Mar 27, 2023

EPA Publishes Draft “Cumulative Risk” Assessment Procedures Under TSCA

The EPA has release a proposed guidance document for conducting cumulative risk assessments (“CRA”) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”). The guidance is designed to assist the EPA to characterize and quantify the combined risk to health and/or the environment from multiple chemical agents and/or stressors. Under the Biden Administration, consideration of cumulative risk is a top priority for the EPA in its efforts to address environmental justice concerns. The draft guidance notes that disadvantage communities often face multiple pollutants from multiple media which overlap with the adverse effects of poverty and other socioeconomic factors. However, it takes a… Read more

Mar 13, 2023

EPA Proposes Strict Clean Water Act Treatment Technology for Coal-Fired Power Plants

On March 8th, the EPA proposed an Effluent Limitation Guidance (ELG) rule designed to meet a “zero discharge” goal for the steam electric power generating point source category. The proposal includes requirements for advanced membrane treatment technology which the EPA believes is necessary to meet the CWA’s definition of “best available technology” required by the ELG. ELGs are technology based treatment mandates that the EPA adopts to represent the greatest pollution reductions an industry can achieve through economically feasible methods. The EPA’s proposed rule will also set tighter discharge standards for flue-gas desulphurization wastewater, bottom ash transport water, and combustion… Read more

Feb 27, 2023

U.S. Attorneys’ Office Issues New “Self-Disclosure” Penalty Policy for Environmental Crimes

On February 22, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office issued a new, voluntary self-disclosure policy encouraging companies to reveal potentially criminal conduct for environmental crimes. For qualifying self‑disclosures, the policy can result in significant penalty reductions, and is intended to incentivize corporate compliance programs capable of identifying misconduct, and encouraging companies to rapidly address the underlying noncompliance. Under the policy, a company is considered to have made a voluntary disclosure if it becomes aware of misconduct and publicly reports the misconduct to the DOJ in a timely fashion prior to an eminent threat of disclosure. Companies that make qualified, voluntary disclosures may… Read more

Jan 30, 2023

EPA Published WOTUS Rule on January 18, 2023

The U.S. EPA released a controversial new rule defining regulated “waters of the United States” on January 18, 2023. The Publication began the 60-day clock for critics to challenge the rule in Federal Court. The new Rule is expected to closely track the pre-publication version that was released by the PEA on December 30. Under the proposed rule, the EPA and the Corps will be directed to apply WOTUS Standards developed prior to 2015 and the controversial WOTUS definition issued by the Obama Administration. The new Rule attempts to reconcile the narrow “continuous surface connection” between “relatively permanent” waters, and… Read more

Jan 17, 2023

White House Publishes Guide to Weighing Climate Consequences to Permitting Actions

On Friday, January 6, the White House issued its long awaited guidance telling federal agencies how to consider climate impacts on permitting decisions. The guidance details the need to make sure the depth of analysis undertaken by the agency is proportional to a project’s impact. The document also gives agencies authority to perform a less detailed analysis for projects that are deemed to reduce emissions, such as clean energy projects, as well as encouraging agencies to engage with affected communities, and to factor in environmental justice considerations in their analysis. The new guidance is designed to work in concert with… Read more

Jan 3, 2023

Asphalt Manufacturer Challenges EPA’s Spill Rule Under Oil Spill Control Regulations

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is set to rule on a challenge by an asphalt emulsions manufacturing company alleging that the EPA unlawfully required its facility to maintain a Facility Response Plan (“FRP”) simply because of its proximity to navigable waters. The Regulation in question requires a facility to prepare an FRP if, “because of its location, it could reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the environment by discharging oil into or on the navigable waters or adjacent shorelines.” The “substantial harm” test is fulfilled when a facility’s total oil storage capacity exceeds… Read more

Dec 7, 2022

Apple Eyes Recycling Plan for Carbon-Neutrality

Apple, Inc. has set an ambitious carbon-neutrality goal, which it hopes to achieve by 2030. Key to achieving this goal is an ambitious recycling plan. Apple has already slashed the Company’s aluminum related carbon emissions by 68% since 2015 by utilizing more recycled aluminum, which drastically reduces carbon emissions associated with mineral extraction. In addition, Apple reached 100% renewable energy in 2018, and is urging companies throughout its supply chain to do the same. The Company has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eliminate plastic packaging by 2025, reduce water impacts in manufacturing, and increase energy efficiency in Apple stores,… Read more

Nov 28, 2022

EPA to Increase Chemical Manufacturer’s Fees

On Tuesday, November 14, the EPA issued a proposed rule which would increase fees charged under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to manufacturers and handlers of chemical substances. The proposed rule would more than double the annual revenue the Agency receives from chemical manufacturers. In addition, it will increase the pool of companies subject to the fees to include processors, who mix, repackage, and otherwise work with chemicals without manufacturing them. Chemical manufacturers are required to pay these fees under TSCA to help defray a portion of the EPA’s cost to review both brand new chemicals and new uses… Read more

Nov 7, 2022

EPA Issues Interim Environmental Justice (EJ) and Civil Rights Permitting FAQ

On August 16, the EPA released its frequently asked questions (“FAQ”) document advising state regulators to deny permits if applicants do not demonstrate compliance with the civil rights of affected persons and communities in addition to compliance with the environmental requirements of the permit. The document also includes details on how permit writers should measure and consider cumulative and desperate impacts to minority and disadvantaged communities. Multiple state authorities including those responsible for writing permits under Clear Air and Clean Water Act provisions have questioned the EPA’s authority to require them to consider factors beyond environmental compliance in permitting decisions…. Read more

Oct 26, 2022

EPA to Release Lead Strategy in Anticipation of Revised Soil Clean-Up Guidance

The EPA’s revised lead strategy has cleared the interagency review process, and is expected to be released later this year. The revised strategy outlines the EPA’s intent to work with other federal agencies such as the CDC to review and revise its lead soil policy which was last updated in 1998. The draft strategy states that it would set new recommendations for screening sites for remediation, and strengthen preliminary remediation goals to reduce lead exposure in accordance with the latest science. The new strategy is in keeping with the EPA’s current mandate which is designed to support all offices within… Read more