On July 21, 2017, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) proposed amendments to the regulations implementing Prop 65 – the California law that requires business to provide a “clear and reasonable warning” to consumers on products that contain any chemicals listed by California as causing cancer or reproductive harm. According to OEHHA, these amendments are intended to clarify a previous round of amendments that were finalized in August 2016 that will become effective on August 30, 2018, discussed here .
On July 14, 2017, three environmental groups (Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club, and Earth Justice) petitioned the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for a full review of its May decision that the EPA properly withheld testing data in response to a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request. The petition for rehearing en banc asks that the full Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reconsider the environmental groups’ arguments as opposed to the three judge panel that originally heard the case.
Law360 announced Sue Charles, Russell Eggert and Trent Cornell have joined Troutman Sanders’ Environmental and Litigation Practices in its Chicago, IL office. The 3-person team was formerly with Lathrop & Gage. Charles and Eggert handle environmental risk in corporate mergers and acquisitions while Cornell represents trustees and retiree groups in large bankruptcy claims. These additions will strengthen the already deep Environmental and Natural Resources and Litigation practices as well as grow the firm’s Chicago presence. For the full article, visit Law360.com.”
California’s Supreme Court recently upheld the State’s greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade auction program. In a June 28, 2017 order, the Court denied petitions to review a lower court’s ruling that affirmed the program’s legality. Filed by a coalition of industry groups, including the California Chamber, the petitions had alleged that the cap-and-trade program constitutes an illegal tax under Proposition 13 because the law authorizing it, AB 32, was not passed by a two-thirds vote.
The DC Circuit issued a decision on July 3, 2017, vacating the 90-day stay of the Oil & Gas Industry NSPS rules – the first rules to regulate methane from that sector. In a June 5 Federal Register notice, the new Trump EPA stayed the rules pending reconsideration under Section 307(d) of the Clean Air Act. Environmental Groups filed an emergency challenge to the stay, asking for either a stay of that decision or summary vacatur of it. Issuing its decision less than a month later, the court vacated EPA’s stay of the rules.
Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (“Fourth Circuit” or “the court”) vacated a federal district court’s order requiring EPA to account for the economic impacts of Clean Air Act (“CAA”) regulations. This decision stems from a suit filed by coal companies claiming that EPA had failed to perform a non-discretionary duty by completing continuous evaluations of job losses and plant closures resulting from CAA implementation or enforcement as required under Section 321 of the CAA. In a strongly worded opinion, the district court ordered EPA to come into compliance with the requirements of Section 321 by July 2017, an order that EPA subsequently appealed to the Fourth Circuit.
An Act that was recently passed by the General Assembly has limited the damages private parties can recover against agricultural or forestry operations in civil actions for nuisance claims.
A recent case decided by the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that an entity involved only in post-closure activities at a site may still be considered an “operator” for purposes of 15A NCAC 13A .0109(h), making the entity subject to closure and post-closure standards for hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.
As part of his regulatory reform agenda, President Donald Trump instructed federal agencies to review their regulations to identify requirements that burden businesses and industry. See EO 13771 and EO 13777. In order to comply with these directives, on June 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requested public comments to identify statutes, rules, regulations, and interpretations in policy statements or guidance “that unjustifiably delay or prevent completion of surface, maritime, and aviation transportation infrastructure projects.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued a memorandum rolling out a new policy prohibiting settlement payments to third parties. The policy, which is effective immediately, prohibits DOJ attorneys from entering into settlement agreements that include payments to non-governmental organizations or third-party organizations that were not parties to the dispute. The memorandum aims to ensure that settlement funds are used to compensate victims, redress harm, or punish and deter unlawful conduct.