On June 27, Illinois AG Kwame Raoul led a coalition of 13 Democratic attorneys general nationwide in submitting a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), supporting more stringent regulation of ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions. In their letter, the coalition urged the EPA to adopt proposed amendments to EtO standards under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants program (NESHPA), and also offered several recommendations for more regulatory requirements “based on several states’ experiences regulating commercial sterilizers.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes EtO as a human carcinogen. A colorless gas used to sterilize medical equipment and plastics unable to be autoclaved for sterilization, EtO is also used in antifreeze, in the production of polyester and plastic bottles, and in solvents. Currently, many commercial sterilization facilities (and other facilities that use EtO) primarily reside in low-income communities and communities of color and expose this population to disproportional health risks, including cancers like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — a great concern to AGs. Despite existing regulations, these facilities typically fall outside the regulatory framework of the NESHPA.
The letter suggested that in the absence of federal regulation, the states filled regulatory gaps to “rein in EtO emissions from commercial sterilization facilities.” The letter included two specific examples of the AGs plugging the federal regulatory gap in both Illinois and Michigan where the release of EtO into the community allegedly exponentially increased the risk of cancer for local citizens. As such, the AGs encouraged the federal government to fill that gap, and even strengthen the proposed regulations based on the AGs’ experiences.
Why It Matters
The AGs’ letter to the EPA denotes a good example of the growing influence of state AGs in federal regulatory matters based upon their first-responder status — a trend occurring across industries and disciplines. As AGs take a more prominent role in shaping the national regulatory framework in an exceedingly complex economic and regulatory environment, multijurisdictional companies must pay attention to local regulatory developments and trends to anticipate future state and federal enforcement obligations and be prepared to meet them.
Troutman Pepper State Attorneys General Team
|Ashley Taylor – Co-leader and Firm Vice Chair
Ashley is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. He focuses primarily on federal and state government regulatory and enforcement matters involving state attorneys general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Drawing upon his experience as a deputy attorney general, Ashley has developed an extensive consumer practice with regard to the consumer financial services industry.
|Clay Friedman – Co-leader
Clay is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. Informed by nearly a decade in a state attorneys general office, and more than 25 years in private practice, Clay spends much of his time representing clients in singular or multistate regulatory actions. Clay has repeatedly led teams before all 50 state attorneys general and also handles matters with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other local, state and federal agencies.
Judy is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy and Enforcement (RISE) practice, based in the Richmond office. She brings experience serving as chair and commissioner of the Virginia State Corporate Commission (VSCC) from 2006 through 2022, which includes regulating the utilities, insurance, banking, and securities industries. She also served as Virginia’s attorney general from 2005-2006.
Stephen represents clients interacting with, and being investigated by, state attorneys general and other enforcement bodies, including the CFPB and FTC, as well as clients involved with litigation, particularly in heavily regulated industries.
A former deputy attorney general of New York, Avi applies his experience in bet-the-company matters, representing clients in criminal and civil investigations and enforcement actions before state and federal regulators, prosecutors and enforcement agencies.
Michael handles high-profile state attorneys general, FTC, and CFPB investigations by advising clients through these complex government inquiries. He assists clients through the entire life cycle of investigations, from regulatory enforcement through formal litigation.
As a former government official at the state and federal level, Ketan leverages extensive experience in the public and private sectors to skillfully represent client interests.
Tim is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, with a primary focus on financial services litigation.
Chris represents clients in regulatory, civil and criminal investigations and litigation. In his practice, Chris regularly employs his prior regulatory experience to benefit clients who are interacting with and being investigated by state attorneys general.
Natalia is an associate in the firm’s business litigation practice. She recently received her J.D from the University of California, Davis School of Law.
Namrata is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, based in the Washington, D.C. office. Her work includes advising clients in regulatory investigations and compliance matters, in addition to representing clients in civil litigation matters.
Susan is an associate in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Practice Group, and focuses her practice on consumer financial services matters. She has defended several of the nation’s largest and most influential financial institutions in individual and class action litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and other consumer privacy statutes. Susan also represents banks, fintechs, and financial services companies in connection with regulatory examinations and investigations brought by the CFPB, state attorneys general, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
John represents clients in a wide variety of general and complex litigation matters, shareholder disputes, products liability, and privacy claims.
Whitney is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group. She represents clients facing state and federal regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, as well as related civil litigation.
Trey is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement practice. His experience includes serving as a summer associate at the firm in 2021.
An experienced litigator, Daniel advises and represents regional, national and international companies, financial institutions and insurers in all facets of business, complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation. He is committed to working with his clients to find creative solutions to meet their needs.
Stephanie is Troutman Pepper’s senior government relations manager in the state attorneys general department.