Jenner & Block

Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog

April 21, 2016 More Than 150 Countries to Sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day

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Earth Day Jenner Block Logo

By Allison Torrence

The United Nations has announced that up to 155 countries, including the United States, are planning to sign the Paris Climate Agreement at the Ceremony for Opening Signature, on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. The ceremony will take place at UN headquarters in New York. With over 150 world leaders set to sign the Paris Climate Agreement, the signing is expected to be the largest single signing of an international agreement in world history.

For more information about the signing ceremony and the Paris Climate Agreement, visit the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

April 18, 2016 Earth Day 2016 Special Series: April 18–22, 2016

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By Steven M. Siros

In celebration of Earth Day 2016, the Corporate Environmental Lawyer blog will host a special campaign April 18-22 featuring unique news and stories about Earth Day events and activities taking place around the world, in addition to important developments in environmental law. As environmental lawyers, this is a good day for us to remember the contributions our clients and friends make to improving the environment in the communities where we live and work.

The theme for Earth Day 2016 is Trees for Earth.  In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, planting trees is the first of five major goals that will highlighted in each of the next five years.   The Earth Day Network challenges the world to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020. 

You are invited to follow and participate in our Earth Day special series next week at http://environblog.jenner.com/ and follow us on Twitter @JennerBlockEHS.

If you have any questions about our Corporate Environmental Lawyer blog or this special series, please feel free to contact me at ssiros@jenner.com or 312-923-2717.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Greenhouse Gas, Hazmat, Sustainability, Water

PEOPLE: Steven M. Siros

April 8, 2016 EPA Limits TCE Use in Consumer Goods

GraysonBy E. Lynn Grayson

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EPA recently took action under the Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) to ensure no TCE containing consumer products enter the marketplace before the Agency has the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and take appropriate action. The new rule issued April 6, 2016, known as a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), requires any company intending to make certain TCE containing consumer products provide EPA 90-day notice before making the product.

The final rule applies to TCE manufactured (including import) or processed for use in any consumer product, except for use in cleaners and solvent degreasers, film cleaners, hoof polishes, lubricants, mirror edge sealants, and pepper spray. A consumer product is defined at 40 CFR 721.3 as “a chemical substance that is directly, or as part of a mixture, sold or made available to consumers for their use in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, in or around a school, or in recreation.”

EPA’s June 2014 Work Plan Chemical Risk Assessment for TCE identified health risks associated with several TCE uses, including the arts and craft spray fixative use, aerosol and vapor degreasing, and as a spotting agent in dry cleaning facilities. In 2015, EPA worked with the only U.S. manufacturer of the TCE spray fixative product, PLZ Aeroscience Corporation of Addison, Illinois, resulting in an agreement to stop production of the TCE containing product and to reformulate the product with an alternate chemical.

It is important to note that this regulatory action may affect certain entities with pre-existing import certifications and export notifications required under TSCA.

 The rule becomes effective 60 days from its publication in the Federal Register.

CATEGORIES: Cercla, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Hazmat, RCRA, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, TSCA

March 11, 2016 Lynn Grayson and Allison Torrence Presenting At CBA Seminar On Environmental Law

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Siros photoBy Steven M. Siros

On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, Jenner & Block partners E. Lynn Grayson and Allison Torrence will be speaking at a Chicago Bar Association CLE Seminar titled "Major Cases and Regulatory Changes in Environmental Law." Lynn Grayson will be presenting on proposed RCRA generator and pharmaceutical rules, and Allison Torrence, who is Chair of the CBA Environmental Law Committee, will be presenting on the U.S. v. Volkswagen Clean Air Act litigation.

The seminar is on Wednesday March 16, 2014 from 3–5 pm at the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court. A networking reception will be held at the CBA immediately following the seminar, from 5–6 pm.

For more information and to register for the seminar click here.

CATEGORIES: Air, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Greenhouse Gas, Hazmat, RCRA, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence, Steven M. Siros

March 10, 2016 Update: Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System

Grayson photoBy E. Lynn Grayson

As required by the Hazardous Waste Electronic Establishment Act (Act), EPA’s efforts are ongoing to develop an e-manifest system. EPA issued its final rule in February 2014 (79 Fed. Reg. 7518, February 7, 2014) seeking to implement the Act’s requirement to create a national electronic manifest system and impose user fees as a means to fund its development and operation. Most recently, EPA has developed an e-manifest listserv to manage communications with the regulated community.

According to EPA, the listserv will: 1) provide stakeholders with program announcements and updates; and 2) facilitate e-manifest conversations among users and other stakeholders. There will be significant progress on the e-manifest program throughout 2016-2017, so participation in the listserv will be a good way to stay informed.

Interested parties may subscribe to EPA’s listserv at https://www3.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/transportation/manifest/e-man.htm.

EPA conducted a webinar on developments with the e-manifest system in December 2015, and the presentation provides a good overview of the program and related schedule.

