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NEPA Overhaul, Methane Emissions and More….


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ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE


Federal


Alternate PCB Extraction Methods and Amendments to PCB Cleanup and Disposal Regulations

August 30, 2023


EPA is finalizing an expanded set of extraction and determinative methods that can be used to characterize and verify the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) waste. EPA is also amending the performance-based disposal option for remediation waste; removing the provision allowing PCB bulk product waste to be disposed of as roadbed material; adding more flexible provisions for spill cleanup during emergency situations (e.g., hurricanes or floods); and making other amendments to improve the implementation of the regulations.


Source: EPA


Major Questions Doctrine Reaches the Clean Water Act

August 11, 2023


The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed a district court’s dismissal of environmental plaintiffs’ claim that shrimp trawlers require either a Section 404 or National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit under the Clean Water Act to use trawling nets to catch shrimp and return their bycatch to the sea.



U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy Announce Intent to Fund Efforts to Reduce Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Sector

August 7, 2023


Grant Opportunity: “IRA: Mitigating Emissions from Marginal Conventional Wells”

Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory


NETL anticipates issuing the opportunity in August 2023 with an application availability period of 30 days.


Estimated Total Program Funding: $350,000,000;

Award Ceiling: $150,000,000


Source: Grants.gov


White House Proposes to Again Overhaul NEPA Regulations

August 3, 2023


The White House CEQ proposed to update its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act across the federal government. Reflecting the increasingly swinging pendulum in federal environmental policy, this proposal is the second such effort in recent years after CEQ’s original regulations endured for nearly four decades.



EPA Publishes Semiannual Agenda Previewing PFAS-Related Agency Actions

August 3, 2023


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 27, 2023, published its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, which is intended to update the public about the agency's plan to review, propose and issue regulations over the coming months. The following provides a general overview of some of EPA's proposed actions:


  • Under the Clean Air Act (CAA): EPA plans to revise state implementation plans (SIPs), delete the source categories list from the new source performance standards (NSPs) and propose area designations for air quality planning purposes, among other actions.

  • Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA): EPA will take actions affecting the status of currently registered pesticides.

  • Under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): EPA will propose licensing actions and new chemical actions.

  • Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): EPA plans to authorize certain state solid waste management plans and hazardous waste delisting petitions.

  • Under the Clean Water Act (CWA): EPA will review state water quality standards, make deletions from the Section 307(a) list of "toxic pollutants" and review delegations of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) authority to states, among others.

  • Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): EPA will take actions on state underground injection control programs.



Proposed Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems Under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

August 2, 2023


EPA is proposing to amend requirements that apply to the petroleum and natural gas systems source category of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule to ensure that reporting is based on empirical data, accurately reflects total methane emissions and waste emissions from applicable facilities, and allows owners and operators of applicable facilities to submit empirical emissions data that appropriately demonstrate the extent to which a charge is owed. EPA is also proposing changes to requirements that apply to the general provisions, general stationary fuel combustion, and petroleum and natural gas systems source categories of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule to improve calculation, monitoring, and reporting of greenhouse gas data for petroleum and natural gas systems facilities. Additionally, the proposed rule establishes and amends confidentiality determinations for the reporting of certain data elements to be added or substantially revised.


Source: EPA


Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule: Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

August 1, 2023


Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule: Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend requirements that apply to the petroleum and natural gas systems source category of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule to ensure that reporting is based on empirical data, accurately reflects total methane emissions and waste emissions from applicable facilities, and allows owners and operators of applicable facilities to submit empirical emissions data that appropriately demonstrate the extent to which a charge is owed. The EPA is also proposing changes to requirements that apply to the general provisions, general stationary fuel combustion, and petroleum and natural gas systems source categories of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule to improve calculation, monitoring, and reporting of greenhouse gas data for petroleum and natural gas systems facilities.



Texas


EPA Issues Compliance Advisory: Tips for Submitting Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs)

August 11, 2023


TCEQ and EPA are continuing efforts to reduce the number of individually permitted Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) facilities in significant noncompliance (SNC).


Source: TCEQ


Pollution Prevention Waste Management Workshop

August 10, 2023


TCEQ's hybrid Pollution Prevention Waste Management Workshop will be held 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


TCEQ What's New in Rules Update

August 3, 2023


The adopted new Chapter 338 rules will require that an owner or operator of a storage vessel must register, assess, and report to TCEQ on its compliance status with the ASVS Program no later than September 1, 2027, with any storage vessels constructed or brought into service after that date required to register and certify compliance no later than 30 days following start of their operations. The rulemaking adoption will require owners and operators of existing storage vessels, those in operation prior to September 1, 2027, to comply with the standards referenced in the rules upon completion of the next regularly scheduled out-of-service maintenance that occurs after September 1, 2027, with all facilities required to certify compliance status no later than September 1, 2037.


