As we reported at the beginning of the year, President Biden has been making environmental justice one of his priorities since long before he took office. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently took a step to add some teeth to the Biden Administration’s commitment to increase environmental enforcement in communities disproportionally impacted by

This week we are pleased to have a guest post from Emilee Mooney Scott, a member of Robinson+Cole’s Environment, Energy + Telecommunications practice group.  Emilee focuses her practice on environmental transactional and compliance matters, with a particular focus on the management of hazardous and toxic substances.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has long provided EPA with authority to review new chemical substances in a gatekeeper role as such substances enter U.S. commerce. Through amendments in 2016, EPA was also given the authority to evaluate selected existing chemical substances using a three-step framework (explained in further detail here). There are a few dozen substances in the pipeline now, with the first ten substances almost at the end of a long process that will culminate in substance-specific rules. Around the fifth anniversary of the TSCA amendments later this year, the first round of risk management rules should be proposed. These risk management rules could have significant impacts on manufacturers that use the substances in question, and will provide insight on EPA’s approach to such rules going forward.
Continue Reading Chemical “Risk Management Rules” on the Horizon for 2021

As we previously reported, EPA published a PFAS Action Plan in 2019 designed to enhance and improve data gathering, regulatory development, enforcement, and communication related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). EPA continues to make progress implementing the PFAS Action Plan and is working on a more formal framework for addressing PFAS under the

This week we are pleased to have a guest post from Robert S. Melvin, a member of Robinson+Cole’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group. Attorney Melvin has over 20 years of experience counseling clients on environmental, health, and safety compliance, sustainability, emergency response efforts, site remediation, and development projects. A wide range of clients benefit from his services, including aerospace and other manufacturers, stone and aggregate producers, metal finishers, municipalities, educational institutions, and water and wastewater utilities.

In these days of working from home and managing countless other demands on our time, we offer this post to help you decide whether to add the latest Clean Water Act (CWA) cases and rules to your must-see legal watch list. Since its 1972 inception, the Clean Water Act has prohibited any unpermitted “discharge,” defined as “any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source.” For more than four decades, agencies and courts have struggled with this CWA liability trigger in various circumstances, as well as the CWA’s vague definition of “navigable waters” as “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).
Continue Reading Binge-Watching the Clean Water Act Cases and Rules

Welcome to 2020! As always, we at the Manufacturing Law Blog are starting the year with our annual forecasts of hot topics. We start the series with our Environmental, Health & Safety outlook.

PFAS

We highlighted per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, as a hot topic in last year’s 2019 outlook post, saying, “If you

Earlier this year, we wrote about EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, the agency’s blueprint for addressing contamination and protecting public health from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The PFAS Action Plan, released in February 2019, details a number of actions EPA plans to take with regard to PFAS, including time frames for implementation. EPA has

Earlier this year, we wrote about EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, the agency’s blueprint for addressing contamination and protecting public health from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The PFAS Action Plan, released in February 2019, details a number of actions EPA plans to take with regard to PFAS, including time frames for implementation. EPA has

On October 9, 2019, President Trump issued two executive orders regarding agency guidance – one focused on the development of new guidance and the other on the appropriate use of guidance in enforcement actions. And EPA is not wasting any time taking action. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a memorandum on October 21, 2019 announcing

Over the summer, EPA published a policy document to enhance cooperation between it and the many state agencies that enforce federal environmental programs. The document formalizes a long-standing priority of this administration to, as we previously reported, “rebalance the power between Washington and the states to create tangible environmental results for the American people.”

On Valentine’s Day, EPA showed a little love for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), announcing a sweeping plan to address PFAS contamination and protect public health. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been gaining a lot of attention, as described in our 2019 outlook. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the