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ESG, PFAS, ASTM E-1527 for Phase I ESAs, COVID Inspections and More

Updated: Sep 21



ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE


Federal


EPA e-Manifest User Fees Effective October 1, 2021

July 15, 2021


Effective October 1, 2021, e-Manifest user fees are as follows. Paper manifests are not accepted.

Source: EPA


Permit Appeals and EAB Independence Reinstated

July 15, 2021


In August 2020, EPA promulgated a rule meant to streamline permit appeals and alter the way the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) functions. A review of this rule is found in a previous article. On June 11, 2021, the agency finalized a rule reversing the majority of these changes and reaffirming the EAB as an impartial body independent of all EPA departments except the Office of the Administrator. [86 FR 31172] This rule was effective upon publication in the Federal Register on June 11, 2021.


Source: McCoy


EPA PFAS Action Sees Much Broader Scope Than In Past

July 14, 2021


The latest EPA PFAS action on Monday, July 13, 2021, shows once again that the agency is seeking to aggressively regulate certain PFAS compounds under the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, the EPA’s action on Monday is notable because it is one of the first instances in which the EPA acknowledges that it will consider potential regulation of all PFAS compounds – a class of chemicals consisting of over 9,000 substances – as opposed to just a small subset of the chemical group. This announcement should catch the eyes of any businesses in the stream of commerce that could in some way be held liable for cleanup costs due to PFAS environmental pollution.


Source: The National Law Review


Next Phase of TSCA Chemical Evaluations Underway

July 8, 2021


TSCA requires EPA to establish management standards for any chemical substance that poses unreasonable risks of injury to health or the environment, based on the results of risk evaluations mandated by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act or LCSA. EPA has completed risk evaluations for the original 10 substances and now plans to promulgate TSCA Section 6 management standards for three of those chemicals: HBCD, PV-29, and chrysotile asbestos.


Source: Lion


ASTM Proposes Changes to Phase I ESA Standard (E1527)

July 8, 2021


ASTM International's E1527-13 Standard Practice on Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) is required to be revised, reapproved as is, or abandoned this year. The ASTM E50.02 Task Group has been reviewing the existing standard, and many of the group's proposed changes are intended to correct what are viewed as deficiencies in the implementation of the current standard. Other changes are offered to provide greater consistency in the language of the standard. The current draft is out for ballot with results due on July 10, 2021.


Source: Holland & Knight


Final Rule: New TSCA Reporting Requirements for 50 Chemicals

July 6, 2021


US EPA has finalized a Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) rulemaking that will require manufacturers and importers of 50 chemical substances to report health and safety data. These reporting requirements will now apply to manufacturers (including importers) of chemicals of:

  • 20 chemicals that EPA has designated as High-Priority for the purpose of TSCA chemical risk evaluations

  • 30 organohalogen flame retardants being evaluated for risks by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

Reporting is required by September 27, 2021. Source: Lion


Texas


Major RCRA Updates Coming to Texas in 2021-2022

July 6, 2021

TCEQ announced a schedule of deadlines to propose and finalize new hazardous waste rules under Title 30 of the Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC). Key RCRA changes in the forthcoming proposal include:

  • EPA’s RCRA Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule,

  • The Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest (e-Manifest) Fee Rule,

  • Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) and recycling provisions changes,

  • New management standards for Pharmaceutical Hazardous Waste, and

  • The addition of aerosol cans to the universal waste program.

  • An exclusion for spent foundry sands from the iron and steel casting industry.

TCEQ’s anticipated schedule for this rulemaking process will start on July 14, 2021, when the agency proposes a hazardous waste rulemaking. The new RCRA rules are expected to take effect on January 6, 2022. See https://www.tceq.texas.gov/rules/prop.html#2020-001-116-AI for specifics.

Source: Lion


TCEQ Air Quality for Permitted Facilities: Responding to a Declared Disaster

July 1, 2021


When responding to damage from a hurricane, flood, tornado, fire, or other emergency, this guidance describes the relevant environmental rules to inform decisions on a reasonable course of action. Questions should be directed to the TCEQ regional office for the facility’s location. Contact 512-239-1000 to determine the correct region.

Source: TCEQ


HEALTH & SAFETY COMPLIANCE


Time to Mask Up Again? CDC Revises Mask Guidance for Vaccinated Individuals

July 28, 2021


Once considered a watershed moment in the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC announced in May 2021 that fully vaccinated individuals were no longer required to wear a mask in most outdoor and indoor settings. Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads among the unvaccinated, and even some vaccinated populations, the CDC changed course and now recommends that “to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” According to the CDC, the substantial or high transmission includes any county where there are more than 50 cases per 100,000 people in the area, over a seven-day period, or that the COVID-19 test positivity rate is higher than 5%.


