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Updated: Aug 16


ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE


Federal


Revised "Pre-2015" WOTUS Definition Proposed

November 30, 2021


US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers announced a proposed rule on November 18 to re-establish—with adjustments—the definition of “waters of the United States” that was in place before a 2015 rulemaking changed the definition.


EPA will incorporate language from relevant Supreme Court decisions to strengthen the pre-2015 definition of WOTUS by, in part, clarifying the meaning of “significant nexus” within the regulation.


Source: EPA


EPA Proposes Significant New Use Rule (SNURs) on Certain Chemical Substances (21-2.5e)

November 28, 2021


EPA is proposing SNURs under TSCA for 24 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs) and Orders issued by EPA under TSCA. This action would require persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process any of these chemical substances for an activity that is proposed as a significant new use to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity.


Source: Dakota Software


EPA Adds Natural Gas Processing Facilities to the Toxics Release Inventory

November 25, 2021


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding natural gas processing (NGP) facilities (also known as natural gas liquid extraction facilities) to the scope of the industrial sectors covered by the reporting requirements of EPCRA and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA).


Source: Dakota Software


EPA Announces Extension of Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance for COVID-19

November 25, 2021


On November 19, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is extending COVID-19 activation of the emerging viral pathogens (EVP) guidance for antimicrobial pesticides indefinitely. EPA states that its EVP guidance for antimicrobial pesticides is a part of the federal government’s pandemic preparedness, allowing manufacturers to provide EPA with data, even in advance of an outbreak, demonstrating that their products are effective against hard-to-kill viruses.


Source: The National Law Review


EPA Takes a Big Science Step Towards Setting a Drinking Water Standard for PFOA and PFOS and the Implications Are Much Broader

November 23, 2021


Last week, EPA transmitted four important documents to the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) for peer review that included updated health assessments for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). This peer review, which will start on December 16, will inform EPA’s development of a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) Goal and a future, legally enforceable National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFOA and PFOS under the Safe Drinking Water Act. As noted in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021-2024, EPA intends to release a proposed drinking water regulation for PFOA and PFOS in fall 2022. These scientific documents will provide the underpinnings for that important regulation.


Source: The National Law Review


DHS, Coast Guard Increase HAZMAT Shipping and CFATS Penalties

November 22, 2021


In October the US Coast Guard adjusted their maximum civil penalties to keep pace with inflation. The annual penalty increase occurred separately from US DOT’s penalty adjustments because the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). US DOT sub-agencies including PHMSA, FAA, FMCSA, and FRA increased civil penalties for violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) twice in 2021 to keep pace with inflation. Now, the Coast Guard has maximum civil penalties to match.


Adjusted Hazmat Civil Penalties for Vessel Shippers

Penalty name

Was

Now

Hazardous Materials: Related to Vessels

$83,439

$84,425

Hazardous Materials: Related to Vessels–Fatalities,

Serious Injury/Illness, or substantial property damage

$194,691

$196,992

Hazardous Materials Related to Vessels; Training

$502

$508

Source: Lion


Update: 2018 TSCA Mercury Reporting Rule Revised

November 22, 2021


On November 8, a revision to EPA's 2018 rule "Reporting Requirements for TSCA Mercury Inventory: Mercury" was published to the Federal Register. The original rule requires reporting from persons who manufacture (including import) mercury or mercury-added products or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process. The latest update would mean companies that import pre-assembled products that contain a mercury-added component (such as a watch with a mercury-added battery) would be required to report such imports to EPA.


Source: Lion


EPA Proposes to Revise the NESHAP for Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources

November 22, 2021


EPA is proposing the results of a technology review conducted for the NESHAP for Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources. EPA is proposing no changes to the standards as a result of the technology review, however, EPA is proposing to amend provisions regarding electronic reporting; make miscellaneous clarifying and technical corrections; simplify the petition for exemption process; and clarify requirements addressing emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM).


Source: Dakota Software


The New ASTM E1527-21 Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA)

November 18, 2021


On November 1, 2021, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management and Corrective Action (ASTM Committee E-50) approved a new standard for conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs).


Source: The National Law Review


EPA Proposes Significant New Use Rules

November 18, 2021


EPA is proposing significant new use rules (SNURs) for 28 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). If finalized, the SNURs would require persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process any of these chemical substances for an activity that is proposed as a significant new use by this rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity.


Source: Dakota Software


EPA Plans Two RCRA Hazardous Waste Rules for PFAS

November 15, 2021


US EPA plans to propose two RCRA hazardous waste rules to address the environmental impacts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and facilitate cleanup of sites contaminated with these so-called forever chemicals.


