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EPA & OSHA Regulations Updates, Net Zero vs Real Zero, Sustainability Benchmarking and Much More...

Updated: Jul 1



ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE


Federal


EPA June 30, 2021 Deadline for e-Manifest Use


Starting June 30, 2021, EPA will no longer accept paper manifests from hazardous waste receiving facilities (i.e., TSDFs). Instead, receiving facilities must use one of the following methods to submit manifest data into the e-manifest system through the RCRAInfo portal:

  • Electronic

  • Hybrid

  • Image only

  • Data plus image

Source: EPA


RMP Rule Regulatory Changes on the Horizon

June 16, 2021


EPA held the first of two public listening sessions to inform its review of the Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations. EPA's intent is to better address the impacts of climate change on facility safety and protect communities from chemical accidents, especially vulnerable and overburdened communities living near RMP facilities. EPA heard perspectives on potential revisions to the RMP program under the current administration, and invited the submission of written comments by July 15, 2021.

Source: National Law Review


EPA Budget Increases for FY 2022

June 15, 2021


The $11.2 billion marked for the EPA include the following initiatives:

  • Rebuilding infrastructure and creating jobs

  • Protecting public health

  • Tackling the climate crisis with the urgency science demands

  • Advancing environmental justice and civil rights

  • Supporting states, tribes, and regional offices

  • Prioritizing science and enhancing the workforce

Source: BLR


EPA to Revise Drinking Water Lead and Copper Rule

June 15, 2021


EPA pushed back the effective date of the Trump-Era Lead and Copper Rule after receiving public feedback supporting a delay for the regulation. The Trump‑Era Rule cut the percentage of a public water system’s lead pipes that need to be replaced annually from 7% down to 3%. Environmental groups sued the EPA in January to block the regulation claiming that the Rule exposed more children to lead poisoning. The Biden Administration EPA is reviewing and is expected to revise the Rule which is now set to take effect on December 16, rather than its original effective date of June.

Source: JD Supra

EPA Generator Hazardous Waste Improvements Rule Adopted in 35 States

June 15, 2021


Thirty-five states have adopted the RCRA Generator Improvements Rule: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Source: Lion and EPA


Electronic Option for Export Notifications Under the Toxic Substances Act (TSCA)

June 14, 2021


EPA is announcing the availability of an electronic option for submitting the export notifications that are required under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). As an alternative to the hardcopy approach, which is still available, EPA is also now accepting the required export notifications electronically using EPA’s electronic document submission system, the Central Data Exchange (CDX).

Source: Federal Register


EPA Regulatory Agenda

June 11, 2021


The Biden administration has released the Spring 2021 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, a list of regulatory actions federal agencies intend to issue in the near and long term. While various executive orders have directed agencies to review and rescind or revise numerous rules issued under the Trump administration, the agenda reflects the first comprehensive list of regulations under development by the Biden administration and their expected timelines.

Source: Sidley & Austin


Addition of 1-Bromopropane to Clean Air Act Section 112 HAP List

June 11, 2021


This is the first time that a substance will be added to the HAP list since the initial list was established by the 1990 CAA Amendments. The addition of 1– BP to the HAP list could have immediate regulatory compliance impacts to facilities that emit 1–BP. EPA is soliciting data and information on 1–BP usage, emission controls, and costs to inform the process to address the implementation of the upcoming listing action and to ensure that the regulatory infrastructure is in place to effectively and efficiently control the emissions of 1–BP.

Source: Federal Register


EPA Proposes New Rule on PFAS

June 10, 2021


EPA is issuing a proposed rule that is designed to gather comprehensive data on more than 1,000 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) manufactured in the United States, withdrawing guidance that weakened EPA’s July 2020 Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) restricting certain long-chain PFAS, and publishing a final rule that officially incorporates three additional PFAS into the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).

Source: EPA


New Construction General Permit for Stormwater Proposed by EPA

June 10, 2021


The EPA is seeking public comment on its proposed 2022 Construction General Permit (CGP) for stormwater discharges from construction activity until July 12, 2021. Once finalized, this permit will replace the 2017 CGP, which expires on February 16, 2022, and will cover stormwater discharges from construction activities in areas where EPA is the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permitting authority.

