Recently, two Federal policies have been released that could have a significant effect upon environmental remediation and the emergency response procedures and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The recent train derailment in Palestine, Ohio, may bring them into sharper focus. The regulated community may find it useful to take notice of these directives.
Articles Posted in Environmental
“Groundbreaking” SEC Complaint Accuses Oil Major of Greenwashing Its Investment Reporting
In a “groundbreaking” complaint, environmental NGO Global Witness asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Climate and ESG Task Force to investigate oil major Shell for possible violations of federal securities laws. The complaint, filed this February, alleges Shell misled its investors by including some of its gas-related spending in its “Renewables and Energy Solutions” (RES) reporting segment. Global Witness claims that, while Shell reports spending 12% of its annual expenditures on RES ($2.4 billion), removing expenditures related to integrated power, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage reduces that percentage to only 1.5% ($288 million).
A Court-Side Seat: Hog Catching, “Hard Looks” and Hardship Exemptions
If “Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” It’s been a quiet term thus far for the Supreme Court, due in part to the hearing of oral arguments in many contentious cases. Below is a brief summary of some of the recent significant matters decided by the Federal Courts.
A Court-Side Seat: An End-of-Year Environmental Update
As 2022 draws to a close, here is a brief description of recent environmental and regulatory law rulings, as well as new federal rulemaking proceedings.
A Court-Side Seat: Recent Legal Developments at Supreme and Federal Appeals Courts
This is a review of initial Supreme Court and Federal Appeals Courts oral arguments and other matters in October 2022.
Proposed Rule to Designate Two PFAS Chemicals as Hazardous Substances Stands to Up the Ante for Site Remediation
On Friday, August 26, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a pre-publication notice of a long-awaited proposed rule to designate two of the most-studied per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)—as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). In an accompanying statement, EPA indicated that the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register within the next few weeks. That publication will commence a 60-day public comment period, and EPA appears to be targeting final rule promulgation by Summer 2023. The addition of PFOA and PFOS to the hazardous substances list may significantly expand CERCLA liability, thus increasing the number of responsible parties, expanding investigatory costs and duration, remediation, and where applicable, natural resource damages liability.
Click here to read the full client alert from Pillsbury’s Reza Zarghamee, Amanda Halter, Mark Plumer, and Ashleigh Myers
Real Estate & Construction News Round-Up (09/07/22) – Futuristic Cities, Shifting Housing Demand, and Rent Control
This week’s round-up addresses the shift in housing demand, efforts of apartment complexes to become more eco-friendly, plans for “cities of the future,” and more.
The Administrative Procedure Act and the Evolution of Environmental Law
Enacted in 1946, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) has provided a lasting framework for federal agency rulemaking and adjudication, as well as establishing the power of the federal courts to exercise judicial review over these actions of the federal bureaucracy. The APA is codified at 5 U.S.C. §§ 551–559, and §§ 701-706. There have been very few amendments made to the APA over these years, which indicates that Congress is reasonably satisfied with its administration and implementation.
A Potential Crypto Mining Moratorium in New York
In “New York Legislature Passes Moratorium on Crypto Mining Operations” on our Internet & Social Media Law blog, Brian H. Montgomery discusses recently passed cryptocurrency mining legislation and its potential signing by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Superfund Chemical Taxes Reinstated
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.