On April 26, 2018, a North Carolina jury awarded 10 neighbors $51 million in the first North Carolina hog farming case to be heard before U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt. Almost a week later on May 9, 2018, Judge Britt reduced the jury’s award of $23 million in punitive damages to nearly $3 million in punitive damages because of a North Carolina state law that limits punitive damages to $250,000-per-plaintiff. This was the first case tried of 26 lawsuits brought by 500 neighbors complaining about hog operations in eastern North Carolina against Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer.
On June 27, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) submitted its final Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals rule (“Pharm Rule”) to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), which is charged with reviewing every final and proposed federal agency rule before its publication in the Federal Register. EPA published its proposed Pharm Rule in the Federal Register on September 25, 2015, nearly three years ago, but the final rule then stalled. According to EPA’s Spring 2018 Unified Agenda, EPA anticipates publishing the final Pharm Rule in October 2018. Sending the rule to OMB yesterday signals that EPA may well issue the final rule in October.
On January 3, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the User Fees for the Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest System and Amendments to Manifest Regulations Final Rule (“User Fee Rule” or “Rule”) in the Federal Register (83 Federal Register 420). While the User Fee Rule does not set e-Manifest user fees, it gives EPA authority to establish user fees and establishes the methodology for EPA to do so. The Rule becomes effective June 30, 2018.
On November 9, 2017, on the heels of New Jersey’s move to set a maximum contaminant level for certain perfluoroalkyl substances, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) to the list of chemicals known to the state of California to cause reproductive toxicity (also known as the Prop 65 list).
On November 1, 2017, New Jersey officials announced that they would set Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for public drinking water systems for PFOA and PFNA, making the Garden State the first in the nation to do so.
On October 25, 2017, EPA Region 6 announced a settlement with Macy’s department stores for alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations. In the press release, EPA alleged that Macy’s generated thousands of pounds of hazardous waste between 2012 – 2015 and qualified as a small-quantity generator but failed to notify EPA and state authorities. EPA also alleged that Macy’s failed to meet the regulatory requirements for small-quantity generators and did not complete appropriate manifests. As part of the settlement, the company is required to pay a $375,000 civil penalty and, as a supplemental environmental project, develop an internal training and audit program. This settlement demonstrates that EPA Region 6 continues to pursue enforcement actions initiated under the former Administration using evidence from data mining of manifests and records related to hazardous waste generators, big and small. With this EPA action, the current Administration appears to be willing to continue its focus on retail hazardous waste enforcement. Troutman Sanders has extensive experience advising clients on retail hazardous waste management and enforcement. Please contact Greg Blount or Angela Levin for further information.
You are invited to
A Webinar: The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Final Rule
Friday, November 18, 2016 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
The final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule is Here!
Are you a hazardous waste generator? How will the EPA’s updates to the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule affect your business? Could your company be at risk for noncompliance?
On October 28, 2016, the EPA signed the final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. This Rule has been long in the making and addresses various issues applicable to all hazardous waste generators, regardless of the amount of hazardous waste generated or industry sector. Other changes significantly alter requirements applicable to Large Quantity Generators and Small Quantity Generators.
Yesterday, October 31, 2016, U.S. EPA posted the pre-publication version of its final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (“Final Generator Rule”). The Final Generator Rule was signed by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on October 28, 2016. This rule has been long in the making and addresses various issues applicable to all hazardous waste generators, regardless of the amount of hazardous waste generated or industry sector. Other changes significantly alter requirements applicable to Large Quantity Generators and Small Quantity Generators.
Yesterday, U.S. EPA announced a new Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) retail strategy. This strategy has been long-awaited, given that it has been well over two years since the retail industry commented on EPA’s February 14, 2014 Notice of Data Availability for the Retail Sector (20 Fed. Reg. 8926). After last year’s release of the proposed Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule and Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals rule, the industry was unclear whether and to what degree EPA would turn back to a potential sector-specific rulemaking. Yesterday’s release of EPA’s retail strategy, however, confirms that EPA intends to use policy, guidance and rulemaking to fashion a remedy. Continue Reading U.S. EPA Announces Its Retail Strategy
According to the Healthcare Environmental Resource Center, “EPA will not be publishing a rule finalizing the Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule in October of 2016 along with the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements final rule and previously projected.”
Pharmacy retailers have anxiously awaited the final Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals rule (80 Fed. Reg. 50,014), after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) published the proposed rule on September 25, 2015 in the Federal Register, but it appears the wait will continue. Pharmacy retailers have hoped that the final rule would, among other things, provide a means of avoiding Large Quantity Generator (LQG) status and the onerous requirements, which are ill-suited for retailers. However, based on discussions with U.S. EPA sources, we now understand that the Pharmaceuticals rule is not likely to be finalized before the change in presidential administration. Given the change in administration, and depending on the election results, we may not see a final Pharmaceuticals rule for years. Continue Reading U.S. EPA’s Pharmaceuticals Rule to be Kicked to Next Administration