Source: BLR


WOTUS to be Redefined, Again

June 9, 2021


The EPA and the Department of the Army announced that the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) will again be revised. How WOTUS is defined determines the geographical scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Any body of water defined as WOTUS requires a permit for dredging, dirt fill, or discharges.

Source: BLR


EPA Announces Revision to CWA Section 401 Certification Rule

June 8, 2021


EPA will revise the 2020 Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification Rule after determining the rule hinders state and tribal authorities from protecting their water resources.

Source: BLR


Fact Sheet on PCBs in Building Materials

May 2021


If manufactured polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) products containing PCBs ≥ 50 ppm are found in a building or other structure, they must be removed and disposed of as PCB bulk product waste in accordance with 40 CFR § 761.62. This fact sheet is a resource to assist property owners or operators in determining if manufactured PCB products may be present in a building or structure.

Source: EPA


EPA Oil and Natural Gas Methane Rule

May 2021

EPA has opened a docket for members of the public to submit input to the Agency as it develops a proposed rule for oil and natural gas methane; comments may be submitted in writing through July 30, 2021. To submit input online, visit https://www.regulations.gov/. Identify comments by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0295. This is not the docket for the proposed rulemaking. EPA will open a separate regulatory docket when it issues the proposal in September.

Source: EPA


Texas


Texas Multi Sector General Permit (TXR050000) Renewal Process Continues

June 25, 2021


The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is in the final steps of renewing the 2016 Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Multi Sector General Permit (MSGP) TXR050000. The TPDES MSGP regulates stormwater discharges from industrial activities. The 2016 MSGP expires on August 14, 2021 and the 2021 MSGP will be issued on that same day.

Source: TCEQ


Texas Petroleum Storage Tank Program

June 23, 2021


TCEQ is hosting free webinars for underground storage tank (UST) owners and operators to explain UST reporting and record-keeping requirements. During the two-hour webinar TCEQ will discuss the contents of the UST Compliance Notebook and provide examples of the records needed to show compliance during an investigation.

  • August 18 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST

  • August 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CST

  • August 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CST

  • August 30 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST

Source: TCEQ


Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program 2022

June 2021


The Draft 2022 Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program is out. Written comments must be received by TCEQ by 11:59 pm on July 5, 2021.

Source: TCEQ


Texas Pollution Prevention Waste Management Workshop 2021

June 2021


The Pollution Prevention Waste Management Workshop is scheduled as a virtual event for September 16, 2021. The workshop is a cooperative effort with University of Texas-Arlington (UTA), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide industry leaders with current information and professional development in the various aspects of pollution prevention.

Source: TCEQ


HEALTH & SAFETY COMPLIANCE


State Government Policies About Proof-Of-Vaccination (Vaccine Passport) Requirements

June 25, 2021


Seventeen states prohibit proof-of-vaccination requirements. In ten states, governors banned proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders. In seven states, legislators passed laws banning proof-of-vaccination requirements. Three states—New York, Hawaii, and Oregon—exempt fully vaccinated individuals from some COVID-19 restrictions if they can provide proof of vaccination.

Source: BallotPedia


OSHA Semiannual Regulatory Agenda

June 11, 2021


The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) published the semiannual regulatory agenda for Spring 2021 for the Department of Labor.


Final rule are expected for:

  • Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under the Taxpayer First Act

  • Procedures for Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under the Whistleblower Protection Statutes

  • Discrimination Against Employees Exercising Rights Under the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints under the Taxpayer First Act;

  • Subpart U--Emergency Temporary Standard--COVID-19

  • Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act

  • Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints under the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act

Notices of Proposed Rulemaking are expected for:

  • Infectious Diseases

  • Amendments to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard

  • Communication Tower Safety

  • Update to the Hazard Communication Standard

  • Lock-Out/Tag-Out Update

  • Tree Care Standard

  • Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica; Revisions to Table 1 in the Standard for Construction

  • Welding in Construction Confined Spaces

  • Personal Protective Equipment in Construction: This

  • Powered Industrial Trucks Design Standard Update

  • Walking Working Surfaces

  • Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica: Revisions to Medical Surveillance Provisions for Medical Removal Protection

  • Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses: OSHA

Pre-rule and long-term actions are also listed.