Source: TCEQ


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HEALTH & SAFETY COMPLIANCE


USDOT Proposes Updates to Gas Distribution Pipeline Regulations, Bolstering Safety Requirements and Strengthening Community Protections

August 23, 2023


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to strengthen safety requirements for millions of miles of gas distribution pipelines. These proposed changes aim to improve safety and mitigate risk through the improvement of emergency response plans, integrity management plans, operation manuals and more. This proposal comes after the tragic Merrimack Valley incident, which injured dozens and resulted in one fatality.


Source: PHMSA


PHMSA Releases 2nd Round of Hazmat FAQs on Incident Reporting

August 21, 2023


See all 18 answers about hazardous materials incident reporting released by PHMSA (and a video) for the key details you need to know about reporting hazmat transportation incidents.


Source: Lion


Big RCRA Corrections Rule is Worth a Look for Generators

August 18, 2023


Generators have until October 10 to submit comments on "technical corrections" to the RCRA hazardous waste regulations—including noteworthy changes related to on site accumulation limits for SQGs and waste ID records.


Source: Lion


5 Common Hazmat Shipping Paper Mistakes

August 4, 2023


When you ship hazardous materials, even small mistakes on shipping papers can have big consequences. Inaccurate or incomplete shipping papers can lead to rejected shipments, civil penalties from DOT, and dangerous incidents in transit.


This guide will help you avoid five of the most common mistakes and ensure your shipping papers are complete and compliant.


Source: Lion


OSHA Quicktakes for August 2: Featuring Employer Responsibilities to Protect Workers from Heat and More

August 2, 2023


Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety and health hazards. This includes protecting workers from heat-related hazards.


Source: OSHA


SUSTAINABILITY, ESG, AND CLIMATE ACTION


EU Adopts Long-Awaited Mandatory ESG Reporting Standards

August 23, 2023


In January 2023, the European Union adopted the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which requires EU and non-EU companies with activities in the EU to file annual sustainability reports alongside their financial statements. These reports must be prepared in accordance with European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).



CFTC and FTC Both Scrutinize Fraud in Carbon Markets

August 14, 2023


The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is exerting jurisdiction over fraud and manipulation in "physical" carbon markets and recently created an Environmental Fraud Task Force. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed updates to its Green Guides to address deceptive claims about the use of carbon offsets.



Moving Beyond Sustainability Rhetoric

August 14, 2023


Every year, we see large companies issue statements expressing their desire for sustainability. It’s easy to do, but turning words into effective action requires a distinct set of leadership skills that often come as a stretch or even an afterthought to many top executives.



Trends in ESG Litigation and Enforcement

August 10, 2023


Litigation and regulatory enforcement actions and threats related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) company policies, practices, and disclosures have been in the spotlight recently. The topics encompassed by ESG, such as corporate diversity policies, workplace sexual harassment, and climate change-related issues, are not new areas for litigation. However, the increased focus by companies on ESG issues has engendered more litigation by private litigants and heightened scrutiny by governmental and regulatory agencies.



IFRS Releases New Global Sustainability Disclosure Standards

August 8, 2023


On June 26, 2023, the International Sustainability Standards Board (“ISSB”) issued its inaugural sustainability reporting standards—IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information (“IFRS S1”) and IFRS S2 Climate related Disclosures (“IFRS S2”) (together, the “Standards”).



ESG Mid-Year Review: Expectations for the Remainder of 2023

August 2, 2023


A wide range of market participants have worked together to respond to the demand for increasing ESG data and clear standards. The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), formed by the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS), issued its inaugural financial reporting standards, IFRS S1 and IFRS S2, on June 26, 2023. At the London Stock Exchange Group plc’s launch event for the standards, the exchange’s CEO Julia Hoggett hailed this as a “landmark day for the global economy.”



ESG Watch: Investors Hail End To ‘Alphabet Soup’ Of Sustainability Disclosure with New ISSB Standards

August 1, 2023


The world of global business standards is a deliberate and slow-moving one. That makes the recent release of the first International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) standards after just 18 months lightning quick, in relative terms.


The board’s inaugural standards are IFRS S1, which tells companies what information they need to disclose to investors about the sustainability-related risks and opportunities they face over the short, medium and long term; and IFRS S2, which sets out specific climate-related disclosures and is designed to be used with IFRS S1.


Source: Reuters

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