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Greenwashing by Some Leads to More Scrutiny for All, and More


ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE


Federal


EPA Codifies Parent Company Definition for Toxics Release Inventory Reporting

October 24, 2022


EPA is codifying the definition of "parent company" for purposes of reporting to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The existing regulation requires facilities reporting to TRI to identify their parent company in annual reporting forms, and this final rule codifies the definition of this data element. The final rule also clarifies existing regulations for reporting facilities and adds a foreign parent company data element, if applicable.


Source: EPA


EPA's Environmental Justice Efforts Moving Beyond Regulatory Structures and Into Programming

October 20, 2022


As we move toward two full years of the Biden Administration, we can see the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) environmental justice (EJ) efforts move from the creation of new offices and guidance materials toward seeing EJ-focused changes occurring in EPA’s efforts to regulate the physical environment. Below, we highlight three recent EJ-focused changes.


Source: The National Law Review


EPA Proposes to Repeal Amendments that Addressed Fugitive Emissions

October 18, 2022


EPA is proposing to repeal regulatory amendments that addressed the consideration of “fugitive” emissions of air pollutants from stationary sources when determining the applicability of certain permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act. These amendments previously stayed as a result of a reconsideration process and EPA is now proposing to fully repeal the stayed provisions of the regulatory amendments that were adopted in 2008. EPA is also proposing to remove a related exemption for modifications that would be considered major solely due to the inclusion of fugitive emissions. As a result of the proposed changes, all existing major stationary sources would be required to include fugitive emissions in determining whether a physical or operational change constitutes a “major modification,” requiring a permit under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) or Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR) programs.


Source: EPA


25 Common Hazardous Waste Management Errors

October 14, 2022

With civil penalties for RCRA hazardous waste violations now as high as $80,000+ per day, per violation, finding and fixing hazardous waste compliance mistakes is crucial to defend your organization’s compliance record and bottom line. This report will help you to recognize 25 of the most common pitfalls for hazardous waste identification, container management, training and recordkeeping, universal waste, and laboratories.


Source: Lion


Changes to the EPCRA, CERCLA, CAA 112(r) Consolidated List of Lists

October 11, 2022


In April 2022, EPA published a new chemical list of lists with the following changes:


Title Change. The title was changed from “Consolidated List of Chemicals Subject to the Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act” to “Consolidated List of Chemicals Subject to the Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA)”


Formatting. Headers and Footers were added to provide the section, version, and page numbers on each page. Appendix E (EPCRA section 313 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) was split into Appendix E and F to provide one appendix for the CAS number ordered list and one appendix for the alphabetically ordered list. The appendix titled CERCLA Hazardous Substances – Chemical Categories was renumbered from F to G. Summary of Codes was added to the Table of Contents.


Introduction. The language was updated to be reflective of the current regulations including modifying language to reflect that Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are required and replace Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and to be inclusive of Tribes.


CERCLA Hazardous Chemical Edits: The following modifications were made to align the List of Lists with the technical edits made to the CERCLA list of hazardous substances [87 FR2072-20760, April 8, 2022]: The RCRA Hazardous Waste vacated K-Code substances (K064, K065, K066, K090, and K091) were deleted. The replaced CAS number for chromic acid (11115-74-5) was deleted. The replaced CAS number for lead stearate (52652-59-2) was deleted. The CAS number for arsenic disulfide was updated from 1303-32-8 to 12044-79-0. The reportable quantity of 1 pound was added to the new CAA HAP 1-Bromopropane. The chemicals “Chlordane, alpha isomer” and “Chlordane, gamma isomer” were added. The CAS number for Cupric oxalate was updated from 5893 -66 -3 to 55671-32-4. The CAS numbers for Dichlorobenzidine (1331-47-1), diphenylhydrazine (38622-18-3), and nitrophenols (25154-55-6) were added.