Source: Lion


EPA Proposes Revisions to New Source Performance Standards for Oil and Natural Gas Sector

November 15, 2021


EPA is proposing to revise the NSPS for greenhouse gases (GHGs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (40 CFR 60, Subpart OOOOa) for the Crude Oil and Natural Gas source category. Specifically, EPA is proposing to update, strengthen, and expand current requirements for methane and VOC emissions from new, modified, or reconstructed sources. Additionally, EPA is proposing revisions to 40 CFR 60, Subpart OOOOa stemming from the joint resolution of Congress, adopted on June 30, 2021, under the Congressional Review Act, disapproving the EPA’s final rule titled, “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Review,” 85 FR 57018 (Sept. 14, 2020). The proposed revisions address certain inconsistencies between the VOC and methane standards resulting from the disapproval of the 2020 Policy Rule, and certain determinations made in the final rule titled “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Reconsideration,” 85 FR 57398 (September 15, 2020) (2020 Technical Rule), with respect to fugitive emissions monitoring at low production well sites and gathering and boosting stations.


Source: Dakota Software


Where to Send CERCLA Section 103 Release Reports

November 12, 2021


Earlier this month, EPA published a Final Rule that changes where covered facilities send Continuous Release Reports required under CERCLA Section 103. Until now, facilities submitted these reports to their respective EPA regional office. Effective November 12, 2021, facilities must submit future reports of this type to the appropriate EPA Headquarters (HQ) office.


Source: Federal Register


A Crackdown on Methane: At Both New and Existing Oil and Gas Facilities

November 11, 2021


On November 2, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed a suite of New Source Performance Standard (“NSPS”) program rules that, if adopted, will have a significant impact on the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors, reversing some Trump administration rules that had reversed Obama administration rules regulating volatile organic compound (“VOC”) and methane emissions from the sector.


EPA’s broad proposal is comprised of three distinct pieces. First, the proposal will update the existing NSPS Subpart OOOOa (“Quad Oa”) rules to address June 30, 2021, Congressional Joint Resolution adopted under the Congressional Review Act, which disapproves the Trump administration’s 2020 Policy Rule. The Trump-era Policy Rule rescinded VOC and methane emission standards for transmission and storage sectors and rescinded methane emission standards for the production and processing sectors. With the passage of the resolution and EPA’s proposed revisions, it is as though the 2020 Policy Rule never took effect. The methane standards adopted prior to the 2020 Policy Rule will be reinstated. Ultimately, the Quad O/Oa proposals are expected to include the original 2016 methane standards for applicable production and processing oil and gas segments.


Source: DGS


Texas


The Air Permits Division Has Updated the106.261 and 106.262 Workbooks

November 12, 2021


The 106.261 and 106.262 Single and Multiple project workbooks Version 3.0 has been

released and is required to be submitted beginning December 1, 2021. As of April 1, 2021, the Section 106.261/Section 106.262 workbook is required to be submitted with all

Section 106.261 and Section 106.262 registrations.


Source: TCEQ


Texas Increases IHW Generator Fees for First Time Since 1994

November 5, 2021


The state of Texas adopted a new rule on November 3 to gradually increase Industrial Hazardous Waste (IHW) Management fees. The rulemaking also gives TCEQ's executive director authority to adjust fees annually.


Source: Lion


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HEALTH & SAFETY COMPLIANCE


What Must Employers Do to Comply with OSHA’s ETS? Check out our Checklist for Answers

November 12, 2021


Check out this Checklist for the OSHA COVID-19 ETS. The ETS includes two compliance dates, December 6, 2021, which includes most of the obligations mandated under the standard, and January 4, 2022, which primarily addresses testing.


Source: Seyfarth


Interim Final Rule: COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing Rules for Employers

November 12, 2021


OSHA’s emergency temporary standard concerning COVID-19 vaccination and testing for large employers was published to the Federal Register on Nov. 5 and is under review by a Federal Appeals Court.


Source: Lion


U.S. Court of Appeals Stays Enforcement of OSHA's COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Vaccination and Testing

November 9, 2021


The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is ordering a stay of enforcement of OSHA's COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for Vaccination and Testing, which was published on November 5, 2021 (86 FR 61402). The ETS, which requires either employee vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing for employers with 100 or more employees, is stayed pending expedited judicial review and further action by the court.


Source: Dakota Software


OSHA Issues COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Vaccination and Testing

November 6, 2021


OSHA is issuing a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for vaccination and testing which applies to all employers with a total of 100 or more employees. The ETS does not apply to employees while working from home; employees who do not report to a workplace where coworkers or customers are present; employees who work exclusively outdoors; workplaces covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors; or settings where employees provide healthcare services or healthcare support services which are subject to the healthcare COVID-19 ETS (29 CFR 1910.502).


