The Manufacturing Law Blog provides timely commentary on issues of importance to manufacturers and distributors.  Contributors from the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP are corporate compliance and litigation attorney, Jeff White; environmental, health and safety attorney, Pam Elkow;  and labor and employment attorney, Nicole Bernabo.

It’s summer, and it’s easy to get behind on reading, email, etc.  So, a posting with an “In Case You Missed it” theme – a short list of recent announcements, changes and proposed changes from EPA that are likely to impact manufacturers, mostly for the good:

 On July 31, 2013, EPA finalized the rule exempting solvent-contaminated wipes from hazardous waste regulation.  The rule exempts only wipes that are contaminated solely with solvents. 

  • Reusable wipes that cleaned and reused will no longer be “solid waste.”
  • Disposable wipes will no longer be “hazardous waste.” 
  • EPA put together a summary chart of the requirements.
  • This is only good news. 

 EPA has proposed a rule modernizing Clean Water Act reporting processes, converting to an electronic reporting system.

  • This is good for the regulated community, in that it should become cheaper and easier to make necessarily filings. 
  • However, this also means that all sorts of information is quickly and easily available to the public. In general, I’m a fan of transparency – companies that are complying with the law get the benefit of people seeing that, and it levels the playing field by making it clear which companies aren’t. 
  • Comments are due October 28, 2013. 
  • EPA will be offering several webinars on the subject.  Here’s a link to stay informed and learn more.

EPA has added more chemicals to the “Safer Chemical Ingredients” list, bringing the total number of chemicals to 602.

  • These chemicals meet the criteria of the “Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program. 
  • EPA: “The Safer Chemical Ingredients List, which now contains 602 chemicals, serves as a resource for manufacturers interested in making safer products; health and environmental advocates seeking to encourage the use of safer chemicals; and consumers seeking information on the ingredients in safer chemical products.”
  • Useful for manufacturers that include chemicals in their final products.

Gina McCarthy made her first speech as  Administrator last week, at Harvard.   The theme of the speech was that the choice between the environment and the economy is a false choice. 

“Today, the truth we need to embrace is that cutting carbon pollution will spark business innovation, will grow jobs, and will strengthen the economy. … As more businesses embrace the “opportunity” of climate change, I see additional public and private sector investment being leveraged to support infrastructure and clean energy – and these investments will, in turn, fuel the complementary goals of turning America into a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.”    

You can watch it here.  Read the full text here