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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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

CERCLA Update: Court Reverses Divisibility Ruling

Earlier this year, we reported on a case that seemed to breathe new life into the divisibility defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Under CERCLA, a party that causes or contributes to contamination, or even just owns contaminated property, can be held liable for the entire cleanup.  In May 2015, … Continue Reading

Can Air Emissions Lead to CERCLA Liability?

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq. (“CERCLA”) imposes fairly broad liability on potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) to pay for the investigation and remediation of a release of a hazardous substance.  Typically, we think of a “release” as spilling or dumping on land, or discharging to water.  A … Continue Reading

EPA To Propose Overhaul of RCRA Generator Regulations

EPA is poised to publish a proposed rule revising regulations applicable to hazardous waste generators under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq. (RCRA).  The proposed rule, which has not yet been published in the Federal Register, represents a significant overhaul of the RCRA generator regulations.  EPA states that the … Continue Reading

OSHA Updates National Emphasis Program on Amputations

In August 2015, OSHA updated its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Amputations.  Based on a review of data from general industry as well as targeted industries, OSHA determined that workplace amputations were being underreported.  OSHA updated the NEP on Amputations to target all workplaces with machinery or equipment capable of causing amputations. OSHA defines “amputation” … Continue Reading

Does Next Generation Compliance Mean Expanded Enforcement?

EPA is in the process of rolling out Next Generation Compliance, or NextGen, in an effort to make its programs more effective, facilitate compliance, and, ultimately, enhance environmental benefit.  But in many ways, NextGen seems poised to expand enforcement against the regulated community. NextGen consists of five interconnected components: More Effective Regulations and Permits Advanced … Continue Reading

Major Expansion of EPA Rules for Underground Storage Tanks

Thank you to my colleague Brian Freeman for his contributions to this post.  Brian is an attorney in the Environmental & Utilities Practice Group who has significant experience with underground storage tank issues for industrial and petroleum clients. On July 15, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule significantly expanding its … Continue Reading

Disclosing Violations to EPA in a Digital Age

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. Under EPA’s Audit Policy and Small Business Compliance Policy, companies that discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously correct environmental … Continue Reading
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