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California: The State to Watch and more….

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Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Data Elements under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

April 26, 2024

EPA is amending the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Rule by updating the general provisions to reflect revised global warming potentials; expanding monitoring and reporting to additional sectors; improving the calculation, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements by updating methodologies; improving data verifications; and collecting additional data to inform a variety of Clean Air Act provisions that EPA carries out. GHG monitoring and reporting requirements are added for five source categories: coke calcining; ceramics manufacturing; calcium carbide production; caprolactam, glyoxal, and glyoxylic acid production; and facilities conducting geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide with enhanced oil recovery. Confidentiality determinations are established and amended for reporting certain data elements that are added or revised by these amendments.

Source: EPA

Interior Department Finalizes Rule to Limit Oil and Gas, Mineral Development in Alaska April 19, 2024

The U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) released a final rule that will protect millions of acres of Alaskan wildness from the development of oil, gas and minerals. Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages activity on federal lands, announced the rule on April 19, 2024. The final rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register the final week of April and will become effective 30 days from publication.

EPA Finalizes Hazardous Substance Listing for PFOA and PFOS

April 19, 2024

On April 19, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a pre-publication version of its final rule designating two per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under § 102(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). EPA listed perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, and set a reportable quantity at one pound for each of these chemicals. The rule is the agency’s first-ever use of CERCLA § 102 to designate hazardous substances. The rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Environmental Developments to Watch in California in 2024

April 16, 2024

California is an epicenter of environmental policymaking and often a harbinger of laws and regulations adopted throughout the country, and there’s no reason to think this will change. In this article, we summarize key areas of activity we are tracking and what companies should expect in the coming months.

E3377-24 - Standard Guide for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Disclosure Related to Climate and Community

April 10, 2024

Committee E50.07, ASTM BOS Volume 11.05. This guide provides an overview of frameworks used for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures applicable to a variety of organizations. This guide provides users with information on the history of ESG disclosure frameworks, the components that comprise ESG disclosures, the target audience of these disclosures, and the challenges associated with this topic.

Source: ASTM

EPA Finalizes National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for Certain PFAS

April 10, 2024

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its proposed rule establishing National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for certain PFAS compounds. The final rule sets Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) in drinking water for five PFAS compounds and a Hazard Index MCL for a mixture of four PFAS:

  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)

  • Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)

  • Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)

  • Hexafluoroprophylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt (HFPO-DA, or GenX)

  • Mixtures containing two or more of PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS)

The final rule also establishes health-based and non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG) for the regulated PFAS compounds.

EPA Proposes Significant New Use Rules (SNURs)

April 9, 2024

EPA is proposing SNURs for 30 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices. In addition to recordkeeping requirements, this would require persons to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing the manufacture, import, or processing of these substances for an activity determined to be a significant new use for that substance. Some examples of significant new use include releases to water and industrial, commercial, and consumer activities that result in inhalation exposure.

Source: EPA

EPA Finalizes Amendments to the NESHAPs for Ethylene Production, Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing, Organic Liquids Distribution (Non-Gasoline), and Petroleum Refineries

April 5, 2024

EPA received comments on the following NESHAPs since finalizing their residual risk and technology reviews (RTRs): the Ethylene Production source category, part of the Generic Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards NESHAP; the Organic Liquids Distribution (Non-Gasoline) NESHAP; the Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing NESHAP; and the Petroleum Refinery Sector NESHAP. Based on comment review, EPA is finalizing amendments to remove the force majeure exemption for pressure relief devices (PRDs) and emergency flaring, to incorporate clarifications for the degassing requirements for floating roof storage vessels, and to align the Petroleum Refinery Sector NESHAP with other more recent rules and eliminate the need to request site-specific alternative means of emission limitations.

Source: EPA

A Deeper Dive into the SEC’s Landmark Climate Disclosure Rules for Public Companies

April 5, 2024

On March 6, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or the “Commission”) adopted (in a three-two vote) long-awaited climate-related disclosure rules for public companies (the “Final Rules”). The Final Rules, although not as prescriptive as the rules that were proposed almost two years prior (the “Proposed Rules”), contain broad-sweeping requirements that constitute a significant expansion of the amount of climate-related disclosure that public companies will have to make. Accordingly, the Final Rules will impose significant burdens in terms of the amount of time, resources and effort necessary for companies and their advisors to comply.

EPA Heavy Truck Standards to Drive Down GHG Emissions

April 1, 2024

On March 29, 2024, EPA finalized new greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for the manufacture, sale, or importation of heavy-duty trucks. The new standards are expected to drive the production of trucks fueled by electricity and hydrogen and aim to reduce GHG emissions up to 60 percent by 2032 for some vehicle classes. Heavy-duty vehicles currently account for 25 percent of GHGs from the transportation sector. The rule applies to manufacturers and does not mandate the sale of new vehicles, nor does it remove any heavy-duty vehicles currently on the road.

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Addendum I to the 2024 IATA DGR Released

April 12, 2024

IATA released its first Addendum to the 2024 Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR), the 65th Edition. IATA issues these updates to the DGR each year to correct errors, add or remove restrictions, and clarify the regulations.

Noteworthy updates in Addendum I include:

  • New and Amended Operator Variations

  • Updates from carrier FedEx

  • Changes to Section 8 and Section 10

  • Revisions to Appendixes D.1, F.4, and F.5

Source: Lion

Final Rule: Hazmat Regs Aligned with International Standards

April 11, 2024

US DOT PHMSA published a Final Rule on April 10 to align ("harmonize") the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) more closely with international standards, including the 2023–24 ICAO Technical Instructions, the 2022 IMDG Code, and the 22nd revised UN Model Regulations. The rule takes effect on May 10, 2024.

The rule harmonizes the HMR with global requirements including the 2023–24 ICAO Technical Instructions, the 2022 IMDG Code, and the 22nd revised UN Model Regulations.

Source: Lion

Hazardous Materials Transportation: Harmonization with International Standards

April 11, 2024

PHMSA is amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards. The amendments include modifications to the Hazardous Materials Table, revisions to packaging requirements, and revisions to the shipping requirements for lithium batteries. Facilities need to comply with the final rule by April 10, 2025.

Source: EPA

USDOT Announces Publication of 2024 Emergency Response Guidebook

April 5, 2024

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced the publication of the 2024 Edition of its Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). This newly revised manual is free of charge to emergency responders and provides guidance on what to do during the initial stages of a hazmat transportation incident.

Source: PHMSA


“ES” Versus “G” in Corporate Governance: You Can’t Have It All

April 23, 2024

The environmental, social, and governance (ESG) moniker implies a coherence between corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. In a paper recently posted to SSRN, I argue, to the contrary, that governance trade-offs must be made if corporations are going to be able to pursue social benefits other than just profits. The analysis provides a novel diagnosis for why, years after the 2019 Business Roundtable statement on the purpose of the corporation and talk about ESG factors from institutional investors, ESG proponents remain frustrated by the lack of progress on the environmental and social goals of corporations. It also provides two institutional solutions—if pro-social founders and investors are actually willing to pay the requisite costs.

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