TRI Edits: The following substances were added to the list for reporting the year 2022 because the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) automatically added four additional PFAS to the TRI list: Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (CAS Number 375-73-5); Potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate (CAS Number 29420-49-3); Perfluorobutanesulfonate (45187-15-3); and 2-Propenoic acid, 2-methyl-, hexadecyl ester, polymers with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate, .gamma.-.omega.-perfluoro-C10-6-alkyl acrylate and stearyl methacrylate (CAS Number 203743-03-7).


Source: EPA


EPA Revises the NESHAP for Major Sources from New and Existing Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) Boilers and Process Heaters

October 7, 2022


EPA is finalizing amendments to several numeric emission limits for new and existing boilers and process heaters. EPA is also providing further explanation of one aspect of the agency’s use of carbon monoxide (CO) as a surrogate for organic hazardous air pollutants (HAP) and its use of a CO threshold to represent the application of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for organic HAP. EPA is also finalizing several technical clarifications and corrections.


Source: EPA


Chemical Restrictions and Worker Protections under TSCA

October 3, 2022


A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation and a proposed rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) have alarmed the industry for overlapping with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for worker protection. TSCA sections 5 and 6 orders and rules aimed to protect potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations from unreasonable risks from certain chemicals’ conditions of use have, or will have, requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE), permissible exposure limits (PELs), and hazard communication. These requirements build on and often go beyond OSHA standards.


Source: American Bar Association


Key Supreme Court Cases to Watch in Administrative and Environmental Law

October 3, 2022

The first Monday of October means the Supreme Court begins to hear cases for the new term. As we promised at the end of the last term, below we summarize cases the Court could address, including issues involving the federal Clean Water Act; standing and the appropriateness of executive action in the context of an immigration case; and potentially the scope of the “dormant” Commerce clause.


Source: The National Law Review


When Should VSQGs Use the Hazardous Waste Manifest?

October 3, 2022


Though Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs) are not required to use a Manifest to ship hazardous waste offsite in most situations, there are three scenarios when a Manifest can or must be used.


Source: Lion


Texas


TCEQ Emissions Inventory Workshop Registration Now Open

October 31, 2022


TECQ will cover updates for the upcoming 2022 reporting year, basic terms and concepts, guidance for estimating emissions from equipment leak fugitive emissions sources, and Web-EI reporting.


Source: TCEQ


Estimated $75 Million in Funding Available for Diesel Emissions Reduction Incentive Rebate Grants

October 21, 2022

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is now accepting applications for the Rebate Grants program. This first-come, first-served grant program has an estimated $75 million to help reduce NOx emissions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles and select diesel non-road equipment in nonattainment areas and affected counties in Texas. Of that, $20 million will be set aside for applicants qualifying as a Small Business.


Source: TCEQ


TCEQ Announces New Public Involvement Plan

October 20, 2022


Starting November 1, 2022, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will require applicants who are applying for a new registration, permit, or activity, or making certain changes to an existing registration, permit, or activity, to complete a Public Involvement Plan Form. This news alert provides a brief analysis of who is affected by this change and considerations to take when completing this new form.


Source: TCEQ


2022 Tier II Training Classes are Now Available

October 18, 2022


TCEQ is hosting both online and a limited number of in-person trainings this year that will be conducted from November through early February. The in-person trainings will be located in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, and will have limited seating availability. Registration will be first come first serve. The online training options will be hosted remotely as an online webinar through the Microsoft Teams application. Draft Annual Tier 2 reports will be available to be created starting November 1st, but you will need to wait until January 1st, 2023 to officially submit the report. As always, these reports will be due by March 1st.


Source: TCEQ


TCEQ Emissions Inventory Workshop

October 17, 2022


Registration begins on November 1st for the TCEQ’s Emissions Inventory Workshop. TCEQ will offer this workshop as a 'hybrid' style event in 2023. Join online, or at the UT Commons Conference Center in Austin, Texas on January 26, 2023, for the half-day workshop.


Source: TCEQ


TX Industrial Waste Guidance

October 11, 2022


TCEQ regulatory guidance on determining the notification requirements for your Texas facility’s hazardous and Class 1 industrial waste generation was published in August.


