A House Bipartisan proposal, which is expected later this week, aims to invest significantly in clean energy infrastructure technology and tax incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years. The House Bill would create a clean electricity standard for the power sector designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050. The standard calls for expanded resources for technology for carbon capture, use and storage, and would establish a revamped regulatory framework to modernize the energy grid. The Bill would shift enforcement of power sector carbon dioxide emissions from the Clean Air Act to the policy… Read more
On Monday, the U.S. EPA issued a new rule relaxing the Obama era requirements for treating waste produced by coal-fired power plants. Under the new rule, companies would have more time and flexibility to treat power plant wastewater that contains mercury, arsenic, and other toxic heavy metals. The new rule achieves this by allowing plants that are reducing, or eliminating the use of coal to continue to use outdated water treatment technology to cleanup emission control equipment inside the coal-fired plant’s smoke stakes. The byproduct of this process is water that is contaminated with heavy metals which has historically been… Read more
The U.S. EPA has taken steps to provide additional flexibility to manufacturers of disinfectants in an attempt to increase the availability of products for Americans to use against the novel Coronavirus. To address supply chain challenges posed by the pandemic, the EPA is allowing manufacturers to obtain certain inert ingredients, like sodium chloride or glucose, from different supplies without first checking with the agency for approval. In addition, the agency is also continuing to expedite the review of submissions from companies requesting to add viral pathogen claims to their already registered surface disinfectant labels. The agency continues to be able… Read more
On Monday, July 27, the DOJ issued a memo stating that federal actions seeking penalties under the Clean Water Act (CWA) will be strongly disfavored when a state has already initiated its own enforcement action. The memo notes that the CWA already precludes federal action when a state is pursuing administrative proceedings against an alleged violator under comparable state law, but that the CWA does not have the same prohibition when a state is pursuing a judicial enforcement action. The policy applies only to civil actions, not criminal cases, and is designed to respect state authority, and avoid duplicative enforcement… Read more
On Wednesday, July 21, the EPA proposed a new rule to set greenhouse emission standards for certain types of aircraft under the Clean Air Act. Under the proposal, the EPA will adopt domestic standards that conform with the International Civil Aviation Organization guidelines which require reduced carbon dioxide emissions from new aircraft starting in 2028. The proposed rule is welcomed by most major commercial aircraft manufacturers who already comply with the ICAO standards. For more information, please contact Phillip Hoover.
In collaboration with some of the nation’s largest transit authorities, scientists at the EPA are collecting information on longer-lasting disinfectants that could revolutionize how we minimize COVID and COVID-like risks in public spaces. EPA is working directly with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of North America on evaluating EPA-registered anti-microbial products in the New York City Transit system to determine their ability to provide effective anti-virus protection over time. EPA will make the results of this research available to help inform decisions on the use of longer-lasting disinfection products, including information on the frequency of use to maintain disinfection capabilities over… Read more
On June 19, 2020, the EPA released its final EPA methylene chloride risk analysis which concluded that workers working with the hazardous solvent face greater risk of both neurological issues, and cancer. The agency’s findings mean that it must propose some type of regulation by June 19, 2021 to reduce the risk. Under TSCA, the EPA has a number of options to address the unreasonable risk including a ban of commercial uses, or a training, certification, and limited access program for certain workers. For more information, contact Phillip Hoover.
The EPA is exploring whether it can offer some form of financial relief to manufacturers of 20 chemicals who are being required to pay chemical risk evaluation fees in 2020. In December of 2019, the EPA announced that it is requiring manufacturers of 20 priority chemicals to pay a total of $27,000,000 towards the EPA’s cost of evaluating those chemicals’ potential to injure people or the environment. In light of the economic impact of COVID-19 on the chemical manufacturing sector, five chemical trade associations requested that the reimbursement request be pushed to 2021. The EPA has expressed doubt as to… Read more
The EPA’s largest union is pushing back against the agency’s plans to start the process that could reopen some of its offices. The EPA announced last week that it has decided to take steps to reopen three of its 10 regional offices. Those offices are in Atlanta, Seattle, and Lenexa, Kansas. According to the agency, that decision is based upon local data about Coronavirus infection rates and conditions, and the agency intends to proceed carefully as more data is revealed. No precise date for reopening has been announced, but the EPA has decided to start the process based in part… Read more
SGR’s Sustainability Practice Group is proud to have provided the legal support to our client, Cherry Street Energy, in reaching a groundbreaking agreement with Emory University to install and operate 5.5 MW of solar energy across Emory’s Atlanta campus. Per Emory’s press release, found here, the Solar Energy Procurement Agreement (SEPA) establishing Cherry Street’s project will result in “one of the largest deployments of on-site solar power at a higher education institution in the Southeast.” SGR has represented Cherry Street Energy since it was founded to take advantage of the market created by the Solar Power Free Market Financing Act of… Read more