Along with the hazardous waste management changes for generators recently proposed by EPA, the e-manifest system will be another significant new development for thousands of companies regulated by RCRA and subject to hazardous waste manifest requirements.

CATEGORIES: Consumer Law and Environment, Hazmat, RCRA, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, TSCA, Water

February 18, 2016 Court Orders New EPA Spill Prevention Rules

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By E. Lynn Grayson

EPA has agreed to initiate rulemaking to better address industrial waste spills as part of a settlement with a coalition of environmental groups. The Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform (EJHA), People Concerned About Chemical Safety (PCACS), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), sued EPA last July alleging that the Agency had failed to prevent hazardous substance spills from industrial facilities, including above ground storage tanks. See Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., case number 1:15-cv-05705, in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York.

CATEGORIES: Cercla, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Hazmat, RCRA, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, TSCA

February 17, 2016 Jenner & Block Webinar: The Top Environmental, Health and Safety Issues for 2016 - What You Need to Know

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By Allison A. Torrence

On Tuesday, February 23rd, from 12:00– 1:15 pm CT, Jenner & Block Partners Lynn Grayson and Steven Siros will present a CLE webinar on The Top Environmental, Health and Safety Issues for 2016 - What You Need to Know.  The webinar will provide an overview of key environmental, health and safety issues in 2016 including the following topics:

  • Issues relating to the Corps’ jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act;
  • Fallout under the Safe Drinking Water Act after Flint;
  • U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulations, UNFCCC COP 21, and the potential regulation of aircraft GHG emissions;
  • Status of TSCA reform efforts;
  • Litigation relating to GMOs under FIFRA;
  • RCRA waste regulation amendments;
  • OSHA penalty updates;
  • U.S. EPA challenges;
  • Water scarcity and sustainability; and
  • Technological innovation and its impact on environmental practitioners.

To register for this free Webinar click here.

 

CATEGORIES: Air, Cercla, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, FIFRA, Greenhouse Gas, Hazmat, OSHA, RCRA, Real Estate and Environment, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, TSCA, Water

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence, Steven M. Siros

January 11, 2016 It’s Official! No More Microbeads!

Grayson photoBy E. Lynn Grayson

President Obama recently signed The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, phasing out the use of microbeads in health and beauty products. This legislation moved swiftly through Congress and was passed by the House and Senate in December 2015 and signed by President Obama on December 28, 2015.

The new law requires the manufacturing of products containing microbeads to end by July 1, 2017 and the sale of them to cease by July 1, 2018. This legislation was supported by various health and beauty products trade and industry groups, many of whose members already had voluntarily committed to replacing microbeads with viable alternatives. The new law amends the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in general banning cosmetics that contain synthetic plastic microbeads.

Microbeads have been the focus of growing environmental and health-related concerns since the very small particles are washed down the drain into waterways, lakes, streams, and rivers. Since the plastic beads do not break down, they are eaten by fish and animals, who often die because these materials cannot be digested.

As discussed a number of times in this blog, microbeads have been the subject of growing regulatory scrutiny. A number of states, as well as Canada, have passed laws working to ban the use, manufacture, and sale of microbeads over time.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 is another example of consumer driven changes in products to safeguard and improve the environment.

CATEGORIES: Consumer Law and Environment, Sustainability, Water

December 29, 2015 U.S. EPA Releases 2015 Enforcement Statistics

Siros_Steven_COLORBy Steven M. Siros

The United States Environmental Protection Agency ("U.S. EPA") recently announced its 2015 enforcement statistics, noting that for fiscal year 2015, U.S. EPA initiated enforcement actions resulted in $404 million in penalties and fines.  In addition, companies were required to invest more than $7 billion to control pollution and remediate contaminated sites; convictions for environmental crimes resulted in 129 years of combined incarceration for convicted defendants; and there was a total of $39 million committed to environmental mitigation projects that benefited communities throughout the United States. 

The largest single penalty was the result of a Clean Air Act settlement with two automobile manufacturers that resulted in a $100 million penalty, forfeiture of emissions credits and more than $50 million being invested in pollution control and abatement measures.  U.S. EPA's 2015 enforcement numbers were up from 2014 ($100 million in fines and penalties collected in 2014).  

Please click here to go to U.S. EPA's 2015 enforcement statistics website.

 

 

CATEGORIES: Air, Cercla, Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, FIFRA, Greenhouse Gas, Hazmat, OSHA, RCRA, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, TSCA, Water

PEOPLE: Steven M. Siros

November 27, 2015 2-Week Blog Series on Climate Change for COP21 Climate Talks in Paris

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By Allison A. Torrence

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, will be held in Paris, from November 30th to December 11th. It will be the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.  

President Obama will be in attendance for the initial few days of the talks and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and others will continue negotiations after the President leaves.

