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The 'S' in ESG and More ...

Updated: Aug 16, 2022



EPA Updates Resources on Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule

February 24, 2022

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 22, 2022, the release of the updated Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application and compliance guide for the calendar year 2021 data reporting. According to EPA, the updates make it easier to report information about the supply, use, and trade of mercury. The mercury rule applies to any person who manufactures (including imports) mercury or mercury-added products (including pre-assembled products that contain mercury-added components) or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (including processes traditionally not subject to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), such as for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and pesticides). This information is required to be submitted every three years using the online MER application, accessed through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX).

FERC's Updated Certificate Policy and Interim GHG Mitigation Policy Statements: VNF's Pipeline Attorneys Weigh-In

February 22, 2022

On February 18, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) published its long-awaited updates to its policy statement on the certification of new natural gas transportation facilities (Updated Certificate Policy Statement). The Commission issued notices of inquiry on April 19, 2018, and February 18, 2021, to explore whether it should revise the approach established by its prior certificate policy statement. The prior policy statement was issued in 1999 to set forth how the Commission would determine whether to approve applications to construct new natural gas pipeline projects under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act. The Updated Certificate Policy Statement is the first time in over 20 years the Commission has revised its approach to approving new natural gas projects.

Concurrently with the Updated Certificate Policy Statement, the Commission published what it refers to as an interim policy statement on the consideration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in natural gas infrastructure project reviews (Interim GHG Mitigation Policy Statement). The Commission is accepting comments on the Interim GHG Mitigation Policy Statement until April 4, 2022. However, both the Updated Certificate Policy Statement and the Interim GHG Mitigation Policy Statement take effect immediately and apply to all pending and new projects. The Commission stated that applicants with pending projects will have the opportunity to supplement their proposals to explain how they are consistent with the new policies and interested parties will have an opportunity to respond.

RCRA Biennial Report Guide for Generators

February 4, 2022

US EPA requires all hazardous waste generators designated as large quantity generators for any single month during the most recent odd-numbered year (2021) to submit a Biennial Report. This brief guide details the major elements of the RCRA Biennial Report: who must report, what to include, and where to find more information.

Source: Lion

Webinar Addressing Inspection of Operators' Plans to Eliminate Hazardous Leaks, Minimize Releases of Methane & Remediate/Replace Leak-Prone Pipe

February 1, 2022

A PIPES Act of 2020 webinar took place on February 17, 2022. During the webinar, PHMSA reviewed the requirements of Section 114 and plans for PHMSA and state inspection of the requirements. The webinar addressed the following topics: 1) Key elements of Section 114; 2) Significant sources of natural gas (primarily methane) emissions from pipelines; 3) Discussion of which types of pipeline facilities must comply with each portion of Section 114; 4) PHMSA and state inspections, including reviews of a pipeline operator's programs and procedures to reduce methane emissions; 5) Inspection topics related to methane reduction and leak-prone pipes; 6) General review of how operators' programs and procedures will be inspected, and 7) The timelines for actions required by Section 114.

Source: PHMSA

EPA Administrator Regan Announces Bold Actions to Protect Communities Following the Journey to Justice Tour

February 1, 2022

US EPA Administrator Michael Regan recently announced plans to bolster environmental enforcement efforts in communities that have been historically and disproportionately impacted by pollution.

Most notably, EPA will “use its authority to conduct unannounced inspections of suspected non-compliant facilities.”

Source: EPA


New TCEQ Industrial and Hazardous Waste Rules Effective

February 14, 2022

TCEQ adopted the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Industrial and Hazardous Waste (IHW) rules and revised Title 30, Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC), Chapter 335.

The new rules went into effect on February 3, 2022. These updates include the:

  • Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule.

  • Pharmaceutical Waste Rule.

  • Definition of Solid Waste Rule.

  • Foundry Sands Exclusion.

  • Aerosol Cans Waste Rule.

  • Electronic Manifest Fee Rule.

Source: TCEQ

Oil and Gas Amendment to the Stormwater Construction General Permit

February 8, 2022

TCEQ issued an amendment to the 2018 Construction General Permit (CGP) to apply to certain non-exempt oil and gas construction activities. This amendment is due to the transfer of state and federal regulatory authority to TCEQ for discharges associated with certain oil and gas activities, such as:

  • exploration

  • production

  • processing

  • treatment operations

  • transmission facilities

This amendment does not renew the permit or impact existing permittees authorized under TCEQ’s 2018 CGP.

If your oil and gas construction activities fall under the amended permit, your requirements depend on the size of your construction site:

  • Large sites: submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) or Low Rainfall Erosivity Waiver (LREW) in STEERS.

  • Small sites: meet the CGP requirements for small site operators; you do not need to submit an NOI or LREW.

Existing EPA permittees have until April 28, 2022, to meet the new requirements. New operators must comply with the amended CGP before starting construction activities."

Source: TCEQ

RCRA Generator Improvements Rule

February 3, 2022

Two more states have adopted the EPA RCRA Hazardous Waste Improvements Rule. In Vermont, the Generator Improvements Rule provisions are among the changes to the hazardous waste regulations that took effect on February 1, 2022. In Texas, the final action to adopt EPA's Generator Improvements Rule and make other significant changes to the state hazardous and industrial waste regulations took effect on February 3, 2022.

