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U.S. cities begin leveraging infrastructure coordinators, Texas tax appraisers have been put on notice, China’s property market is projected to worsen throughout 2022, and more.

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Section 80201 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, Public Law 117-58, reinstates the long-expired federal excise taxes that are imposed on specified chemical substances used in common industrial applications pursuant to Sections 4661 and 4671 of the Internal Revenue Code. The effective date of this reinstatement is July 1, 2022, and these taxes expire on December 31, 2031. The Act “decoupled” these reinstated chemical taxes from the now-expired Superfund petroleum excise tax that also funded the Superfund Hazardous Substance Response Trust Fund, which was created when Superfund (formally known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA) was enacted in 1980. The Secretary of the Treasury was directed to publish an initial list of taxable chemicals by January 1, 2022, and this initial list was set forth in IRS Notice 2021-66. The list contains not only the 50 taxable chemical substances listed in Section 4672 (a)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code but also the 101 taxable chemicals listed in this Notice. In addition, Section 80201 of the Act also modified the existing tax rates by raising them.

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Businesses renovate office spaces at a historic pace, China plans to build a 3D-printed hydropower dam without human workers, the U.S. infrastructure package has thousands of projects underway, and more.

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Well-maintained yellow gas pipes parallel on side of buildingClean hydrogen has the potential to play a significant role in the energy transition by serving as a carbon-free form of energy storage and heat production. In real estate, hydrogen could provide heating, replace or supplement natural gas in many applications, or store excess rooftop solar power. The United Kingdom, United States and Japan are all homes to pilot projects attempting to scale out hydrogen for use in communities.

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GettyImages-1184943787-300x189Over the last several years, the proptech movement has become entrenched in the lexicon of the real estate industry as developers use the term as a catch-all term for using technology in the construction of new commercial buildings and begin planning for Smart Cities. The various technologies incorporate wireless sensors, broadband service and other cloud-based applications to reduce energy costs, improve transportation and enhance security.

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smart-city-1295548330-300x200From our homes to our workplaces, the deployment of smart technology is becoming increasingly prevalent. The Wall Street Journal notes that smart-building-related companies raised $2.88 billion in venture capital in 2021. In previous posts, we’ve discussed the increased use of smart technology in commercial real estate, the importance of a thorough and rigorous research and evaluation process, and various factors to consider in contracts for smart technology. These evaluation and contract processes are vital for developing security guardrails to which smart technology suppliers must adhere. A rigorous, security-centric approach to smart home technology can help protect real estate companies from catastrophic PR and financial fallout from a security incident such as the Mirai malware attack in 2016 that targeted insecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The average cost of data breach incidents increases with each year and, in 2021, the average cost of a data breach incident was $4.24 million. More than ever, companies must not only be aware of the cybersecurity risks of these technologies but take the necessary steps to address their vulnerabilities.

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The supply of homes for sale is on the uptick, the White House releases a plan to improve the permitting process for infrastructure projects, cryptocurrency opens the door to a new class of property owners, and more.

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Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are changing how we think about asset ownership in the real world and in the digital world. NFTs—unique digital tokens stored on a blockchain ledger that represent ownership of an asset, either real or virtual—have gained significant popularity in realms such as art, gaming and entertainment, as a means to establish authenticity and transfer various rights. As a result, entrepreneurs are searching for new industries to disrupt utilizing the advantages offered by NFTs and blockchain more generally. The traditional real estate industry, together with virtual land in the evolving Metaverse, has been on the radar of many.

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Construction payment apps are on the rise, the European Union proposes to block Russians from buying European real estate, warehouse vacancy rates hit a 27-year low, and more.

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Pillsbury’s Anne Idsal Austin moderated a Federal Bar Association (Houston Chapter) panel discussion with Erin Chancellor, Director of Legal Services at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and Sam Gammage, General Counsel of the Texas Chemical Council (TCC), on Monday, April 18. The panelists brought to bear their regulatory, legislative, and legal expertise to discuss EPA’s increased emphasis on environmental justice (EJ) and Title VI, the TCEQ’s proposed compliance history rule, and the upcoming Sunset Review of the TCEQ

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