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EPA Title V Emergency Affirmative Defense and More…


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ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE


Federal


EPA Proposes to Regulate Carbon Tetrachloride (CTC)

July 29, 2023


EPA is proposing to address the unreasonable risk of injury to human health presented by carbon tetrachloride (CTC) under its conditions of use with the following actions: establishing workplace safety requirements for most conditions of use, including the condition of use related to the making of low Global Warming Potential (GWP) hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs); prohibiting the manufacture, import, processing, distribution in commerce, and industrial/commercial use of CTC for conditions of use where information indicates use of CTC has already been phased out; and establishing recordkeeping and downstream notification requirements.


Source: EPA


EPA Finalizes Asbestos Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements

July 26, 2023


EPA is requiring certain persons who manufactured (including imported) or processed asbestos and asbestos-containing articles, including as an impurity, in the four years prior to the date of publication of this final rule to electronically report certain exposure-related information. This action results in a one-time reporting requirement.


Source: EPA


EPA Removes Title V Emergency Affirmative Defense Provisions from Operating Permit Programs

July 25, 2023


EPA is removing the "emergency" affirmative defense provisions from EPA's Title V operating permit program regulations. These provisions established an affirmative defense that sources could have asserted in enforcement cases brought for noncompliance with technology-based emission limitations in operating permits, provided that the exceedances occurred due to qualifying emergency circumstances.


Source: EPA


Phasedown of Hydrofluorocarbons

July 21, 2023


EPA is establishing the methodology for allocating hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) production and consumption allowances for 2024 through 2028. EPA is also amending the consumption baseline, amending and adding requirements related to how allowances must be expended for import of regulated substances, revising and adding recordkeeping and reporting requirements, amending sampling and testing requirements for regulated substances offered for sale or distribution, and adding more specificity for labeling and marking of regulated substances. EPA is also clarifying that allowances can be expended by parents, subsidiaries, sister, or commonly owned companies without a transfer.


Source: EPA


Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU)

July 20, 2023


Drinking water/wastewater/stormwater utilities interested in receiving free climate change risk assessment technical assistance from EPA in FY24, should reach out to Aliza Furneaux on the CRWU team (Furneaux.aliza@epa.gov) to request assistance by August 15, 2023.


Source: EPA


Texas


Seeking Public Input

July 25, 2023


The Waste Permits Division is seeking public input on its implementation of House Bill 3060, passed by the 88th Legislature. The bill requires the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to adopt rules to identify third-party mass balance attribution certification systems and establish guidelines for identifying a recycled product. Please provide input specifically on the third-party mass balance attribution systems you would like to consider for implementation of Texas Health and Safety Code Section 361.4215, and the minimum percent of the recycled material in a product that must be postconsumer waste or post-use polymers as required for implementation of Texas Health and Safety Code Section 361.427(b).


Source: TCEQ


Revised and Updated Part B Administrative and Technical Evaluation Checklist

July 25, 2023


The Industrial and Hazardous Waste (IHW) Permits Section has updated and revised the Part B Administrative and Technical Evaluation Checklist (TCEQ-00376). The new version eliminates macros, improving accessibility and usability. Furthermore, we have also updated rule citations and refined items to ensure accuracy. The updated checklist can be downloaded from our website Industrial and Hazardous Waste Forms and Guidance.


Source: TCEQ


TCEQ What's New in Rules Update

July 17, 2023


SB 900 requires that TCEQ must promulgate rules and establish the Aboveground Storage Vessel Safety Program (ASVS) by September 1, 2023. The bill requires the program to include all critical safety elements applicable to a storage vessel and those elements that TCEQ determines to be critical for the protection of ground water and surface water resources following federal statutes/regulations and national consensus standards identified in the bill, ensuring that the correct critical safety elements are applied to the correct types of storage vessels as delineated in the applicability section of each federal statute/regulation and national consensus standards. The ASVS Program is applicable to aboveground storage vessels (ASVs) located at petrochemical plants, petroleum refineries, or bulk storage terminals that are constructed with nonearthen materials, have a storage capacity of 21,000 gallons (500 barrels) or more, and store a regulated substance as defined by TWC, §26.343.


Source: TCEQ


Join Us for The P2 Workshop in September!

July 13, 2023


The TCEQ will host a Pollution Prevention Waste Management Workshop on September 20, 2023. This hybrid workshop will offer up-to-date information for businesses, governments, and other entities managing hazardous waste and toxic chemicals. Topics will include:

  • P2 Planning Law

  • Industrial Hazardous Waste Program Update

  • TCEQ Investigator’s Perspective

  • Options for pollution prevention projects

  • Resources and more!

Source: TCEQ


RG-639, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Template for the Construction General Permit

July 12, 2023


Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan template for owners and operators of small and large construction sites that are subject to the construction general permit for stormwater.


Source: TCEQ


RG-086, Transporting Waste in Texas

July 12, 2023


Whether you transport waste in Texas or hire a waste transporter, this publication will help you decide if the waste to be hauled is regulated, who regulates it, how to contact that agency, and what the important requirements are for many of the wastes.


Source: TCEQ


Estimated $87 Million in Funding Available for Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program Grants

July 10, 2023


The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is now accepting grant applications for the Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program (TxVEMP) with an estimated $87 million in funding available for the repower or replacement of select vehicles and equipment operating in priority areas of the state with new, all-electric models. Some entities may qualify to receive up to 100% of the cost to adopt all-electric vehicles and equipment.


Source: TCEQ


Free Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) Compliance Webinars

July 5, 2023


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 prepare for compliance investigations.


During the two-hour webinar, SBLGA staff:

  • Will discuss the contents of the UST Compliance Notebook.

  • Provide examples of the compliance records you will need to show during an investigation.

