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 June 11, 2018, the Supreme Court summarily affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in United States v. Washington through a 4-4 split, with Justice Kennedy taking no part in the decision due to his involvement in similar cases during his time as a circuit judge on the Ninth Circuit. The immediate effect of the high court’s decision will be to require the State of Washington to replace or modify, at the State’s expense, several hundred culverts placed in streams under roads and bridges throughout the State. In the longer run, however, the decision could have much more far-reaching impacts related to federal and state obligations to protect against habitat degradation of salmon and other aquatic species pursuant to their obligations under several Nineteenth Century treaties reached with Native American Tribes in the Pacific Northwest.
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
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 .
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.”
ATLANTA – April 3, 2017 – Troutman Sanders LLP announced today the addition of a team of nationally recognized lawyers specializing in oil and gas pipeline legal issues. Bob Hogfoss, Catherine Little and Annie Cook have joined the firm as partners. They previously practiced at Hunton & Williams LLP.
In a Wall Street op-ed piece yesterday, House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy announced that the House intends to pass resolutions next week under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to kill two prominent Obama Administration environmental initiatives, the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule (which applies to coal mining) and EPA’s methane performance standards for oil and gas facilities. Under the CRA, Congress can void agency regulations upon a bare majority vote of each chamber. Sixty votes are therefore not needed in the Senate to kill a regulation. Once a CRA resolution is signed by the President, the agency is prevented from adopting a substantially similar regulation. Continue Reading House Republicans Intend to Repeal Major Environmental Regulations Using Congressional Review Act
On January 24, President Donald J. Trump signed presidential memoranda jumpstarting the stalled Keystone XL (“Keystone”) and Dakota Access (“Dakota”) pipelines. President Obama previously rejected TransCanda Corp’s application for a permit to cross the United States-Canadian border, finding at the time that the 1,700-mile pipeline was not in the national interest. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) similarly decided last month that it would not issue an easement allowing the Dakota pipeline to cross federal land in North Dakota, opting instead to consider alternative routes to reduce environmental and cultural impacts to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Continue Reading President Trump Issues Presidential Memoranda Backing Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines
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.
Recently, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) in California finalized revisions 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.