Environmental Law Portal

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Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices focus on environmental and natural resource law, litigation and dispute resolution. We help clients around the world resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their products, facilities, and operations. 

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OSHA Indefinitely Delays Electronic Reporting Requirements

Last week, the Labor Department indefinitely delayed enforcement of at least the first phase-in deadline of its electronic reporting requirements for injury and illness logs. Specifically, OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements website states that:

OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Read More ›

TSCA Nanomaterial Reporting Rule: EPA Delays Effective Date and Releases Draft Guidance for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued its Draft Guidance on EPA’s Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce ( “Draft Guidance”) on May 16, 2017. See 82 Fed. Reg. 22452 (May 16, 2017).  EPA has requested public comment on the Draft Guidance, with public comments due on or before June 15, 2017. Read More ›

San Mateo Gardens Teaches College District a Lesson on Picking Thorny Subsequent Review Procedure

The California Supreme Court recently addressed an important California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) issue: Who decides whether CEQA’s subsequent review provisions are applicable when there are changes to an adopted project? Subsequent review provisions include a subsequent Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or Negative Declaration (ND), a supplemental EIR, or an addendum to an EIR or ND.  When a project that has been reviewed and finalized under CEQA is altered, what type of review process under CEQA is required, if any?  As we said in our last update on Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District et al., (2016) 1 Cal.5th 937 (Friends of the College), the Court determined that the lead agency makes this determination.  The question that the lead agency should be analyzing is whether the original document “retains some informational value” – if it does, then CEQA’s subsequent review procedures apply.  Should the lead agency’s decision be challenged, then the Court must decide whether “substantial evidence” supports the lead agency’s conclusion. Read More ›

Virginia Begins Development of Cap-and-Trade Program for Electric Power Sector

On May 16, 2017, Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Directive 11 (the “Directive”), which directs Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) to develop regulations to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions from the power sector.  Notably, the Directive requires DEQ to develop a program that is “trading-ready,” with market-based mechanisms capable of linking with other jurisdictions. Read More ›

Maryland Takes Key Step for Offshore Wind

On May 11, the Maryland Public Services Commission (PSC) issued $1.9 billion in Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits (ORECs) to two prospective offshore wind developers, effectively ensuring a market for any electricity generated from their federal wind leases off Ocean City, Maryland.  If constructed, the planned projects, capable of generating 248 megawatts (MW) and 120 MW, would dwarf the capacity of the 30-MW capacity Block Island project off the coast of Rhode Island, which is the only current offshore wind facility in the United States.  Maryland’s issuance of ORECs is the first in a long line of necessary state and federal regulatory approvals, but signals Maryland’s commitment to generating energy from offshore wind and is regarded as essential to project planning and finance. Read More ›

PHMSA Increases Penalty Limits for Pipeline Safety Violations

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) revised its regulations to increase the maximum civil penalties for violations of Federal pipeline safety laws, as well as any regulations or orders PHMSA issues thereunder, to adjust for inflation. Read More ›

EPA Retracts CERCLA Remedy Selection Authority from Regional Offices for Remedies that Exceed $50 Million

On May 9, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued two new delegations under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) that limit to the Administrator (and possibly the Deputy Administrator) the authority to select remedies estimated to cost over $50 million. One delegation concerns Superfund sites generally; the other relates to federal facilities. Previously, all remedy selection was delegated to the Assistant Administrator for Office of Land and Emergency Management and the Regional Administrators. The authority to sign Records of Decision estimated to cost less than $50 million remains with those officials. A copy of the revised delegations and accompanying memorandum are available here.   Read More ›

Texas Supreme Court Tosses Untimely Damages Claims, Leaves Open Possibility of Injunctive Relief

Highlighting the importance of proving a factual timeline in a statute of limitations analysis, the Texas Supreme Court held that a cattle ranch owners’ claims related to alleged contamination from long-dormant oil and gas operations were barred by Texas’s statute of limitations. See ExxonMobil v. Lazy R Ranch, LP , No. 15-0270 (Tex. Feb. 24, 2017). However, the court did not reach the issue of whether a plaintiff can obtain injunctive relief, e.g. for remediation, that costs more than the diminution of property value. Read More ›

Fourth Circuit: Plaintiff Cannot Rely on CERCLA Discovery Rule to Save Tort Claims

Declining to apply CERCLA’s discovery rule to preempt a state statute of limitations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a district court decision to dismiss untimely state tort claims stemming from dewatering operations at a Virginia coal mine. See Blankenship v. Consolidation Coal Co., No. 15-02480 (4th Cir. Mar. 9, 2017). Read More ›

New York Lead Paint Suit Barred by Statute of Limitations

Illustrating the limits of New York’s discovery rule, a New York appeals court dismissed claims alleging injuries from lead paint exposure as barred by the statute of limitations. See Vasilatos v. Dzamba, No. 523286 (N.Y. App. Div., Mar. 2, 2017). Read More ›