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Climate Disclosures and More…


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ENVIRONMENTAL


The California Climate Disclosure Laws, SEC’s Proposed Climate-Related Disclosure Rule and the CSRD: What U.S. Companies Need to Do Now to Comply

February 22, 2024


Mandatory climate disclosure for U.S. companies is here. In several key jurisdictions, companies will be required to disclose climate-related information within the next few years. Companies need to take action now to (1) determine what disclosure rules will apply to them and (2) put into place the necessary infrastructure to be in a position to develop, collect and report the information called for by applicable requirements.



EPA Proposes Oil and Gas Sector Methane Fee

February 16, 2024


EPA announced a proposed rule to implement the Inflation Reduction Act’s Methane Waste Emissions Charge. The proposed rule would collect an annual charge on reported methane emissions from petroleum and natural gas facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year as reported under Subpart W (Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems) of EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. EPA is holding a virtual public hearing on the proposed rule on February 12, 2024.



Climate-Related Disclosure Commitment of the Lenders, Credit Rationing, and Borrower Environmental Performance

February 12, 2024


The profound shifts in climate patterns and the escalating severity of natural disasters, such as wildfires and flooding, constitute an increasingly pressing threat to both human well-being and the global economy. Recognizing the pivotal impact of industrial activities as significant contributors to climate change, an increasing number of countries are adopting mandatory environmental disclosure measures.



EPA Revises National Ambient Air Quality Standard

February 12, 2024


EPA finalized a rule on February 7, 2024, to tighten the annual national ambient air quality standard for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by 25%*. EPA says the decision is based on available science and comments on its 2023 proposed rule. This week’s rule did not change the 24-hour standard for fine particulate matter or any other NAAQSs.


Source: Lion


NSR Title V Tie-in

February 9, 2024


EPA proposed an update to the CAA Title V operating permit program to codify existing guidance on how “applicable requirements” under the new source review (NSR) preconstruction permitting program should be reviewed and implemented through the Title V program. In essence, EPA’s position is that if a source obtains an NSR permit under EPA-approved CAA Title I rules (including public notice, an opportunity for comment, and judicial review), such a permit establishes NSR-related “applicable requirements” for purposes of incorporation into the source’s Title V permit.


Source: EPA


Amendment of Definition of Hazardous Waste

February 9, 2024


EPA is proposing to amend the definition of hazardous waste as it applies to the corrective action for releases from solid waste management units at RCRA-permitted TSDFs. The proposed amendment would expand the definition of hazardous waste in these scenarios to include certain hazardous constituents not otherwise listed or identified as hazardous waste. Therefore, facilities may need to consider the expanded definition of hazardous waste when implementing a corrective action program if the proposed rule is finalized.


Source: EPA


Improving Recycling and Management of Renewable Energy Wastes: Universal Waste Regulations for Solar Panels and Lithium Batteries

February 8, 2024


EPA supports the increased use of solar power and electric vehicles as integral emissions-free sources of energy and transportation in the fight against climate change. Like all energy production technologies, when solar panels and electric vehicle and other lithium batteries reach the end of their useful lives, their associated wastes must be responsibly recycled and managed. Recycling returns valuable critical minerals to the economy, both conserving resources and reducing the overall energy use needed to produce new solar panels and lithium batteries.


Source: EPA


Accountability of Corporate Emissions Reduction Targets

February 7, 2024


Companies play a vital role in achieving the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (the 2-degree scenario). As of the end of 2022, 3,904 companies have set emissions reduction targets, of which 1,859 have been approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative to be in line with the 2-degree scenario. Announcements of these emissions targets, such as Microsoft’s claim to become carbon negative by 2030, often make media headlines.



EPA Begins Accepting “Absence of an Ingredient” Claims for Some Pesticide Products

February 6, 2024


EPA released new guidance clarifying how the Agency would evaluate “absence of an ingredient” claims on pesticide product labels going forward. In a departure from longstanding EPA policy, the Agency may now accept “DEET free,” “bleach free,” and “phosphate free” claims under specific circumstances.



RCRA Biennial Report for Hazardous Waste Generators

February 2, 2024


This latest one-page "cheat sheet" puts key details about this report in one place for easy reference: who must submit, how to determine your site's generator category, what wastes to include in reporting, and details about re-notification requirements under RCRA for large and small quantity generators.


Source: Lion


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SOCIAL


OSHA Provides Webinar and Instructional Materials to Instruct Employers On New Obligations in Using OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) to Submit Form 300A, Form 300, and Form 301 Data

February 26, 2024


Effective January 1, 2024, OSHA now requires some employers to upload OSHA Form information to its Injury Tracking Application (ITA) by March 2 of the following calendar year (i.e., 2023 data). Employers must use the secure ITA website for injury and illness data submissions. Users may manually enter data, upload a CSV file to add multiple establishments at the same time, or transmit data electronically via the API (application programming interface).



Coast Guard Proposes New Subpart Regulating Marine Transportation System Cybersecurity

February 23, 2024


The Coast Guard is proposing a new subpart (33 CFR 101, Subpart F) to establish minimum performance-based cybersecurity requirements for U.S.-flagged vessels subject to 33 CFR 104, U.S. facilities subject to 33 CFR 105, and OCS facilities subject to 33 CFR 106 in order to safeguard the marine transportation system from the risk of cyber threats. The proposed regulations are intended to help organizations detect, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity risks that may cause transportation security incidents.