Source: OIRA


OSHA Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace

June 10, 2021


This guidance is intended to help employers and workers not covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) (those outside healthcare and emergency response) to identify COVID-19 exposure risks to workers who are unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk, and to help them take appropriate steps to prevent exposure and infection.

Source: OSHA


OSHA Guidance on Recording COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

June 8, 2021


OSHA recently added an answer to this question on its COVID-19 FAQ webpage:

“…OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904’s recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022.”

Source: Lion


OSHA Updates FAQs on N95 Facemasks in the Workplace

June 7, 2021


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) added a section to its COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding respirators and particle size, explaining how N95 respirators effectively protect wearers from coronavirus exposure.

Source: Seyfarth Shaw


US Postal Service Updates HazMat Limited Quantity Rules

May 20, 2021


To harmonize the requirements for hazardous materials limited quantities shipped by mail with the US DOT’s 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), the USPS will remove references to ORM-D from its Publication 52 standards, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.

Source: USPS


OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

May 20, 2021


OSHA is proposing changes to the Walking-Working Surfaces standards to clarify which handrail and stair rail system requirements apply to new stair rail systems. Comments are due July 19, 2021.

Source: Federal Register


DOT on Safe Transportation of Lithium Batteries

April 29, 2021


Webinar hosted by EPA and led by subject matter experts from the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). After a brief introduction about the importance of recycling lithium batteries, the webinar focuses on the safe transportation of lithium batteries for recycling, disposal and reuse. Content discussed includes an overview of the latest regulatory requirements on proper lithium battery packaging, marking, and labeling and as well as a basic understanding of how to apply the PHMSA’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). It is designed for any individual who is involved in preparing lithium batteries for transport, wants a working knowledge of the HMR, or provides training to their employees on the applicable regulations.

Source: DOT


SUSTAINABILITY, ESG AND CLIMATE ACTION


How Negative Emissions Can Help Organizations Meet Their Climate Goals

June 30, 2021


As governments and businesses take up the urgent task of reducing carbon emissions, they should also consider another essential means of limiting the rise in global temperatures: removing carbon from the atmosphere through the creation of negative emissions. Negative emissions are needed for three purposes: to offset residual, hard-to-abate emissions in industries such as cement; to lessen atmospheric CO2 if emission reductions aren’t delivered quickly enough, and to remove historical emissions from the atmosphere on a path to a stable long term climate.


Source: McKinsey


How Hydrogen Combustion Engines Can Contribute to Zero Emissions

June 25, 2021


Hydrogen combustion engines can leverage existing technologies and provide a zero-emissions option for specific use cases while supporting the growth of hydrogen infrastructure.

Source: McKinsey


The Net-Zero Backlash

June 21, 2021


Companies making net-zero goals and claims are being heavily scrutinized. Ironically, the companies that are not publishing goals are not mentioned in the report, “The Big Con: How Big Polluters are advancing a ‘net zero’ climate agenda to delay, deceive and deny” from Corporate Accountability, Global Forest Coalition and Friends of the Earth International. It's worth a read if you want to avoid the issues the criticisms these industry leaders are receiving. Check out "Real Solutions, Real Zero: How Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement Can Help Pave the Way to 1.5 Degrees," referenced in "The Big Con."

Source: Corporate Accountability


Why the World Needs Better Climate Pledges

June 21, 2021


Misuse of net zero, problems with carbon offsets, misguided pledges...Project Drawdown proposes an "Emissions 360" approach:


1. Cut emissions towards zero, not "net zero," as quickly as possible.

2. Only use carbon removal as a last resort — for truly unavoidable emissions.

3. Pay the "Social Cost of Carbon" for ongoing pollution.

4. Address historic emissions.

5. Carefully weigh issues of climate justice.


See also, Taking Stock: A Global Assessment of Net Zero Targets, March 2021.