Source: TCEQ


Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Information Request for Natural Gas Vehicles and Engines

October 4, 2022


TCEQ offers the opportunity for engine and vehicle manufacturers to provide information to assist TCEQ in compiling a list of vehicles and engines, as well as systems for conversion of vehicles and engines, which are eligible for funding under the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grants Program (TNGVGP).


Source: TCEQ


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HEALTH & SAFETY COMPLIANCE


US DOT and OSHA Prep for UN Meetings on Hazmat Regulations and GHS

October 31, 2022


December 2022 is expected to bring a final OSHA rule to update the Hazard Communication Standard, incorporating the GHS, 7th edition.


US DOT PHMSA and OSHA will host virtual public meetings on November 16 in preparation for a “hybrid meeting” of two United Nation sub-committees:


The UN Subcommittee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), and

​The UN Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.


Source: OSHA


OSHA Virtual Meeting on Whistleblower Protection Program

October 7, 2022


OSHA held a virtual meeting on Oct. 19 to solicit public comments and suggestions related to OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.


Source: OSHA


OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) Stakeholder Meeting to be Held October 12th, 2022

October 6, 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) held a virtual informal stakeholder meeting on Oct. 12, 2022, to invite the public to provide comments on potential changes to the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. OSHA is considering several potential changes to the scope and provisions of the current PSM standard and will provide a brief overview of its work on the PSM rulemaking project, prior to hearing public comments.


Source: OSHA


SUSTAINABILITY, ESG, AND CLIMATE ACTION


EPA Moves Ahead on Green Bank: Opportunity to Weigh in Is Now

October 26, 2022


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting stakeholder input to inform the design and implementation of the first-of-its-kind Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) at the agency to ensure full benefits are realized.


The GGRF was authorized in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to mobilize financing and leverage private capital for clean energy and climate projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with an emphasis on projects that benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities.


Source: Holland & Knight


FCA Proposes New Rules to Tackle Greenwashing

October 25, 2022


In a bid to clamp down on greenwashing, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is proposing a package of new measures including investment product sustainability labels and restrictions on how terms like ‘ESG’, ‘green’, or ‘sustainable’ can be used.


The FCA is proposing to introduce:

  • Sustainable investment product labels will give consumers the confidence to choose the right products for them. There will be three categories – including one for products improving their sustainability over time – underpinned by objective criteria.

  • Restrictions on how certain sustainability-related terms – such as ‘ESG’, ‘green’, or ‘sustainable’ – can be used in product names and marketing for products that don’t qualify for sustainable investment labels. It is also proposing a more general anti-greenwashing rule covering all regulated firms. This will help avoid misleading marketing of products.

  • Consumer-facing disclosures help consumers understand the key sustainability-related features of an investment product – this includes disclosing investments that a consumer may not expect to be held in the product.

  • More detailed disclosures are suitable for institutional investors or retail investors that want to know more.

Requirements for distributors of products, such as investment platforms, to ensure that the labels and consumer-facing disclosures are accessible and clear to consumers.


Source: FCA


GRI Universal Standards Available In More Languages

October 24, 2022


The latest version of the Universal Standards, the standards that underpin all GRI reporting, are now freely available in three further translations - Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.


In October 2021, GRI unveiled a major update to the Universal Standards, which delivered the highest level of transparency for organizational impacts on the economy, the environment, and people. The changes included full alignment with intergovernmental instruments, as set by the UN and OECD, for reporting on responsible business conduct and due diligence for human rights impacts.


Following the recent announcement that the Universal Standards 2021 Update is available in Simplified and Traditional Chinese, this means they can so far be accessed in six languages, including English. Before the end of this year, translations are expected to launch in Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, and Italian.


The revised Universal Standards, which come into effect for all reporting entities from 1 January 2023, are comprised of three Standards:

  • GRI 1: Foundation - introduces the purpose and system of GRI reporting, setting the key reporting concepts, requirements, and principles;

  • GRI 2: General Disclosures - disclosures on reporting practices, activities and workers, governance, strategy, policies and practices, and stakeholder engagement;

  • GRI 3: Material Topics - step-by-step guidance and revised disclosures on how the organization determines, lists, and manages each of its material topics.