Source: EPA


Prepare for 2024: Know the Hazmat Regulatory and Industry changes from 2023.

February 20, 2024


In a domain where staying compliant is crucial for success and safety, the right information is your most powerful tool. Our guide equips you with knowledge and insights, helping you make informed decisions and maintain a competitive edge in 2024.



Register for A Free Two-Part Webinar on OSHA's Injury Reporting Requirements

February 12, 2024


OSHA is hosting a two-part webinar on the employer requirement to electronically submit workplace injury and illness data using the Injury Tracking Application. You can register for either free event and Spanish and Portuguese translation will be available for both.


February 14, 9-10:15 a.m. EST: This presentation will explain the process for electronically submitting 2023 workplace injury and illness data through OSHA's online Injury Tracking Application.


February 28, 9-10:15 a.m. EST: This presentation will be an overview of OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements and address common mistakes made by employers, incentive and disincentive programs, and tips on how an employer can effectively audit their recordkeeping program.


Source: OSHA


1 Million Emergency Responders in Scope of Proposed OSHA Rule

February 5, 2024


On February 5, 2024, OSHA proposed a new Emergency Response Standard for firefighters, EMS providers, and technical search and rescuers.

The proposed Standard would replace the Fire Brigade Standard and consolidate a “patchwork” of hazard-specific standards and state regulations in place today to protect these responders.


Source: Lion


GOVERNANCE


DEI in An Era of Unrest: A Few Truths and A Path Forward

February 26, 2024


Anti-DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) activity is not new, but it is intensifying; emboldened by the Supreme Court ruling on Affirmative Action in higher education and the divisive nature of current politics and policy.


Corporations are navigating lawsuits, retraction letters, calls for EEOC investigations, and considering what a possible second Trump Administration could mean for their DEI initiatives. Even so, Teneo research found that half of U.S. CEOs are continuing or accelerating their DEI programs. Fifteen percent are scaling back their programs and the remaining companies—over one-third—are taking time to re-evaluate. Below is an analysis of the landscape with three critical considerations for businesses as they navigate and review DEI policies and practices.



CEOs Should Address 7 Questions When Considering a Human Rights Policy

February 19, 2024


Growing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) expectations and expanding global regulation are propelling organizations to consider implementing a stand-alone human rights policy, according to Gartner, Inc.

Shareholder proposals and media reports continue to put human rights concerns within companies and their supply chains under public scrutiny. Furthermore, new laws such as the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive require subject companies to report social issues (including human rights) in their own workforce, value chain, affected communities, customers, and end users.



S&P 500 CEO Compensation Increase Trends

February 17, 2024


Followed by a strong year in 2021, where median actual total direct compensation (TDC) pay increased +14% driven by higher actual bonus incentive payments, and in line with consecutive positive total shareholder return (TSR) results — increasing +31%, +18% and +29% in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively — median S&P 500 CEO pay remained flat in 2022. This leveling off of pay was a result of lower actual bonus incentive payments and a substantial decrease in TSR of -18%.



2024 Litigation Look Ahead Series: 40 Years of Chevron Deference, Administrative Law Precedent Hangs in the Balance

February 13, 2024


This first installment examines two U.S. Supreme Court cases that call into question 40 years of precedent related to judicial deference granted to agency rulemakings (Loper Bright Enterprises, et al. v. Raimondo, No. 22-451, and Relentless, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Commerce, No. 33-219). In reviewing these cases, there are indications the Court may overturn its landmark decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, placing new limits on agency power and making it easier for businesses to challenge federal —including environmental — regulations.



Why Good Boards Make Bad Decisions

February 11, 2024


A widely accepted notion is that corporate boards function like well-oiled machines. And why shouldn’t they? At their core, boards are more than a group of highly qualified individuals — they are sophisticated teams, assembled to work together smoothly while bringing diversity of thought, expertise and experience to their oversight role.



A New Season for Executive Compensation Disclosure

February 9, 2024

Executive compensation issues may not have been the predominant focus for boards of directors in 2023 given the enhanced attention to antitrust, diversity and climate reporting matters, among others. However, there have been several notable developments in executive compensation that boards should be mindful of in 2024. We discuss these developments below.



Outlook for M&A and Shareholder Activism in 2024

February 7, 2024


Global deal value in 2023 fell to the lowest level seen in a decade. It was the first year since 2013 that the M&A market failed to hit the $3 trillion value mark, with continued reduced deal activity from private equity firms, which spent 36% less on acquisitions than in 2022. For boards and management teams pondering the M&A environment in 2024, a complex mix of macroeconomic, geopolitical and sector-specific headwinds and tailwinds make prognostication difficult.



Voting on ESG: Ever-Widening Differences

February 7, 2024


Analyzing voting records on key shareholder resolutions in the United States can give a good indication of an asset manager’s stance on environmental, social, and governance topics more broadly. This is due to the prevalence of such resolutions in the U.S., addressing a wide range of topics. There were 227 key ESG resolutions in the last three proxy years: 53 in 2023, 102 in 2022, and 72 in 2021.



Using Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence for Public Disclosures

February 4, 2024


As computing technology develops at a mind-boggling pace, companies are thinking more creatively about how to leverage data science and analytics, including through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) (collectively, data analytics technology) across their operations. This alert provides guidance and recommendations regarding one specific area where clients should consider this technology: managing and mitigating compliance risks associated with the company’s public financial and sustainability disclosures.


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