  • Answer your questions about UST requirements.

Webinar Dates and Times

  • August 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CDT

  • August 23 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CDT

  • August 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CDT


Source: TCEQ


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HEALTH & SAFETY COMPLIANCE


New OSHA Injury and Illness Reporting Rules Effective January 1, 2024

July 18, 2023


The revised workplace injury and illness reporting requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) published July 21 in an OSHA Final Rule take effect on January 1, 2024. OSHA "intends for March 2, 2024 to be the first submission deadline for the new information required to be submitted under this rule."


Source: Lion


OSHA Announces National Emphasis Program Aimed at Reducing and Preventing Workplace Hazards in Warehouses and Distribution Centers

July 14, 2023


According to OSHA, in the past 10 years, warehousing and distribution centers have experienced tremendous growth with more than 1.9 million people employed in the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows injury and illness rates for these establishments are higher than in private industry overall and, in some sectors, more than twice the rate of private industry.


Source: Seyfarth Shaw


SUSTAINABILITY, ESG, AND CLIMATE ACTION


The Cost of Free Money: Compliance Requirements of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

July 25, 2023


Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the federal government has committed to funding more than $1 trillion for projects involving construction, manufacturing and energy initiatives. Much of this funding will be distributed through federal grants.


The laws governing federal grants impose a significant compliance burden that recipients should consider and plan for both before and after receiving an award.



Greenwashing: Navigating the Risk

July 24, 2023


The risk of an accusation of “greenwashing” is now an important concern for many companies. Greenwashing is an ill-defined concept but, nevertheless, is increasingly a source of litigation and regulatory scrutiny – with more of both expected. It carries with it reputational, regulatory and litigation risks for which companies should be prepared. Whilst the risks are always context specific – varying by jurisdiction, industry and product – there are common themes. Here, we take an in-depth look at those themes and make suggestions for how organisations can think about mitigating greenwashing risk.



Right-Wing Attacks on the Freedom to Invest Responsibly Falter in Legislatures

July 23, 2023


In 2023 Republican lawmakers in 37 states introduced 165 pieces of legislation to weaponize government funds, contracts, and pensions to prevent companies and investors from considering basic, common-sense risk factors. The legislation is framed around restricting the use of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment criteria, such as the safety and treatment of employees, the diversity of management and workforce, and readiness to withstand the impacts of climate change. Were they to become law, the inevitable result of the bills would be to manipulate the market to favor select industries, particularly the volatile fossil fuel and firearms sectors.


This coordinated legislative effort, commonly referred to as the anti-ESG movement, generated massive backlash from the business community, labor leaders, retirees, and even Republican politicians. It is not an issue that resonates with the public. Despite all the hype, the vast majority of anti-ESG bills failed to progress through legislative chambers, including in ten states fully controlled by Republicans. At present, 21 laws and 6 resolutions in 16 states have made it through legislatures this year. Many of the finalized bills were heavily amended to reduce most of the substantive portions. Broad escape clauses were added to limit the most draconian prohibitions, which experts have warned legally contravene the basic tenets of fiduciary duty, creating a “liability trap.”



Incentives Linked to ESG Metrics Among S&P 500 Companies

July 20, 2023


In 2023, 73% of S&P 500 companies linked a portion of incentive compensation to the achievement of ESG metrics, up modestly from 68% in 2022. Although there is some variation by industry, a majority of companies in all sectors use one or more ESG metric in their executive incentive arrangements. However, the weighting on these metrics is low, typically 5%-15% of any short-term incentive opportunity.



The Rise of International ESG Disclosure Standards

July 10, 2023


New regulations expected to be adopted in 2023 will result in exponential growth in the amount of environmental, social and governance (ESG), i.e., sustainability, data generated by reporting companies and available to investors.


The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to adopt final rules requiring detailed disclosure by companies of climate-related risks and opportunities by the end of 2023. The newly-formed International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) is expected to adopt two reporting standards in June: one on climate-related risks, and a second on other sustainability related information. Regardless of how much harmonisation there will be between these and other ESG disclosure standards, it is clear that mandatory, standardised sustainability reporting by corporations will increase significantly worldwide over the next few years.



BLM Proposes Rule to Further Promote Solar and Wind Development on Federal Lands

July 6, 2023


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a Proposed Rule on June 16, 2023, that would, if adopted, amend its existing right-of-way regulations to promote solar and wind energy development on public lands administered by BLM. The Proposed Rule would promote private solar and wind energy development applications by reducing acreage rents and capacity fees and streamlining BLM approval of rights-of-way applications. BLM estimates the Proposed Rule would reduce fees for such projects by 80 percent, helping to advance the Administration’s aggressive clean energy goals.



ESG Recent Developments

July 6, 2023


Legislation and directives that are forcing companies to be more transparent regarding gender pay appear to be having some effect on the gender pay gap, according to

Bloomberg. One standout success story has been Iceland where 2018 legislation that forced companies to explain their gender pay gaps and bonuses helped the country cut its gender pay gap by half in the past 10 years. Their success has spawned similar initiatives in the EU, Japan, and Australia. However, regional dynamics also play a role in determining the success of pay transparency measures.



Focus on Recyclability, Plastics as FTC Updates Green Guide

July 5, 2023


The FTC initiated its review of the Green Guides in late 2022, when it sought comment on several topics, such as the enforceability of the Green Guides, recyclability claims, and recycled content claims. On May 23, the FTC hosted a public workshop – “Talking Trash at the FTC: Recyclable Claims and the Green Guides” – to discuss “recyclable” advertising claims as part of its regulatory review of its Green Guides. The public workshop is the latest in the FTC’s efforts to update the Green Guides.


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