Megan Baroni

Megan Baroni

I am an environmental attorney in Robinson+Cole’s Environmental and Utilities Group. I have worked with manufacturers, both big and small, on environmental compliance, risk management, and litigation matters for my entire career. My full firm bio can be accessed here.

As an environmental lawyer, I never want to be a roadblock to our client’s goals. I strive to understand the business of our manufacturing clients – what do you make and how do you make it? I want to know your objective, and I want to help you get there. Regulatory requirements and potential legal liabilities can sometimes seem daunting, but I help our clients develop an understanding of the requirements and all of the potential options so that we can create practical and cost-effective solutions to accomplish the objective. I work with management as well as the people who make our clients’ products every day, and I enjoy every part of it. It’s a good day for me when I can put on my hard hat and walk the factory floor.

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The Rise of Vapor Intrusion

Thank you to my colleague Jim Ray for his contributions to this post. Jim is a partner in our Environmental & Energy Practice Group. We have all been involved in investigating and remediating sites with soil and groundwater contamination. But another form of contamination has been recently gaining attention—vapor intrusion. Vapor intrusion is the migration … Continue Reading

Superfund Reform May Be a Slow Go

As we previously reported, the current administration set out to make Superfund reform a priority. Shortly after taking over as EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt convened a task force to provide recommendations for restructuring and streamlining the Superfund cleanup process. Over the summer, Administrator Pruitt endorsed 42 recommendations from the task force. The recommendations included, among … Continue Reading

TSCA Implementation Update: EPA Finalizes Framework Rules and Announces Scope For First Risk Evaluations

  Thank you to my colleague, Emilee Mooney Scott, for this post. Emilee is an associate in our Environmental & Utilities Practice Group. TSCA Framework Rules Promulgated As we outlined last year, the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) was recently updated to provide EPA with much broader authority to regulate “existing” chemical substances (i.e., those … Continue Reading

Superfund Changes Afoot

Since taking over as EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt has made it clear that he intends to focus on—and overhaul—the Superfund program. Calling the program “at the center of the Agency’s core mission”, Pruitt has put in place a couple of initiatives in an effort to streamline and improve the Superfund process and cleanups. In addition, … Continue Reading

“Take-Home Toxins” Expand Duty of Care Imposed on Employers

Thank you to my colleague, Diana Neeves, for this post. Diana is an associate in our Environmental & Utilities Practice Group. A federal district court in Pennsylvania recently found that Accuratus Corporation (“Accuratus”), a ceramics manufacturer and supplier, could be liable under New Jersey law for chemical exposure injuries to the girlfriend and roommate of … Continue Reading

Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2016

Every year, OSHA releases a list of the 10 most frequently cited violations, which, for 2016, were accumulated by reviewing the nearly 32,000 workplace inspections conducted by OSHA staff. The list for 2016 looks a whole lot like the list for 2015 and the preceding years. As OSHA notes, “it rarely changes.” The top 10 … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Proceeds Against Monsanto for Manufacture of PCBs

Last year, we told you about a lawsuit brought by three California cities against Monsanto Company, alleging that Monsanto is liable for PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) contamination in San Francisco Bay. The cities—San Jose, Berkeley, and Oakland—sued Monsanto for allegedly creating a public nuisance not by discharging PCBs, but just by manufacturing them. In September 2016, … Continue Reading

What Will 2017 Bring For Manufacturers: Environmental, Health & Safety Edition

This post is the last in our three-part series about what manufacturers can expect in 2017. In my humble opinion, we saved the best for last – Environmental, Health & Safety. Citizen Science With increasing awareness of environmental issues and advancing monitoring technologies comes a rise in citizen science. Citizens—be it a single person or … Continue Reading

EPA Identifies First Ten Chemical Substances For Evaluation Under New TSCA

Thank you to my colleague, Emilee Mooney Scott, for her contributions to this post. Emilee is an associate in our Environmental & Utilities Practice Group. As we outlined earlier this year, the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) was recently updated to provide EPA with much broader authority to regulate “existing” chemical substances (i.e., those that … Continue Reading

OSHA Updates General Industry Personal Fall Protection and Walking-Working Surfaces Standards

