Updated: Aug 22, 2022
Adopting the 2022 NAICS Codes for TRI Reporting
July 26, 2022
EPA is proposing to amend 40 CFR 372 to update the NAICS codes for TRI reporting to reflect the 2022 NAICS code revision. Additionally, EPA is proposing to include NAICS codes for facilities covered under TRI's SIC codes but had been inadvertently excluded in past TRI NAICS updates. EPA is also proposing to update covered facilities for toxic chemical release reporting (40 CFR 372.22) to account for the discretionary authority provision provided in 42 U.S.C. 11023.
EPA Audit Policy Update – Scrutiny of Voluntary Self-Disclosures Set to Increase
July 21, 2022 The EPA intends to increase its review of voluntary self-disclosures of violations submitted electronically under EPA’s Audit Policy. The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently issued a report detailing the results of an evaluation of the EPA’s process for screening self-reported environmental violations made through its eDisclosure system. The OIG’s report concluded that EPA currently lacks the necessary internal controls to ensure that violations disclosed through the eDisclosure system are screened for significant concerns, such as criminal conduct and potential imminent hazards.
President Biden Announces Executive Actions to Combat Climate Change
July 20, 2022
President Joe Biden announced a series of executive actions to combat climate change during a July 20, 2022, speech in Somerset, Massachusetts. Citing climate as a "clear and present danger" and "existential threat" while lamenting the lack of congressional action, the president touted the economic opportunity and environmental benefits that can be realized by a transition to clean energy.
Addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, the actions announced include opening the Gulf of Mexico and other waters to offshore wind development, increasing funding for climate resiliency, and expanding access to cooling resources for low-income households, respectively.
Source: Holland & Knight
TSCA Update: Revised Chemical Risk Determinations
July 8, 2022
Revised TSCA risk determinations for five chemical substances are now available for public review from US EPA. A scope document for Part 2 of EPA's asbestos risk evaluation is also available.
In addition, EPA published a Final Rule on July 5 to align the TSCA regulations for “significant new uses” of chemical substances with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and make other revisions.
EPA Increases Scrutiny of Self-Reporting Through the eDisclosure System
July 7, 2022
On June 30, the EPA OIG issued a report titled “Additional Internal Controls Would Improve the EPA’s System for Electronic Disclosure of Environmental Violations.” The OIG made several recommendations for EPA to increase its review of self-disclosures to address a concern that some self-disclosures seemed to not meet some Audit Policy eligibility criteria.
Key Takeaways from U.S. Supreme Court Decision in West Virginia v. EPA
July 1, 2022
On June 30, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in West Virginia v. EPA, 597 U.S. __, 2022 WL 2347278 (June 30, 2022), a case involving the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule. Applying the “major questions” doctrine, the Court held that EPA exceeded its statutory authority when promulgating the CPP. This decision has implications for the Biden Administration’s planned re-work and re-issuance of the CPP and other options for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electric power and other sectors. It also carries implications outside the environmental realm, providing litigants a powerful new administrative law precedent to challenge agency rules.
Interior Releases Draft Program for New Offshore Leases; Future Uncertain
July 5, 2022
The U.S. Department of the Interior on July 1, 2022, released its long-awaited update on the next Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) five-year proposed offshore drilling program (Program), a day after the previous program expired.1 Under Section 18 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), as amended, the Interior Secretary must "prepare and periodically revise, and maintain" a five-year program that indicates proposed public oil and natural gas lease sales in U.S. waters.2 Since 1980, nine five-year programs, along with a revised version of one program, have been submitted to Congress. The five-year programs have reflected the offshore oil and gas leasing policies of different presidential administrations, along with input from states, members of Congress, and other stakeholders.
Source: Holland & Knight
TCEQ's Advanced Air Permitting Seminar
July 27, 2022
Mark your calendar! Registration begins on August 16th for the TCEQ’s Advanced Air Permitting Seminar. Join our Air Permitting staff online, or at the UT Commons Conference Center in Austin, Texas on October 18th, 2022.
Our knowledgeable staff will offer updates and guidance on rules and requirements. Hear case studies, follow a fugitive workbook walkthrough, and more. Don’t miss your chance to attend. Register beginning August 16th.
Notice of Public Comment Period and Public Meeting
July 26, 2022
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (commission) is issuing this public notice of proposed revisions to the ERIG guidelines to obtain public input.
The proposed guideline revisions would incorporate changes made to the Diesel Emissions Reduction Incentives (DERI) in 30 TAC Chapter 114, Control of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles, Subchapter K, Division 3. The rules were amended to implement portions of House Bill 4472, 87th Texas Legislature, 2021, Regular Session. The changes provide that the commission set the minimum percentage of annual usage required for Texas Emission Reduction Plan-funded marine vessels or engines at 55% in the intercoastal waterways or bays adjacent to a nonattainment area or affected county of this state.
Estimated $16 Million in Funding Available for the Texas Clean Fleet Program
July 20, 2022
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is now accepting applications for the Texas Clean Fleet Program (TCFP) with an estimated $16 million in grant funding available for fleet owners in Texas to replace aging diesel vehicles with new hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles. Grants may reimburse up to 80% of the cost of the new vehicle.
Grants are available for entities who own and operate a fleet of 75 or more on-road vehicles in Texas and who apply to replace at least 10 of those vehicles with new hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles powered by:
• compressed natural gas
• liquified natural gas
• propane, or
• a mixture of fuels containing at least 85% methanol by volume (M85).