Source: Dakota Software


Safety Inspectors to Focus on Chemical Exposures in Midwest

November 5, 2021


OSHA’s regional office in Kansas City, MO announced a new Regional Emphasis Program to “increase awareness of chemical exposures and ensure employers implement required safety and health procedures.”


Source: Lion


Midwest Regional Emphasis Program Targeting OSHA's Top 50 High-Hazard Health Industries

November 1, 2021


To reduce employee exposure to health hazards and encourage companies to make workplace safety and health a priority, OSHA’s Midwest regional office has established a Regional Emphasis Program targeting OSHA's Top 50 High-Hazard Health Industries. Occupational exposure to hazardous substances, such as asbestos, formaldehyde, and cadmium, can lead to cancer and other long-term serious health diagnoses years after exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. OSHA will focus its health inspections on employers with documented employee exposure through previous agency inspections and at companies in similar industries. The agency determined that relying solely on injury and illness data is inadequate in identifying exposure to these workplace hazards because the onset of symptoms can occur years after exposure. The emphasis program will assist in developing an inspection targeting system to identify those worksites with health hazards.


Source: OSHA


OSHA Begins the Process to Issue Heat Illness Standard for Indoor and Outdoor Workplaces

November 1, 2021


For decades, federal OSHA has enforced occupational heat illness hazards through the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause. OSHA has recently updated its Heat Illness Prevention Campaign materials to recognize both indoor and outdoor heat hazards, as well as the importance of protecting new and returning workers from hazardous heat. As OSHA continues to shift its enforcement focus to heat, it has begun the process to issue a heat illness standard. On October 27, 2021, OSHA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) for the proposed standard.


Source: Seyfarth Shaw


SUSTAINABILITY, ESG, AND CLIMATE ACTION


Why ESG 2022 Will Still Be the Wild West

November 29, 2021


The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has published a report on the use of ESG metrics, with the following findings:

  • there is little clarity and alignment on definitions, including on what ratings or data products intend to measure;

  • there is a lack of transparency about the methodologies underpinning these ratings or data products;

  • while there is wide divergence within the ESG ratings and data products industry, there is uneven coverage of products offered, with certain industries or geographical areas benefitting from more coverage than others, thereby leading to gaps for investors seeking to follow certain investment strategies;

  • there may be concerns about the management of conflicts of interest where the ESG ratings and data products provider or an entity closely associated with the provider performs consulting services for companies that are the subject of these ESG ratings or data products, and

  • better communication with companies that are the subject of ESG ratings or data products was identified as an area meriting further attention given the importance of ensuring the ESG ratings or other data products are based on sound information.

Source: GreenBiz


COP26 Reaches Final Agreement: Highlights of the Glasgow Climate Pact

November 16, 2021


Following marathon negotiation sessions that went day overtime into Saturday, a final agreement was made at COP26, forming the new Glasgow Climate Pact. The past includes references to fossil fuels for the first time for a COP decision, though the language was substantially watered down over the past few days. The text also calls for near-term revisions and strengthening of countries’ interim climate goals, and for a ramp in climate finance to developing countries.


Source: ESG Today


“The Impact Is Here”: Climate Change, Resilience, and the Imperative to Adapt

November 15, 2021


Mitigation alone isn’t going to be enough to combat climate risk. Corporates, governments, and other leaders will also need to consider adaptation and resilience plans.


Source: McKinsey


COP26 Made Net Zero a Core Principle for Businesses. Here’s How Leaders Can Act

November 12, 2021


Five key priorities coming out of Glasgow and COP26:

  • Companies can gain a competitive advantage from translating net-zero pledges into net-zero plans

  • The money to finance the transition is forming; markets and institutions are needed to channel capital

  • Securing green materials and decarbonizing assets will mitigate risk amid shortages and price volatility

  • Measurement and disclosure are unavoidable; using digital to create transparency can have benefits

  • Investments in resilience can protect people and companies from physical climate hazards

Source: McKinsey


UK to Enshrine Mandatory Climate Disclosures for Largest Companies in Law

November 2, 2021


The UK will become the first G20 country to enshrine in law mandatory TCFD-aligned requirements for Britain’s largest companies and financial institutions to report on climate-related risks and opportunities.


Beginning 6 April 2022, over 1,300 of the largest UK-registered companies and financial institutions will have to disclose climate-related financial information on a mandatory basis – in line with recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. This will include many of the UK’s largest traded companies, banks, and insurers, as well as private companies with over 500 employees and £500 million in turnover.


Source: Gov UK

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