Special thanks to my colleague, Diana Neeves, for her contributions to this post.  Diana is an attorney in our Environmental & Utilities Group. At the end of last week, OSHA issued its long-awaited final rule on walking-working surfaces and personal fall protection systems for general industry.  The new rule is intended to update the standards … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs

  Thank you to my colleague, Tavo True-Alcala, for his contributions to this post. Tavo is an analyst in our Environmental & Utilities Group. In October, OSHA released its new Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs, which were issued to incorporate the experience and advances gained since the previous set of recommendations was released … Continue Reading

EPA Turns Up the Heat on Refrigerant Regulation

Special thanks to my colleague, Brian C. Freeman, for this post. Brian is an attorney in our Environmental & Utilities group with a particular focus on air quality. Refrigeration and cooling systems face expanded and tighter regulation under a final rule recently signed by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.  The rule revises and expands EPA’s regulations … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues New Whistleblower Protection Guidance

In September, OSHA issued new guidance for evaluating settlement agreements between complainants and their employers to protect past and future whistleblowing activities. OSHA reviews these settlement agreements to ensure they are fair, reasonable, and entered into knowingly and voluntarily. While OSHA already has extensive whistleblower protections, this guidance provides new guidelines for approving settlement agreements … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Public Nuisance Claims Against Monsanto for Manufacture of PCBs

Last week, a federal court dismissed claims brought by three California cities against Monsanto that were aimed at forcing Monsanto to pay for polychlorinated biphenyl (“PCB”) contamination in San Francisco Bay. The cities—San Jose, Berkeley, and Oakland—each filed lawsuits against Monsanto alleging that Monsanto was liable for PCB pollution in the Bay, not because Monsanto … Continue Reading

I-9:  Ways to Avoid Identity Theft

This week, we thank members of Robinson+Cole’s Immigration Practice Group (Megan Naughton, Josh Mirer, Lauren Sigg, and Jennifer Shanley) for this post: Employers are increasingly being contacted by individuals, their insurance and payroll providers, the IRS and/or police about employees who are possibly involved in identity theft.  If an employee steals a name and matching social security number … Continue Reading

The Chemistry Was Right For TSCA Reform

Thank you to my colleague, Emilee Mooney Scott, for her contributions to this post. Emilee is an associate in our Environmental & Utilities Practice Group. In a rare bipartisan effort, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill significantly reforming the chemical safety provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”) for the first time in its forty-year … Continue Reading

OSHA Enacts Sweeping Silica Rule

  Thank you to my colleague Bob Melvin for his contributions to the post below. Bob is a partner in the Environmental & Utilities Practice Group whose practice focuses on representing manufacturers with enforcement, compliance, and permitting issues. On March 25, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued its final rule cutting in half the … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Reporting and Recordkeeping Rule: One Year Later

OSHA’s updated reporting and recordkeeping rule, found at 29 C.F.R. 1904, went into effect in January 2015. We summarized these new requirements on the blog, which require employers to report severe workplace injuries, including inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, within 24 hours. OSHA implemented these new requirements to help it target enforcement … Continue Reading

How Secure is that Government Order? Recent Case Law Says Not Very

Many manufacturers have found themselves in the position of negotiating an order with an environmental agency over environmental conditions at a site. Oftentimes, these orders are the result of extensive negotiations, and they set the regulated entity on a long and detailed path of investigation and/or remediation. The environmental agency issuing the order often wants … Continue Reading

Environmental, Health & Safety – What to Watch in 2016

To round out our series on industry and legal outlooks for 2016, I have compiled some of the many things for manufacturers to be aware of in the Environmental Health & Safety world for 2016. 1. Expansion of CERCLA Liability The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) is always a concern for manufacturers … Continue Reading

DOJ to Increase and Strengthen Criminal Worker Safety Prosecutions

With the new year comes a new focus on increasing criminal prosecutions against employers for worker safety violations.  In the end of December, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a plan to deter workplace safety violations through more stringent criminal prosecution.  Under the new plan, the DOJ will work … Continue Reading

OSHA Penalties to Increase in 2016

As a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Budget Act), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will increase its maximum civil monetary penalties for the first time since 1990. The Budget Act requires federal agencies, including OSHA, to annually adjust civil monetary penalties based on the Consumer Price Index.  Because OSHA has … Continue Reading
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