Greenberg Traurig, in collaboration with German engineering firm DEEP.KBB and Dutch consulting firm Rebel group, are hosting an insightful discussion regarding the hydrogen revolution in Europe and its business opportunities
Continue Reading Webinar: The Coming Hydrogen Revolution in Europe: Opportunities and Challenges
Hydrogen recently has been touted by various political leaders around the world as a clean panacea to the problem of energy storage or heat or electricity. Hydrocarbons traditionally have served that role and have been stored in above-ground tanks and below-ground caverns or geologic formations. Future use of hydrocarbons, however, in some jurisdictions is not politically favored. Electric batteries are an energy storage alternative, but they are limited in capacity, are costly and eventually must be replaced. What about hydrogen? Hydrogen also can serve as an energy-storage mechanism in the form of a gas, as a liquid formed cryogenically, or within a liquid compound, such as in ammonia. There are, however, technological and economic drawbacks.
Continue Reading Technical and Economical Considerations for Hydrogen Storage
On July 15, 2020, President Trump’s administration finalized a significant overhaul of the regulations governing the administration of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In January 2020, when the regulatory overhaul was announced, we observed that rolling back 50 years of precedent in an administrative action could trigger judicial challenges to the rule and result in greater regulatory uncertainty for federal projects. The final rule, while making some relatively minor modifications, hews closely to its original terms, and does little to satisfy potential challengers.
Continue Reading A Tale of Two Environmental Policies: President Trump Announces NEPA Reform, as Former Vice President Biden Vows to Roll Back Reforms If Elected
On June 18, 2020, the Seventh Circuit handed down a decision in a case involving historical environmental contamination that eases the path to federal court for defendants who are haled into state court for acts that occurred while defendants were assisting the federal government. In Sherrie Baker et al. v. Atlantic Richfield Company, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, et al., No. 19-3160, 2020 WL 3287024, — F.3d — (7th Cir. 2020), the court adopted a new standard for federal officer removal, holding that defendants act under color of federal office and are entitled to a federal forum when sued for conduct relating to acts for the federal government, even if the conduct at issue in a particular case only partially implicates the federally directed acts. This decision has consequences that reach beyond defendants facing environmental liability, as did the defendants in Baker, as it could provide an additional avenue to a federal forum for companies that have either been awarded federal contracts, or that supply customers who hold federal contracts.
Continue Reading 7th Circuit Lowers Removal Hurdle for Defendants That Assisted the Feds
On April 29, 2020, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China (MEE) promulgated the Measures on Environmental Management Registration of New Chemical Substances (MEE Order 12) (link in Chinese), which will come into effect Jan. 1, 2021, and replace the Measures for the Environmental Management of New Chemical Substances (promulgated by the Ministry of Environment Protection of China, MEP Order 7). MEE Order 12 focuses on mass-use of new chemicals, and highly hazardous chemicals, chemicals with persistence and bioaccumulation (PB), chemicals with persistence and toxicity (PT), and chemicals with bioaccumulation and toxicity (BT).
Background: MEE the ‘China REACH
MEE is sometimes also called the ‘China REACH’ for short. ‘China REACH’ references the EU Regulation No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. Both the Chinese and EU legislation aim to improve human health and the environment through the identification of chemical substances. Both pieces of legislation make distinctions in their application depending on annual tonnage and may restrict the usage of highly hazardous chemicals. The main difference between MEE and the EU REACH is that EU REACH focuses on the chemical registration requirement whereas MEE focuses on new substance notification.
Continue Reading China’s New Regulation on New Chemicals Aims to Make Life Easier
During the COVID-19 pandemic, as large and small businesses alike struggle to stay afloat while acting responsibly to protect public health, sustainability may not be top-of-mind. But the development and…
Continue Reading EPA Commences Public Comment on Recycled-Content Product List – It May be More Relevant Than You Think
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 obligations.
Many environmental laws and settlement agreements provide relief valves in certain emergency or force majeure situations. But given that the regulators themselves may be quarantined or teleworking in the coming weeks and months, organizations can take certain steps now to ensure they are able to maintain environmental compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic or to obtain relief based on force majeure, impossibility or impracticability of performance, compliance-with-all-laws clauses, enforcement discretion, or emergency relief provisions.
Continue Reading Meeting Environmental Compliance and Cleanup Requirements During the Pandemic
In January 2020, in his annual budget address, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed a complete overhaul of renewable energy siting. In his 30-day amendments to the executive budget, he proposed the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the “Act”). The proposal would apply to large and mid-sized renewable projects, energy storage, and transmission, as well as directing the state’s agencies and public authorities to establish incentive programs to deliver shovel-ready, permitted sites to developers. The bill signals a shift in thinking about renewable energy siting, from a bureaucratic energy regulatory issue sometimes hindered by fierce local opposition, to an economic development process focused on steering the train of jobs and economic benefits anticipated from renewables over the next decade as a result of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), while continuing to ensure all environmental requirements are met. The bill will need to be approved by the legislature during the state budget negotiations that will occur over the next month.
The Act, weighing in at roughly 40 pages, would consolidate the environmental review and permitting of renewable projects of 25 MW and above, while allowing projects of 10 MW up to 25 MW to opt into the new process. The Act would also provide fast-track siting for co-located energy storage, as well as require regulators to expedite certain transmission projects. The Act would establish a new Office of Renewable Siting within the Department of Economic Development (DED), the state agency arm of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD). The newly created Office of Renewable Siting would create a permitting system and set uniform standards for siting and construction. It would provide a one-stop shop for environmental review and permitting of covered renewable energy projects, operating under statutory time constraints. Renewable energy projects currently moving through the existing Article 10 siting process would be allowed to opt into the new siting process, which is designed to ensure a determination within the Act’s timeframe.
Continue Reading New York’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act Sends Positive Signals to Renewable Energy Developers, and Revamps Renewable Siting
On Feb. 7, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation regulating the presence of toxic chemicals in children’s products and apparel. The governor agreed to the legislation – the…
Continue Reading New York’s ‘Toxic Toys’ Law: Governor Signs Legislation Regulating Chemicals in Children’s Products, But Changes to the Law Are Already Coming
On Jan. 10, 2020, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced another increase in the maximum civil monetary penalties for violations of federal Occupational Safety and Health standards…
Continue Reading OSHA Is Raising Its Maximum Penalty Amounts, Again!