Environmental Law Portal

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Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices focus on environmental and natural resource law, litigation and dispute resolution. We help clients around the world resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their products, facilities, and operations. 

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The TSCA Inventory Reset Begins

Virtually all manufacturers and importers of chemicals for the past 11 years are now subject to a new TSCA reporting requirement known informally as the TSCA Inventory Reset. Reports are due by February 7, 2018.  All processors of chemicals have an opportunity and an incentive to report as well, and may do so by October 5, 2018. The final Inventory Reset rule was released on June 22 and published on August 11, 2017, [1] and is effective immediately. The final rule is available here .  It will be codified as 40 C.F.R. Part 710, Subpart B. Read More ›

EPA Releases Final Guidance on TSCA Section 8(a) Nanomaterial Reporting Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Working Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce ( Guidance ) [1] on August 14, 2017.  EPA developed the final Guidance based on a draft guidance published for comments in May 2017 (see B&D Alert from May 23, 2017 ).  Note that August 14, 2017 was also the effective date of the TSCA Section 8(a) Nanomaterial Reporting rule itself. Read More ›

GAO Recommends that PHMSA Evaluate its Model for Pipeline Safety Inspections

Pipeline safety and infrastructure issues have gained attention in recent years due to tight oil resources production, changes in regulations, and several high-profile incidents. On Thursday, August 3, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a new report recommending that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) document the assumptions and decisions it made in developing its Risk Ranking Index Model (RRIM), which PHMSA uses to determine the frequency of its pipeline inspections.  The report also recommends that PHMSA conduct a data-driven evaluation of the RRIM to assess its effectiveness in prioritizing segments for inspection. Read More ›

CERCLA Task Force Issues Recommendations

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has announced a set of Task Force recommendations that are aimed at improving the Superfund program.  The Agency’s adoption of these recommendations is another indication that demonstrable change to CERCLA implementation is of interest to the Trump administration.   It follows the EPA Administrator’s May 9 retraction of certain remedy selection authority from regional offices. Read More ›

Insurance Policyholders Score Victory on Critical Allocation Issue in Second Circuit Olin Decision

In an action seeking insurance coverage for environmental contamination, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that “all sums” allocation would apply to the policies at issue, and therefore the policyholder could choose which of the multiple triggered policy periods it preferred to cover the entire loss, up to the limits of the policies in that year.  Olin Corp. v. OneBeacon Am. Ins. Co. , No. 15-2047(L) (2d Cir. July 18, 2017). Read More ›

EPA Releases TSCA Final Rule on Prioritization of High-Priority and Low-Priority Chemical Substances

Under the amended TSCA, prioritization – EPA’s process for selecting which chemical substances to evaluate for possible regulation – is the gatekeeper. EPA has just adopted a final rule describing its process for selecting chemicals for designation as a high or a low priority for a risk evaluation.  Only those designated as High-Priority will receive detailed scrutiny; a decision on whether or not they present an unreasonable risk to health or the environment under the conditions of use; and risk management requirements (where a finding of unreasonable risk is made). Read More ›

EPA’s Risk Evaluation Framework Rule Incorporates Key Industry Suggestions

Under the 2016 TSCA amendments, risk evaluation is the critical step toward EPA banning or restricting chemicals, or else determining that they will not be regulated. As required by those amendments, EPA has promulgated a final rule governing the risk evaluation process for the foreseeable future.  This important development means that stakeholders have a better idea of how they can impact EPA’s review of chemicals important to them. Read More ›

TCFD Report Will Shape Future Expectations for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

On June 29, 2017, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD or Task Force) released its Final Report providing recommendations on voluntary climate-related financial disclosures.  The recommendations, developed by an industry-led task force of both users and preparers of disclosures, are intended to support the production of more consistent and clear financial disclosure of climate-related risks across sectors for use by investors, lenders, and insurers.  Most G20 countries have existing legal frameworks that require the disclosure of material risks in financial reports.  Beyond legal mandates, investors are increasingly focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in evaluating potential investments and future business risk.  While the Task Force’s recommendations are voluntary and independent of the environmental sustainability disclosure standards currently under review in the U.S. by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ( see Beveridge & Diamond alert on the SEC concept release), the recommendations will impact the approach many publicly traded companies take to data collection and climate risk reporting over the long-term. Read More ›

D.C. Circuit Invalidates Part of the RCRA Definition of “Solid Waste,” Altering the Regulatory Framework for Recycling of Hazardous Secondary Materials

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit” or the “Court”) issued a decision invalidating two key elements of the regulatory definition of solid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), as amended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or the “Agency”) in 2015, and rejecting efforts to impose additional conditions on existing exclusions in the hazardous waste program.  See American Petroleum Institute v. EPA , 2017 WL 2883867, No. 09-1038 (D.C. Cir.); 80 Fed. Reg. 1694 (January 13, 2015) (EPA’s “Final Rule” revising the definition of solid waste). The definition is a cornerstone of the RCRA hazardous waste regulatory program, inasmuch as it specifies when recyclable materials may be classified as solid wastes and thus potentially hazardous wastes subject to the hazardous waste regulatory program promulgated by EPA under RCRA Subtitle C.  The Court decision upends a significant part of the RCRA regulatory scheme, has broader implications for the hazardous waste program and beyond, and creates implementation issues at the federal and state level that will likely take years to sort out.  Don Patterson of Beveridge & Diamond (“B&D”) presented oral argument on behalf of the National Mining Association and other Industry Intervenors in opposition to Environmental Petitioners’ challenge, and Eric Klein, another B&D principal, joined Don on the Industry Intervenors’ brief.    Read More ›

EPA Revises All Appropriate Inquiry Rule

EPA recently published notice in the Federal Register of its intent to amend its All Appropriate Inquiry (“AAI”) Rule by including a reference to the revised ASTM Standard E2247-16 – “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property.” The proposed amendment updates the existing AAI Rule, which currently references an earlier, 2008 version of the E2247 Standard. The AAI Rule, as amended, reflects that parties can meet the AAI requirement – one of the necessary components to qualify for CERCLA’s Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (“BFPP”) defense --  by conducting an environmental investigation in accordance with the regulatory requirements for AAI contained in 40 CFR Part 312, the ASTM Standard E1527-13 (Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments), or the revised ASTM Standard E2247-16.  Read More ›

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