Oct 12, 2022

EPA Streamlines Review of New Chemicals for EV Vehicle Batteries

The EPA has announced that it will streamline review of new chemical substances that are used in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries, and that can be used in other, vital emerging markets. The Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) requires that new compounds which have not been made in or imported to the United States before must be reviewed and approved by the agency before production or importation. In order to make the needed safety review of such new chemicals simpler, the agency will offer a streamlined process similar to the one it launched earlier in 2022 for biofuels. For… Read more

Sep 26, 2022

EPA Set to Approve Canola Oil for “Advanced” Fuel under RFS

The EPA is expected to approve canola oil as a feed stock for the manufacturer of advanced, low‑carbon fuel which will be qualified to earn credit under the Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”).  The Rule would provide economic incentives to create renewable diesel, jet fuel, naphtha and liquid propane gas made from canola, and is expected to boost bio fuel makers’ options to produce RFS. The EPA has already approved a pathway for generating RFS credits from canola oil used for biodiesel production, but the new rule would approve a pathway for renewable diesel, which is a different product. For more… Read more

Sep 12, 2022

Sixth Circuit to Review Decision to Certify Class in PFAS Litigation

The Sixth Circuit has agreed to review the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio’s decision to certify a class of millions of Ohio residents who may have “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, in their blood. The class includes residents who have “0.05 parts per trillion of PFOA or at least 0.05 parts per trillion of any other PFAS in their blood serum.” Plaintiff’s counsel justified the size of the class before the U.S. Court of Appeals by noting that its large size is due to the “enormous scale of the harm and damage.” The grant of CERT is… Read more

Aug 29, 2022

Environmentalists Sue EPA Over Regulation of “Inactive” Coal Ash Landfills

Several environmental organizations have sued the U.S. EPA in an attempt to force the agency to revise its coal ash rules to include inactive, coal ash landfills. Currently inactive, coal ash landfills are exempt from the coal combustion residuals (“CCR”) rule requirements which require monitoring and closure of CCR landfills that accept ash after October 19, 2016, existing surface impoundments, and to a limited degree, inactive CCR surface impoundments. Plaintiffs in the case allege that approximately half of the country’s CCR waste is contained in exempt landfills. The case, State-wide Organizing for Community Empowerment, et al. v. EPA, filed August… Read more

Aug 11, 2022

Georgia-Pacific Seeks Supreme Court Review of CERCLA Statute of Limitation

Georgia-Pacific is filing a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to clarify the appropriate application of CERCLA’s statute of limitation to contribution actions. In the underlying case, the U.S. District Court in Georgia Pacific, et al. v. NCR Corp., held that the three-year statute of limitation for contribution actions under Section 113 begins to run against parties who are not named in the original Consent Order with the U.S. EPA. Georgia-Pacific is seeking clarification that the three-year statute of limitations does not run against parties who are not identified as responsible parties by the U.S. EPA, and made a… Read more

Jul 29, 2022

EPA to Publish CWA Spill Rules for Chemical ASTs

The U.S. EPA is set to publish a long overdue proposed rule that would require certain facilities with above-ground chemical tanks to develop response plans for worst-case scenario spills. The “worst-case response plan requirement” will be in addition to the CWA’s older mandate for developing spill prevention rules for oil and hazardous substances, and is being hailed by state and local and local emergency planning officials as a great step forward in protecting state water and drinking water supplies. The proposed Rules, which are set to be finalized as early as next month, will require operators with bulk chemical storage… Read more

Jul 18, 2022

EPA Scrutiny of Self-Audit Policy May Discourage Self-Disclosure of Violations

On June 30, the EPA Inspector General directed the Agency to develop a more rigorous process for screening self-disclosure of violations made to the EPA’s electronic disclosure system (eDisclosure). The Director found that the Agency lacked adequate internal controls to ensure that the EPA screening process is effective and that significant concerns, such as criminal conduct and potential imminent hazards are identified and addressed by the Office of Enforcement.  Significant concerns are ineligible for the penalty mitigation shield available for minor noncompliance issues that are voluntarily disclosed to the EPA under the eDisclosure system. Companies are advised to review the… Read more

Jun 29, 2022

Industry Urges IRS to Delay Superfund Tax by Six Months

Chemical industry groups have urged the IRS to delay implementation of the Superfund taxes on chemicals which were reinstated by Congress in the bipartisan, infrastructure law. According to industry representatives, the IRS has not provided adequate guidance on a range of issues for taxpayers to meet their tax obligations. Specifically, chemical industry representatives have requested that the IRS provide guidance regarding the “taxable substances” that will be subject to the tax, including updating the current list of 151 substances, clarifying the tax rate for each substance, and a process for petitioning for substances to be added to the list. In… Read more

Jun 16, 2022

EPA Releases Drinking Water PFAS Standards

The EPA has released drinking water health advisory levels for four per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), including revised target levels for PFOA and PFOS.  The updated advisory levels are based on new science that indicates that some negative health effects may occur with concentrations of PFOA or PFOS that are near zero.  Accordingly, the new advisory levels are set at 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 002 parts per trillion for PFOS, which are several orders of magnitude lower than levels set by the Obama EPA.  While health advisory levels are not enforceable in their own right, many states use… Read more

Jun 7, 2022

EPA Proposes New CWA 401 Rule Undoing Trump-Era Limits

On Thursday, June 2, the EPA unveiled a proposed rule that would restore states’ ability to veto Federal infrastructure projects that they think could pollute water within their borders.  If finalized, the EPA’s proposed Water Quality Certification and Improvement Rule would roll back the Trump Administration’s 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule, which greatly reduced states’ ability to object to infrastructure projects.  The Clean Water Act gives states the right to certify any federally-permitted infrastructure project that might discharge pollution into streams, waters or wetlands.  Under the EPA’s proposed rule, a state would be allowed to determine whether… Read more