Source: Lion

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10 High-Impact HazMat Regulation Changes

February 25, 2022

Ten of the most impactful revisions and additions to the regulations for shipping hazardous materials in the United States in the 21st century are summarized here. Understand how the US and international hazardous materials regulations have evolved over time to be better prepared to anticipate the changes made in the next 10 years.

Source: Lion

OSHA Proposes Modernized Forklift Design Standards

February 22, 2022

OSHA proposed to revise its standards for the design and construction of powered industrial trucks (e.g., forklifts) in the Federal Register on February 16.

OSHA adopted its first regulations concerning powered industrial trucks in 1971, based on 1969 consensus standards. Those consensus standards have been updated a dozen times since then, most recently in 2020.

OSHA's proposed rule takes into account “the most relevant national consensus standards from the American National Standards Institute/Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ANSI/ITSDF),” the agency says.

The rule would allow exceptions if the employer can demonstrate that the forklift in question was designed and constructed in a way that offers the same level of protection or more than ANSI/ITSDF standards.

OSHA will accept comments on the proposed rule until May 17. Comments may be electronically submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

Source: OSHA

OSHA HAZWOPER Training Requirements

February 9, 2022

This illustrated guide shows how OSHA organizes the HAZWOPER training rules for all levels of emergency responders.

Source: Lion


ESG: Practical Points for Where Market Practice and Legal Trends Collide

February 24, 2022

Managers with an ESG focus need to prepare for challenges that arise when their investment mandate intersects with other market or legal trends. In the United States, with concerns mounting regarding potential “greenwashing,” it is only a matter of time before the SEC brings an enforcement case against one or more asset managers managing ESG-focused products.

In market terms, funds are being held accountable for ensuring that their ESG classifications are integrated into their investment-making decisions. As an example, Morningstar recently removed the ESG classification for over 1,200 funds in its rankings, accounting for over $1 trillion in assets, citing managers’ failure to integrate ESG factors in a determinative way for their investment selections.

Just and Sustainable Economy: Commission Lays Down Rules for Companies to Respect Human Rights and Environment in Global Value Chains

February 23, 2022

The European Commission has adopted a Proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. The proposal aims to foster sustainable and responsible corporate behavior throughout global value chains.

The new rules will initially apply to companies with over 500 employees and more than €150 million in revenues, extending 2 years later to companies with over 250 employees and €40 million in revenue. Non-EU companies with revenues earned in the EU above the thresholds will also be required to follow the rules.

Companies will be required to identify and, where necessary, prevent, end, or mitigate adverse impacts of their activities on human rights, such as child labor and exploitation of workers, and on the environment, for example, pollution and biodiversity loss.

For businesses, these new rules will bring legal certainty and a level playing field. For consumers and investors, they will provide more transparency. The new EU rules will advance the green transition and protect human rights in Europe and beyond.

How to Create Sustainable, Inclusive Growth in America

February 21, 2022

Governments, businesses, local communities, and individuals are striving to create a land of sustainable, inclusive growth and opportunity. In moving past the pandemic, leaders will need to align on not only protecting lives but also bettering them. But how can they balance priorities to meet the critical goals of sustainability and inclusion and growth? Explore these key insights on the path forward, with topics including:

  • how the three priorities create a powerful, self-reinforcing dynamic

  • how to combat rising inequality as wealth disparities grow

  • what characteristics define the net-zero transition

  • how to create “an economy that serves all Americans”

Source: McKinsey

Sustainability in Packaging: Global Regulatory Development Across 30 Countries

February 15, 2022

To better understand the developing requirements for sustainable packaging around the globe, McKinsey mapped current and proposed regulations in 30 countries around the world. This covers all regions: Europe and the European Union (eight countries), North America (three countries), Latin America (four countries), Asia (seven countries), and the Middle East and Africa (eight countries).

Source: McKinsey

World Day of Social Justice

February 18, 2022

Every year on February 20, the World Day of Social Justice promotes the importance of fair and just relations between the individual and society. The day also tackles issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender equality, human rights, and social protection.

The theme this year is, “Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment," with a focus on the formalization of employment as a prerequisite for reducing poverty and inequality.

The UN Headquarters hosted a virtual event to raise awareness and commemorate the day on Monday, February 21st.

Paul Polman Wants Your Company to Make These 3 Shifts

February 17, 2022

The world has reached a tipping point in terms of climate action, according to former Unilever CEO Paul Polman. Awareness of environmental, social, and governance issues reached new levels around COP26 in Glasgow, and more corporations are clamoring to share their good environmental intentions lately, including net-zero goals.

However, this tipping point is a negative one, he said at the GreenBiz 22 event in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Why is this the most dangerous point? Everybody feels that they’re doing more than they’ve ever done before. They’ll say they’re all exhausted, and rightfully so." His three tenets:

1. Think beyond net-zero

2. Pursue systems change

3. Become 'collectively courageous'

Source: GreenBiz

Product Sustainability: Back to the Drawing Board

February 7, 2022

Your ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) requires your organization to consider "a life cycle perspective" in assessing the environmental impacts of your products and services. According to McKinsey, up to four-fifths of a product’s lifetime emissions are determined by decisions made at the design stage. By building on proven cost-optimization techniques, companies can get those choices right.

Source: McKinsey

EU Taxonomy: Commission Presents Complementary Climate Delegated Act to Accelerate Decarbonization

February 2, 2022

The European Commission has presented a Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act on climate change mitigation and adaptation covering certain gas and nuclear activities. The College of Commissioners reached a political agreement on the text, which will be formally adopted once translations are available in all EU languages.

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