Source: Seyfarth


OSHA Expands COVID-19 Inspections Under New NEP

July 9, 2021


Inspections at non-healthcare facilities will follow the revised Interim Enforcement Response Plan (IERP). Updates in the July 2021 IERP include:


  • Enforcing protections for workers in non-healthcare industries who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated;

  • Where respirator supplies and services are readily available, OSHA will stop exercising enforcement discretion for temporary noncompliance with the Respiratory Protection standard based on employers’ claims of supply shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • OSHA will no longer exercise enforcement discretion for the same requirements in other health standards, where full compliance may have been difficult for some non-healthcare employers due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • Updated instructions and guidance for OSHA area offices and CSHOs for handling COVID-19-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports;

  • Ensuring workers are protected from retaliation; and

  • References to the revised NEP for COVID-19.

Source: Lion


OSHA Resources for Hurricane-Impacted Areas

July 8, 2021


OSHA's webpage on working hurricane-impacted areas can help employers and workers recognize the hazards after a severe storm hits, including keeping workers safe during flood cleanup.


Source: OSHA


Midwest OSHA Region Introduces Regional Emphasis Program for Noise Hazards and Programmed OSHA Inspections at Manufacturers

July 7, 2021


OSHA Region V has recently adopted an Instruction to establish a Regional Emphasis Program (REP) for conducting inspections of select manufacturing industries with hearing loss rates higher than the national average. OSHA has a programmed list that instructs Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) to conduct walk-around inspections and do individual dosimetry if any noise hits at least 85 decibels.


Source: Seyfarth Shaw


OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Infographics

July 1, 2021


OSHA has new public service announcements and infographics (in English and Spanish) to help get the word out on keeping workers safe in the heat.


Source: OSHA


SUSTAINABILITY, ESG AND CLIMATE ACTION


A Coalition for Clean Skies

July 25, 2021


The European Union’s “Fit for 55” climate package of regulatory proposals—which aims to reduce emissions 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels— is likely to have long-term consequences for the aviation sector. Explore our recent insights on scaling sustainable aviation fuel and what’s ahead for airlines and other industries as they strive to meet climate goals, with topics including:

  • scaling new technologies that run on less-constrained feedstocks

  • cost-optimal pathways to a net-zero Europe

  • the dangers of infrastructure vulnerabilities

Source: McKinsey


A Clean COVID-19 recovery: The Global Opportunity

July 21, 2021


A report from EY Parthenon this month predicted 10 million potential jobs could be created worldwide from today’s visible pipeline of 13,000 renewable energy projects. Strong asset flows into climate finance — the WilderHill Clean Energy Index is up 69 percent in the past year — suggest clean energy companies have a mandate to grow.


Source: EY-Parthenon


Climate and Clean Energy Policy State of Play

July 21, 2021


On Capitol Hill, multiple infrastructure packages in play are poised to provide tremendous opportunities for clean energy initiatives. Lawmakers are actively drafting a legislative framework that demonstrates a keen interest in bolstering the United States' green technology capacities and promise to transform key domestic industries and put America at the forefront of the global clean energy transition.


Source: Holland & Knight


How Cities Can Adapt to Climate Change

July 20, 2021


Research identifies 15 proven ways that urban areas around the world can adapt to climate risk.

Source: McKinsey


How Real Estate Investors Should View Climate Data

July 19, 2021


A new framework for assessing climate change data helps real estate investors measure risks, including extreme weather events and the costs of transitioning to a low-carbon economy.


Source: Morgan Stanley


Climate Ambition: SBTi Raises the Bar to 1.5°C

July 15, 2021


The Science Based Targets initiative said it is increasing the minimum ambition levels for emissions reductions in corporate targets to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, ahead of the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in August.


Source: SBTi


How Global Companies Can Manage Geopolitical Risk July 15, 2021 McKinsey suggests a five-pronged approach to managing geopolitical risk, like climate change.

  1. Engage the board with a holistic review

  2. Look at short-, mid- and long-term actions

  3. Critical thinking about the corporate narrative

  4. Deploy refreshed risk frameworks/guidelines

  5. Engage stakeholders’ hearts and minds

Source: McKinsey


What Companies Need to Know about the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation

July 13, 2021


The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) have merged into the Value Reporting Foundation. They and three other sustainability reporting bodies—CDP, Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), known as the Group of Five—have called for closer coordination and launched a prototype climate-related financial disclosure standard.


Source: BSR