On January 9, 2018, EPA released the pre-publication copy of its annual civil monetary penalty adjustment. The final rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on January 10, 2018. The adjustments are mandated by 2015 revisions to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act, which requires federal agencies to make annual inflation adjustments to federal statutory civil penalty amounts. In the past, EPA only adjusted penalty levels for inflation once every several years. Beginning in 2017, however, EPA and other federal agencies must adjust their penalty amounts every year. Continue Reading EPA Publishes Updated Civil Penalty Amounts
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.
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.”
On Friday, February 24, 2017, President Trump signed another Executive Order (EO) aimed at identifying and eliminating federal regulations that burden businesses. Entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” the EO states that “[i]t is the policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.” Continue Reading Trump Signs Another Executive Order Aimed at Deregulation
As part of its implementation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, Public Law 114-182E reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”), EPA recently published two proposed rules, including a proposed rule that would govern the process for active/inactive designations and a proposed rule that would establish the procedure for prioritizing chemicals for risk evaluation. Notably, although EPA has released a pre-publication of a third rule – proposing the process for performing a risk evaluation – that proposal appears to have been caught up in the Administration transition and has not yet been published in the Federal Register.
During the campaign, President Trump promised to remove two regulations for every new one enacted. On Monday, January 30, 2017, he made good on that promise by signing an Executive Order (EO) requiring agencies to identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed for every one newly promulgated regulation. The EO also requires the total incremental costs of all new regulations finalized in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 to be offset by eliminating costs associated with repealed regulations.
On January 12, 2017, EPA published a final rule adjusting for inflation the civil monetary penalty amounts for the statutes it administers. This most recent adjustment follows on the heels of a major adjustment finalized in July 2016. These adjustments are mandated by 2015 revisions to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. The new law required agencies to make initial “catch-up” adjustments by July 2016, followed by annual inflation adjustments beginning January 15, 2017. In the past, EPA only adjusted penalty levels for inflation once every several years.
A number of states, industry groups, companies and environmental groups have filed petitions for review with the D.C. Circuit challenging EPA’s final Cross State Air Pollution Update Rule. The petitions assert that EPA exceeded its statutory authority and that the rule is arbitrary and capricious.
On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, EPA issued a final rule that overhauls its Risk Management Plan (RMP) facility accident prevention program. A 2013 executive order issued by the Obama Administration following a chemical release at a Texas fertilizer facility required EPA to promulgate the rule.
In a December 19, 2016 Order, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals delayed oral argument in the Ozone NAAQS litigation. Originally scheduled for February 16, 2017, oral argument is now scheduled for April 19, 2017. The court did not explain its reason for the delay, but some have speculated it may be to allow the new administration time to decide whether it intends to revisit the ozone standard, in which case the litigation could ultimately become moot. On the other hand, the delay may simply reflect an internal court scheduling issue. The court’s Order can be accessed here.