Detailed TCFP eligibility requirements and instructions for how to apply for a TCFP grant can be found on the TERP website. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. CST on Sept. 16, 2022.
Advanced Air Permitting Seminar
July 14, 2022
The TCEQ's Advanced Air Permitting Seminar returns to Austin on October 18th, 2022. Air Permitting staff is proud to once again offer their expertise and guidance on air permitting rules, requirements, and other topics of interest. Many of our partners in the environmental sector will remember this Seminar as having deep roots in Texas permitting, providing steady guidance on regulations. Join us once again on October 18th.
The TCEQ will host this Seminar in a 'hybrid' format. You may choose to join us in person or online. We welcome your participation, and encourage you to join us for professional training and development!
EPA’s Free Technical Assistance Webinar
July 8, 2022
Water System Partnerships: Regionalization Solutions for Drinking Water and Wastewater.
News From Municipal Solid Waste
July 7, 2022
Types of Waste That May Be Accepted by Municipal Solid Waste Landfills in Texas. The table summarizes the types of waste Texas municipal solid waste landfills may accept. Acceptance is subject to limitations specified in a facility permit, or a landfill may choose not to accept some types of waste.
Free Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) Compliance Webinars
July 6, 2022
TCEQ is hosting FREE webinars for underground storage tank (UST) owners and operators to explain UST reporting and record-keeping requirements. The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires facilities with USTs to be inspected at least once every three years. TCEQ's Small Business and Local Government Assistance (SBLGA) program is hosting FREE webinars to help owners and operators be prepared for compliance investigations.
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HEALTH & SAFETY COMPLIANCE
Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards
July 27, 2022
PHMSA is amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) in order to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards. The amendments include changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements. In addition, PHMSA is amending the HMR to allow for better alignment with Canada's Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.
IATA's 4 Steps to Safer Lithium Battery Shipments
July 22, 2022
Transportation of lithium batteries has been one of air carriers’ most pressing safety concerns for many years.
Following the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Air Transport Forum in Qatar last month, the organization posted an article titled Mitigating the Danger of Lithium Batteries on its website. In the article, IATA suggests four steps that governments and industries can take to limit incidents involving lithium batteries in air transportation.
Final Rule Alert: Hazmat Harmonization Rule HM-215P
July 26, 2022
On July 26, DOT PHMSA published a Final Rule (HM-215P) to align the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with international regulations and standards. The Final Rule takes effect on August 25, 2022.
PHMSA is also withdrawing an October 2020 Notice of Enforcement policy that allowed shippers to follow the latest editions of the ICAO Technical Instructions (TI) and IMDG Code while this Final Rule was pending.
EPA Adds Five Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances to List of Toxic Chemicals Subject to Toxic Chemical Release Reporting
July 19, 2022
EPA is adding five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of toxic chemicals subject to Toxic Chemical Release Reporting under EPCRA. The manufacture, processing, and otherwise use reporting threshold of 100 pounds applies to each PFAS being added to the list. Four of the PFAS are reportable for the 2022 reporting year, with reports due July 1, 2023, and one is reportable for the 2021 reporting year, with reports due July 1, 2022.
PHMSA Invites Comment on Electronic Hazard Communication
July 11, 2022
US DOT PHMSA invites hazardous materials shippers, carriers, emergency response organizations, and other stakeholders to share their thoughts about the potential for using electronic hazard communications as an alternative to the physical (i.e., paper) documentation currently required.
In the future, electronic communications could offer an alternative to the current hard-copy documentation requirements related to:
Hazmat shipping papers (49 CFR Part 172, Subpart C)
Emergency response information (49 CFR 172, Subpart G)
Train consists (49 CFR 174.26)
Notifications to the pilot in command (49 CFR 175.33)
Dangerous cargo manifests (49 CFR 176.30)
Shipping papers in motor vehicles (49 CFR 177.817)
Electronic hazard communication could also affect DOT Special Permits (SPs), approvals, and registrations. DOT will accept comments on the Request for Information (RFI) until September 9, 2022.
SUSTAINABILITY, ESG, AND CLIMATE ACTION
FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Executive Actions on Climate to Address Extreme Heat and Boost Offshore Wind
July 20, 2022
President Biden is announcing his latest set of executive actions to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, by creating good-paying jobs in clean energy and lowering costs for families. His actions will protect communities from climate impacts already here, including extreme heat conditions impacting more than 100 million Americans this week, and expand offshore wind opportunities and jobs in the United States
Source: The Whitehouse
The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022
July 7, 2022
The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 provides a global overview of progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, using the latest available data and estimates. It tracks the global and regional progress towards the 17 Goals with in-depth analyses of selected indicators for each Goal.
EU Lawmakers Defeat Move to Keep Nuclear & Gas out of Green Investment Taxonomy July 6, 2022
The European Parliament voted today against a resolution aimed at keeping nuclear and gas energy out of the EU Taxonomy, paving the way for their incorporation in the classification system for environmentally sustainable activities.
The initiative to keep nuclear and gas out of the Taxonomy was defeated by a vote of 328 against 278. The Taxonomy proposal is likely to move forward unless vetoed by the European Council, which would require a qualified majority of at least 72% of Member States representing at least 65% of the EU population.
Source: ESG Today