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California Climate Laws and More…


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ENVIRONMENTAL


EPA Issues Significant New Use Rules (SNURs)

December 19, 2023


EPA is issuing significant new use rules (SNURs) for 24 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs) and are also subject to Orders issued by EPA pursuant to TSCA. Persons must notify EPA at least 90 days before manufacturing, importing, or processing any of these chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this rule.


Source: EPA



Executive Summary: California Climate Laws SB-253 and SB-261

December 19, 2023


California’s new climate laws will affect many companies. SB-253 will impact over 5,300 companies, and SB-261 will impact over 10,000 companies. These new laws include disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1, 2, and 3), assurance for scope 1, 2, and potentially scope 3 GHG emissions, TCFD-aligned climate-related financial risk disclosure requirements, and more.


Source: Workiva


An In-Depth Look at Section 45X Proposed Regulations

December 18, 2023


The U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS on Dec. 14, 2023, released Proposed Regulations regarding the Section 45X Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit of the Internal Revenue Code. (See Holland& Knight's previous alert, "Treasury, IRS Release Section 45X Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit Proposed Regulations," Dec. 14, 2023.)



Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence: Council and Parliament Strike Deal to Protect Environment and Human Rights

December 14, 2023


The Council and the European Parliament today reached a provisional deal on the corporate sustainability due diligence directive (CSDDD), which aims to enhance the protection of the environment and human rights in the EU and globally.



Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property

December 13, 2023


This practice is intended for use on a voluntary basis by parties who wish to assess the environmental condition of forestland or rural property taking into account commonly known and reasonably ascertainable information. While use of this practice is intended to constitute all appropriate inquiries for purposes of the LLPs, it is not intended that its use be limited to that purpose. This practice is intended primarily as an approach to conducting an inquiry designed to identify recognized environmental conditions in connection with a subject property.


Source: ASTM


CFTC Moves to Set Voluntary Carbon Market Standards

December 13, 2023


The Proposed Guidance is intended to ensure that CFTC-regulated exchanges list only those derivatives where the underlying voluntary carbon credits meet certain standards. In conjunction with recent CFTC enforcement guidance regarding carbon markets, the Proposed Guidance shows that, despite limitations to its statutory authority, the CFTC is actively attempting to set standards for voluntary carbon credit markets.



EPA Provides Increased Transparency in Class VI Permitting Process; Now Incorporated in Update to Interactive CCUS State Tracker

December 13, 2023


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a new website providing detailed status updates on Class VI permit applications pending before the agency. Class VI permits, a component of EPA’s Underground Injection Control program, are required for most carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects to begin construction of a well(s) to inject carbon dioxide in deep subsurface formations where it will become permanently sequestered.



EPA Partially Withdraws Amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous Waste Regulations

December 7, 2023


EPA is partially withdrawing a direct final rule that made technical corrections and clarifications to the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements rule, the Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals rule, and the Definition of Solid Waste rule.


Source EPA


Improvements to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for Lead and Copper

December 7, 2023


EPA is proposing revisions to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for lead and copper under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). EPA is proposing to require water systems to replace lead service lines, remove the lead trigger level, reduce the lead action level to 0.010 mg/L, and strengthen tap sampling procedures, among other changes that would improve public health protection and simplify the rule relative to the 2021 Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR). This proposed rule provides improvements in the additional following areas: corrosion control treatment, public education and consumer awareness, and requirements for small systems.


Source: EPA


RCRA Corrections Rule is Worth a Look for Generators

December 6, 2023


US EPA withdrew eight amendments to the RCRA regulations regarding recordkeeping, accumulation limits, and more—one day before those amendments were set to take effect.


Source: Lion


Voluntary Carbon Market Proposed Guidance

December 4, 2023


The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has approved a proposed guidance and request for public comment regarding the listing for trading of voluntary carbon credit derivative contracts. The proposed guidance outlines certain factors a CFTC-regulated exchange, or designated contract market, should consider when addressing requirements of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations that are relevant to the contract design and listing process.


Source: CFTC


Proposed Removal of Affirmative Defense Provisions from NESHAP for the Oil and Gas Industry

December 4, 2023


The EPA is proposing amendments to the NESHAP for the oil and gas industry. Specifically, the EPA is proposing to remove the affirmative defense provisions for both the oil and natural gas production source category and the natural gas transmission and storage source category.


Source: EPA


EPA's Final Rule for Oil and Natural Gas Operations Will Sharply Reduce Methane and Other Harmful Pollution

December 2, 2023


On December 2, EPA issued a final rule that will sharply reduce emissions of methane and other harmful air pollution from oil and natural gas operations — including, for the first time, from existing sources nationwide.


The final action includes New Source Performance Standards to reduce methane and smog-forming volatile organic compounds from new, modified, and reconstructed sources.

It also includes Emissions Guidelines, which set procedures for states to follow as they develop plans to limit methane from existing sources.


Oil and natural gas operations are the largest industrial source of methane pollution in the U.S.


Methane is a climate "super pollutant" that is more potent than carbon dioxide and is responsible for approximately one-third of current warming resulting from human activities.


Rapid, sharp cuts in methane can generate near-immediate climate benefits and are a crucial addition to cutting carbon dioxide in slowing the rate of warming of Earth's atmosphere.


Source: EPA


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SOCIAL


Best Practices to Ensure Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety, Fatigue Rule Compliance

December 11, 2023


“Millions of workers drive or ride in a motor vehicle as part of their jobs. And motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S.” Given the risks inherent to operating CMV, NIOSH has provided guidance to employers on driver safety. NIOSH’s Center for Motor Vehicle Safety offers advice designed to mitigate the risks of workplace car accidents, emphasizing guidance for truck drivers, drivers in other high-risk jobs (EMS, law enforcement, oil and gas extraction), and light-vehicle drivers (real estate, sales, health care).



Diversity Matters Even More: The Case for Holistic Impact

December 5, 2023 


This year, the business case for DEI not only holds, but grows even stronger. Celia Huber, María del Mar Martínez Márquez, Sara Prince, and coauthors explore the link between diversity and holistic impact in the fourth report in McKinsey’s Diversity Matters series.



GOVERNANCE


Corporate Board Diversity: A Comment from Thirty Percent Coalition

December 31, 2023


The Thirty Percent Coalition, founded in 2011, is a pioneering advocate for increased diversity on corporate boards and in senior leadership. Its vision is for senior leadership and boards of directors to reflect the gender, racial, and ethnic diversity of the United States workforce. The mission of the Coalition is to increase diversity in boardrooms and senior leadership at both public and private companies through investor engagement and collaborative action.



Evolving Notions of Board Effectiveness

December 19, 2023


Maximizing board effectiveness has been an ongoing and somewhat elusive corporate governance objective for U.S. corporate boards, executives and stockholders. While the board’s role in governance is well understood, the performance and outcomes of individual boards in terms of oversight, strategic input, advice to management and maximizing shareholder value, among other functions, are subject to significant variability depending on overall board effectiveness.



Incentivizing What Matters 2.0: A Cross-Continental Review of Sustainability-Linked Executive Incentives

December 11, 2023


Compensation programs traditionally were designed to encourage higher earnings, business growth, and stock price performance, and only a fraction of companies incorporated environmental or social considerations in their executive pay program. However, market expectations have evolved in recent years, reflecting the growing integration of environmental and social considerations into investment as well as business decisions.


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