The advanced agenda for the talks is available here

In recognition of the Paris Climate talks, The Corporate Environmental Lawyer blog will feature a series of blogs over the next two weeks focused on climate change and developments from the negotiations. Please follow our blog to learn more about these issues and developments.

CATEGORIES: Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Greenhouse Gas, Sustainability

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

November 23, 2015 Help Yourself To Some Thanksgiving Turkey With A Side Of Renewable Energy

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By Allison A. Torrence

Here is some food for thought as we get ready to gobble down some turkey this Thanksgiving: A new $25 million plant under construction in North Carolina will convert turkey waste into energy. Prestage AgEnergy will use 55,000 tons of turkey litter a year to produce the equivalent of 95 million kilowatt hours of electricity and feed that renewable electricity back to the grid.

North Carolina has a lot of turkey waste on hand – it ranks second in the nation behind Minnesota in turkey production. In light of its prolific turkey farming, in 2007, the state passed an energy policy mandate that requires utilities to use a small amount of poultry waste-generated power. This will not be the first turkey-waste energy plant – Minnesota currently has a 55-megawat power plant designed to burn poultry waste as its primary fuel. However, the new North Carolina plant will reportedly be the first facility designed to run on 100-percent turkey waste.

Local reporting on the Prestage AgEnergy plant can be found here and here.

CATEGORIES: Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, RCRA, Real Estate and Environment, Sustainability

PEOPLE: Allison A. Torrence

November 11, 2015 Lynn Grayson and Steven Siros Publish Article on U.S. Legal and Regulatory Developments in Nanotechnology

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 By Allison A. Torrence

 

Lynn Grayson and Steven Siros have published an article in the most recent issue of DRI’s Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Newsletter titled Nanotechnology: U.S. Legal and Regulatory Developments. In the article, Ms. Grayson and Mr. Siros discuss how nanotechnology affects every sector of the U.S. economy and impacts our lives in a myriad of ways through the 1,600 nanotechnology-based consumer goods and products we use on a daily basis. The article provides an overview of how nanotechnology is defined, insights on the regulatory framework and recent developments, possible concerns about nanomaterial use, and risk management considerations for U.S. businesses utilizing nanotechnology.

The full article is available here.

CATEGORIES: Air, Consumer Law and Environment, FIFRA, Hazmat, OSHA, RCRA, Sustainability, Toxic Tort, TSCA, Water

PEOPLE: Steven M. Siros

October 27, 2015 IARC’s Classification of Red Meat and Processed Meats as Carcinogenic Exposes Food Manufacturers, Distributers, and Retailers to Proposition 65 Liability

Alexander Bandza Photo By Alexander J. Bandza

The Internet was buzzing yesterday with news that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified red meat as a Group 2A carcinogen (“probably carcinogenic to humans”) and processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen (“carcinogenic to humans”).  In general, IARC evaluates the environmental causes of cancer in humans, including chemicals (e.g., formaldehyde), complex mixtures (e.g., air pollution), physical agents (e.g., solar radiation), biological agents (e.g., hepatitis B virus), and personal habits (e.g., tobacco smoking).  IARC has long played a role as a source of scientific information that carries weight in federal and state regulation of potentially harmful substances and toxic tort lawsuits involving such substances.

CATEGORIES: Consumer Law and Environment, Sustainability, Toxic Tort

PEOPLE: Alexander J. Bandza

October 21, 2015 California Bans Microbeads

Grayson photoBy E. Lynn Grayson

California is the ninth state to ban microbeads with passage of an aggressive new law prohibiting the tiny plastics beads by 2020. As the largest state to ban microbeads, this new California legislation appears to make it a virtual certainty that microbeads will be phased out across the country and possibly even through federal legislation.

Unlike bans enacted in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, A.B. 888 provides no exemptions for biodegradable plastic or a process to win approval for such an exemption. Both Michigan and Washington also are considering microbead bans.

Many personal care product manufacturers already have agreed to phase out the use of microbeads in their products over the next few years. Industry representatives agree there are alternatives and other options to replace the sector’s reliance upon microbeads. A new study concludes that 8 trillion bits of plastic enter oceans and lakes from the U.S. every day. The study also provides further support for the ban on microbeads to improve marine, environmental and public health.

CATEGORIES: Climate Change, Consumer Law and Environment, Sustainability, Water

September 29, 2015 Continuing Efforts to Ban Microbeads

Grayson photoBy E. Lynn Grayson

The District of Columbia (D.C.)  is the latest to propose a ban on microbeads starting January 1, 2018. The proposed ban, part of D.C.’s omnibus fisheries and wildlife bill aimed at ensuring marine areas and waterways remain pollutant-free, is one of the more aggressive approaches prohibiting the supply, manufacture, or import of personal care products containing microbeads. Fines up to $37,500 may be imposed for failure to comply with the ban.

Eight states, including Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, as well as Erie County, New York, have laws banning the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads starting as early as January 1, 2017.

CATEGORIES: Consumer Law and Environment, Sustainability, Water