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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Commercial Organics Ban Takes Effect in Massachusetts

The Commercial Organics Ban, which took effect on October 1, 2014, is the latest effort by MassDEP to achieve the state’s solid waste management goal of reducing waste disposal by 30% by 2020.  MassDEP estimates that organics – i.e., food waste, compostable paper, and other organics – make up 25% of the state’s solid waste stream.  With the implementation of the organics ban, MassDEP hopes to divert at least 35% of food waste from disposal by 2020. Read More ›

MassDEP Rolls Out Third-Party Inspection Program Beginning January 1, 2015

MassDEP’s 2014 reforms to the solid waste regulations include new requirements for third-party inspections of solid waste facilities. These changes reflect an effort by MassDEP to privatize the inspection and policing function, shift costs to the private sector to reduce MassDEP costs, standardize inspection frequencies, adopt performance standards, and require consistent reporting. These new requirements take effect on January 1, 2015.  Read More ›

Continuing Efforts to Ban Single-Use Plastic Carrier Bags in Massachusetts and Beyond

Over the last several years, a number of municipalities across the nation have passed ordinances imposing bans, fees, and/or taxes on single-use plastic carrier bags distributed by retailers. In the most recent 188th legislative session, Massachusetts legislators sought, and failed, to pass the first statewide ban on plastic bags. That legislation was instead passed by California and signed into law on September 30, 2014. Given California’s recent passage of a statewide ban, and the increasing concern of legislators and environmental groups over potential environmental impacts from the use of plastic bags, it is highly likely that Massachusetts legislators will reintroduce the same or similarly-worded legislation in the next session. Read More ›

MassDEP Explores Suitability of Soil for Use in Reclamation of Quarries, Sand Pits, and Gravel Pits

As part of the fiscal year 2015 budget, MassDEP has been charged by the legislature to determine what soils should be used as fill material for reclamation of quarries, sand pits and gravel pits by June 30, 2015.  The legislature requires that MassDEP, through regulation, standards or procedures, ensure that the reuse of soil pose no significant risk to human health, safety, public welfare, and the environment taking into account transportation, placing of the material, and future use of the reclaimed land.  Several communities in Massachusetts have grappled with quarry reclamation issues.  Most recently, West Roxbury has been evaluating the appropriate level of local control over the import of soil and/or other fill materials to reclaim a 350-foot deep quarry.  Read More ›

Massachusetts Town Prohibits Use, Import and Transportation of Moderately Contaminated Soils

Cleanup of contaminated sites just became a lot more difficult in the Town of Dartmouth.  In April 2014, the Dartmouth Board of Health enacted a regulation prohibiting anyone from importing or using certain moderately contaminated soils in the town or transporting such soil through the town.  This regulation has the potential to affect remediation of contaminated properties within Dartmouth and use of major roads such as I-195 to transport soils through Dartmouth, if it survives judicial scrutiny.  The Dartmouth Board of Health has issued at least one Order to Cease and Desist prohibiting transport of such soils from a property located in Dartmouth being remediated under state cleanup law.  Read More ›

More Waste Ban Inspectors = More Violations and Enforcement Actions

The addition of waste ban inspectors by MassDEP in October 2013 has dramatically increased the number of waste ban violations issued by MassDEP.  In the first nine months of 2013 prior to bulking up the waste ban inspector ranks, MassDEP reported that it issued just 18 waste ban violations.  In the 12 months since adding inspectors, MassDEP reported a staggering 201 enforcement actions resulting from more than 180 waste ban inspections.   MassDEP estimated that one in five inspected loads resulted in some form of follow-up action, either a Notice of Noncompliance or waste ban letter.  While 198 of the 201 enforcement actions were Notices of Noncompliance, three resulted in “higher level enforcements.”  Read More ›

EPA Updates TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan of chemicals for further assessment.[1]  EPA first released the TSCA Work Plan in early 2012 to help focus and direct the activities of its Existing Chemicals Program.[2]  The changes to the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments reflect updated industry data submitted to EPA through the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) in 2011 and the TSCA Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) requirements in 2012, particularly data indicating the presence of many of these chemicals in consumer products.  In its announcement of the update, EPA stated that the 23 chemicals added to the TSCA Work Plan will not be considered for assessment until after 2017. Read More ›

New Report Recommends Sustainability Tools to EPA

At EPA’s request, the National Research Council (NRC), the policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has authored a report that recommends tools and approaches that EPA might use to operationalize its growing focus on sustainability. The report, Sustainability Concepts in Decision-Making: Tools and Approaches for the US Environmental Protection Agency, comes as a follow-up to a 2011 NRC report, Sustainability and the U.S. EPA (aka the Green Book), which proposed a new EPA decision-making framework based on sustainability principles and holistic analysis of environmental, economic, and social factors. The two reports reflect EPA’s increasing interest in shifting from traditional risk analysis and risk management (RA/RM) to analysis that includes sustainability assessment and management (SAM). Read More ›

EPA Reworks Strategy For Regulation of Nanomaterials Under TSCA; Proposed Rule Sent to OMB

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn its long-delayed proposal to regulate nanotechnology under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and submitted a new alternative proposed rule for consideration and regulatory review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The new proposed reporting rule, submitted by EPA on October 6, 2014, replaces plans that had been under review by OMB since 2010.[1] Read More ›

EPA Labeling Requirements for Products Containing or Manufactured with a HCFC Begin January 1, 2015

Effective January 1, 2015, products imported or manufactured after that date that contain or were manufactured with a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) must be labeled before they may be placed into interstate commerce.  These newly effective labeling requirements will largely affect imported products. Read More ›