Source: GreenBiz


G7 Communique Emphasizes Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

June 15, 2021


The leaders of the G7--a group of advanced economies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan--all agreed that "mandatory climate-related financial disclosures" should be implemented. This statement, and policy, provide additional impetus to the current efforts of the SEC to promulgate new regulatory disclosures concerning climate change. Additionally, this communique highlighted the regulatory framework proposed by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which may indicate that the new regulatory disclosures contemplated by the SEC and other government agencies may echo those guidelines.

Source: National Law Review


Decarbonizing the Supply Chain

June 14, 2021


Company commitments to reduce greenhouse gases initially focused on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, which are produced directly by companies or indirectly through the purchase of energy. Today, however, more organizations are also pledging to reduce their Scope 3 emissions generated in the upstream and downstream value chain.

Source: McKinsey


Green Energy Tax Credits in the Works

June 14, 2021


The Biden Administration's budget proposal expands, extends and creates tax credits for renewable energy.

Source: Holland and Knight


Carbon Offset Prices Set to Increase Tenfold by 2030

June 14, 2021


The cost of offsetting corporate carbon emissions is expected to surge tenfold over the next decade as growing numbers of businesses adopt net zero targets, with carbon credit prices tipped to reach between $20 and $50 a metric ton of CO2 by 2030.

Source: GreenBiz


Support for a Global Plastics Treaty

June 14, 2021


In March, the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network, together with WWF and Greenpeace, led the first of four dialogue sessions. One hundred and forty organizations from 34 countries representing all the main stakeholders attended the two-day virtual event. The aim was to deepen understanding and build capacity for a Global Plastics Treaty.

Source: GreenBiz


Corporate Sustainability Goal Setting and Measurement

June 10, 2021


How leading companies are approaching the challenge of increase focus on sustainability in their business practices. Companies across all sectors are placing increased focus on sustainability as a tenet of their business practices. This shift illustrates a new way of thinking, where organizations take into consideration how they operate in the environmental, social and economic environment, and how these areas can be leveraged to create long-term value.

Source: Black & Veatch


Inaugural Morgan Stanley Sustainable Solutions Collaborative Cohort

June 9, 2021


The world’s most complex sustainability challenges, from climate change and waste reduction to equitable health care and food insecurity, require large-scale systemic solutions. That’s why the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing launched the Sustainable Solutions Collaborative ("the Collaborative"): to help scale breakthrough and innovative solutions to global sustainability issues for lasting and systemic impact.

Source: Morgan Stanley


The ESG Movement: Why All Companies Need to Care

June 3, 2021


Where is your company in the three stages of social impact? Transactional - based on random good deeds with no real driving purpose or goal. The company may invest money in these programs, but rarely time or talent. Transitional, in which a company adds focus to its social investment and incorporates time and talent contributions. Transformational, as companies use their highest and best skills and enter into partnerships to achieve outcomes that make a difference.

Source: National Law Review


Climate Tipping Points

June 3, 2021


Ice sheets and ocean currents at risk of climate tipping points can destabilise each other as the world heats up, leading to a domino effect with severe consequences for humanity, according to a risk analysis.

Source: The Guardian


Climate Risk Disclosures

June 1, 2021


On the 'climate risk' reporting trend. For example, the U.K. government proposed mandatory climate risk-related governance by large pension plans, to be disclosed in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The proposed scheme requires pension funds to analyze the implications of a range of temperature scenarios on their holdings and "to prompt strategic thinking about climate risks and opportunities."

Source: GreenBiz


Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk

May 20, 2021


President Biden has ordered government agencies to prepare for climate-related shocks across the economy, as escalating disasters threaten home prices, the value of retirements funds and even the stability of the global financial system.

Source: The White House


EPA Phasedown of Hydrofluorocarbons

May 19, 2021


This proposed rule would establish the hydrofluorocarbon production and consumption baselines based on historical data; establish the allowance allocation program to phase down hydrofluorocarbon production and consumption; determine an initial methodology to allocating allowances and allowing for the transfer of those allowances; establish provisions for the international transfer of allowances; establish requirements to support compliance with phasing down hydrofluorocarbon production and consumption; establish recordkeeping and reporting requirements; release certain data to provide transparency and support implementation of the program; and, address certain other elements related to the effective implementation of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. Comments are due July 6, 2021.

Source: EPA





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