Category Archives: Compliance

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New Lawsuit Challenges DOJ Policy Prohibiting SEPs

The ongoing battle over Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) – environmentally-beneficial, beyond-compliance projects that defendants agree to undertake for potential penalty mitigation in settlement of environmental enforcement actions – heated up last week when an environmental group sued the attorney general and others for violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in issuing a legal memorandum effectively … Continue Reading

U.S. and Dutch Governments Announce Hydrogen Collaboration

On Oct. 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat) issued a statement of intent. The governments aim to jointly stimulate future hydrogen research & development and demonstration activities. Hydrogen has caught … Continue Reading

Pleasing All the People Some of the Time: New York Simultaneously Proposes Regulations Implementing Its New Siting Law and Community Benefit Program for Renewable Projects

Earlier this year New York state, conceding that its previously enacted siting law had not been effective in siting large-scale renewable energy projects, enacted the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (codified primarily in N.Y. Executive Law § 94-c; hereinafter, the Act). The Act, effectively a new siting law for renewable projects, created, … Continue Reading

EU Commission Limits the Netherlands’ Plans to Subsidize Green Hydrogen Production

On Sept. 14, 2020 the Dutch minister of Economic Affairs and Climate informed the Dutch Parliament that the EU Commission does not consent to the granting of subsidies for the environmentally friendly production of hydrogen through sustainable energy (so-called ‘green hydrogen’) under the Dutch SDE++ scheme in the form requested by the Dutch government. State-aid … Continue Reading

New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Legislation: The Focus on Major Source Permit Applications Might Impact Property Values

Last month, I wrote about the “Environmental Justice for All Act,” a bill that proposes a finding that vulnerable populations are disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards. New Jersey is following the federal environmental justice debate, passing historical environmental justice legislation in both the House and Senate, where it is currently awaiting Governor Phil Murphy’s approval. … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Justice Revises its Guidance on Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs

On June 1 the criminal division of the U.S. DOJ revised its guidance to DOJ attorneys on how to evaluate corporate compliance programs. DOJ considers the “adequacy and effectiveness” of a company’s compliance program in deciding whether to charge a company with a crime and what penalties the government may seek, and this guidance provides … Continue Reading

Mexican Official Standard NOM-017-CRE-2019: Clean Energy Measurement and Compliance Assessment

The Energy Regulatory Commission (Comisión Reguladora de Energía, “CRE”) published Mexican Official Standard (Norma Oficial Mexicana) NOM-107-CRE-2019, Methods for measuring variables to calculate the percentage of clean energy and compliance assessment procedure (the “NOM”). We discuss the background, purpose, scope of application, measurement methods, compliance assessment, and oversight authority of the CRE. Read the full … Continue Reading

EPA Inspector General Finds Declining Enforcement and Compliance Resources and Outcomes

An EPA Inspector General (IG) report issued on March 31 found that agency enforcement and compliance activity and resources have generally declined – substantially on certain measures – between Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 and FY 2018. (The EPA FY runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.) The report, “EPA’s Compliance Monitoring Activities, Enforcement Actions, and … Continue Reading

Environmental Enforcement Discretion During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has affected every sector of our national and global economy, with profound impacts on business operations that stretch resources thin and create challenges to comply with state and federal environmental regulations. For example, stay-at-home orders or illness may keep employees or contractors away from work, making it difficult to … Continue Reading

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Issues Enforcement Discretion Policy to Address Civil Noncompliance during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a memorandum (Susan Parker Bodine, “COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program,” U.S. EPA, March 26, 2020) (Discretion Memo) granting enforcement discretion for virtually all civil violations of federal environmental laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. Timing The policy will apply retroactively from March 13, 2020, the … Continue Reading

Meeting Environmental Compliance and Cleanup Requirements During the Pandemic

In addition to causing infection and illness, the COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenges for organizations contending with employee quarantines and isolation, supply chain and logistics disruptions, and other operational changes. While environmental compliance may not be top-of-mind right now for most Americans, it still is a critical consideration for organizations with environmental compliance or cleanup … Continue Reading

Congress Takes Initial Steps to Address PFAS in the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report

On Dec. 11, the House of Representatives passed S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. The Senate followed suit on Dec. 17, bringing an end to protracted negotiations on this annual must-pass legislation. In one of their final acts, conferees agreed to provisions addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Two major provisions … Continue Reading

EPA’s Final Risk Management Program Reconsideration Rule More In-Step with OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a final rule rescinding major amendments to the Clean Air Act §112(r) Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations that were promulgated at the end of the Obama Administration in 2017. The 2017 revisions were promulgated partially in response to a 2013 explosion at a fertilizer company in West Texas, which … Continue Reading

Consulting With Native American Tribes on Energy and Infrastructure Development: Strategies for Reducing Project Risk

“Tribal consultation” refers to the federal government’s legal obligation to consult with Native American tribes on energy and infrastructure projects, such as highways and railroads, pipelines, telecommunications towers and systems, and electrical transmission lines. Whenever a given project requires some sort of federal approval – a water-crossing permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, … Continue Reading

After Flint, EPA’s New Lead Rule Proposal May Not Satisfy Critics

In the wake of the drinking water crises in Flint, Michigan and elsewhere, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule on Oct. 10, 2019, that would impose new lead requirements on drinking water systems. If finalized, the new rule would mark the first change to the lead and copper rule (LCR) since 1991. … Continue Reading

United States Indicts Facility Owner Under Clean Air Act General Duty Clause

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to increase its enforcement role in industrial accidents, at times overshadowing the role traditionally played by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). EPA often takes tougher enforcement actions than OSHA and is more willing to bring criminal charges. This trend is reflected in a recent case affirming … Continue Reading

An uncertain path to a cleaner future: Zero carbon electricity legislation in New York and California

With the recent passage of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which calls for a carbon free electricity market by 2040, New York became the sixth state to pass legislation calling for a carbon free electricity market. Just one year earlier, California passed similar legislation, SB100, adopting a state policy to achieve a zero-carbon … Continue Reading

Constant Vigilance: Why Environmental Criminal Enforcement Still Matters

Jillian Kirn authored an article titled “Constant Vigilance: Why Environmental Criminal Enforcement Still Matters” in The Legal Intelligencer. According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearing House (TRAC), federal prosecutions for environmental crimes are down 40 percent from 2013 levels. Still, despite these recent declines, environmental criminal enforcement remains a potent regulatory tool. To read the … Continue Reading

Minimum Insurance Requirements for Regulated Entities in the Hydrocarbon Sector in Mexico

On July 23, 2018, Mexico published new administrative provisions (the “Guidelines”) implementing minimum insurance requirements for entities engaged in activities related to transportation, storage, distribution, compression, decompression, liquefaction, regasification, or retail sale of hydrocarbons or petroleum products in Mexico (“Regulated Entities”). The Guidelines will help Regulated Entities that carry out activities in the hydrocarbon sector … Continue Reading

Drytech, NFAs, and ISRA Triggers: The ultimate clingy relationship

Have you ever wanted to escape a clingy and annoying relationship? In terms of environmental compliance, triggering New Jersey’s Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) can evoke the same feelings of frustration.  N.J.S.A. 13:1K (­­­­1993). The recent Drytech, Inc. v. State of New Jersey, in particular, highlighted the pesky and recurrent nature of ISRA. ISRA applies … Continue Reading
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