GRI will also be providing the new Sector Standards in more languages. Translated versions of the Coal Standard (GRI 12), and the Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fishing Standard (GRI 13), can be expected at the end of 2022 and early 2023.


Source: GRI


ISSB Unanimously Confirms Scope 3 GHG Emissions Disclosure Requirements with Strong Application Support, Among Key Decisions

October 21, 2022


The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) of the IFRS Foundation has made significant progress refining its first two proposed sustainability-related disclosure standards―[draft] IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information and [draft] IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures.


At its October meeting, following careful analysis of the feedback on its proposed standards, the ISSB voted unanimously to require company disclosures on Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions[1], applying the current version of the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard. As part of these requirements, the ISSB will develop relief provisions to help companies apply the Scope 3 requirements. This relief will be decided at a future meeting and could include giving companies more time to provide Scope 3 disclosures and working with jurisdictions on so-called ‘safe harbour’[2] provisions.


Source: IFRS


The SEC Point of View on ESG

October 20, 2022


Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting has been a topic of discussion for several years, but recently became a business and market imperative for many industries. Unlike the European Union (EU) with its ESG regulatory disclosure regime for corporates and investments, there is no such regime in the United States (US), adding to the challenges of ESG reporting. US regulatory progress is, nevertheless, underway as investors, customers, employees, and other concerned parties demand transparency in the absence of a disclosure framework, making it important for corporate management and boards of directors to understand that a lack of transparency and accountability could leave registrants vulnerable to major financial, operational, and reputational risks. A key to this regulatory progress is efforts by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


In late March 2022, the SEC announced its 2022 examination priorities, noting that ESG is among its “significant focus areas.” Also in late March, the SEC proposed long-awaited climate-risk disclosure rules—an important step in the direction of more clarity for registrants, investors, and other capital-market stakeholders around information increasingly being used to guide investment decisions. A number of other efforts have shone a light on the SEC’s commitment to the ESG imperative, ranging from the creation of the Climate and ESG Task Force and the well-publicized pro-ESG disclosure position by SEC Chairperson Gary Gensler to interpretive guidance, more rulemaking, and enforcement actions. A common theme across all of these efforts involves encouraging registrants to report on their performance in relation to ESG metrics through proactive compliance and enhanced disclosures tailored to their business as a way to better manage risks and address threats before they crop up.


Source: Reuters


Why Investors Now Want Companies to Disclose Plastic Pollution Risk

October 19, 2022


It has long been globally agreed that plastic pollution is harming our ecosystems, economies, and communities. By the 1960s, scientists had found that more than 100 million tonnes of waste had been dumped in the ocean. Flash forward 60 years and the science is nothing short of frightening: every minute 18 tonnes of plastics are dumped into the seas.


If single-use plastic production continues to grow at current rates, they could account for 5%-10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050


Source: Reuters


ESG Considerations in M&A Transactions

October 14, 2022


In the past few years, environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) issues have increasingly influenced dealmaking, and, specifically, M&A transactions. Generally, ESG can be used to measure a target’s performance in ways that cannot be determined from financial statements, which include a target’s sustainability measures, social impact (such as human rights and labor relations considerations), and organizational and management structure, among other factors.


Source: The National Law Review


The 6th Edition of DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook 2022 Main Report and Executive Summary

October 13, 2022


DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook 2022 provides a comprehensive analysis of the development of the global energy system towards 2050.


Selected highlights of the forecast:


  • Electrification will play a much bigger role in the energy system, increasing its share of the global energy mix from 19% to 36%

  • With an 83% share of the electricity system in 2050, renewables are squeezing the fossil share of the overall energy mix to just below the 50% mark in 2050

  • Despite short-term raw material cost challenges, the capacity growth of solar and wind is unstoppable: by 2050 they will have grown 20-fold and 10-fold, respectively


Emissions must fall by 8% each year to secure net zero by 2050


Source: DNV

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