of … Continue Reading

Clean Water Act Jurisdiction under the Newly Issued Clean Water Rule

More than 40 years after Congress passed the landmark Clean Water Act, the jurisdictional reach of that statute remains a contentious legal and political issue. By prohibiting the discharge of pollutants to “navigable waters” without a permit, the Act expressly limits its protections to “navigable waters.” The statute defines “navigable waters” as “waters of the … Continue Reading

EPA Direct Final Rule Allows Rescission of Greenhouse Gas Only PSD/Title V Permits

On April 30, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued a direct final rule that will allow the rescission of Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) permits issued by EPA or delegated state and local permitting authorities under Step 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule.  The rule, published at 80 Fed. … Continue Reading

EPA Decision Impacts Back-Up Generators

In a decision issued on May 1, the DC Circuit vacated a U.S. EPA rule that allowed backup generators to operate up to 100 hours/year without emission controls as part of so-called emergency power demand/response programs intended to address short-term capacity shortfalls in the electrical grid.  Delaware DNREC v. EPA, No. 13-1093, (D.C. Cir. May 1, 2015).  … Continue Reading

Environmental Appeals Board Issues Major TSCA 8(e) Decision

On March 13, EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board’s issued its long-awaited decision in the Elementis TSCA 8(e) case, reversing the ALJ’s decision imposing a multi-million dollar penalty on Elementis.  In Re Elementis Chromium, Inc., TSCA Appeal No. 13-03 (March 13, 2015). Section 8(e) of TSCA requires the “immediate” reporting of information which “reasonably supports the conclusion” … Continue Reading
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