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Showing 24 posts by Shengzhi Wang.

Top Environmental Authority in China Proposes Amendment to the Solid Waste Law

On July 11, 2018, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (“MEE”) released a draft proposal to amend the country’s solid waste statute.[1]  Among other changes, the draft proposed to restrict solid waste releases from industrial facilities under the pollutant emission permit program, prohibit all solid waste imports into China, require mandatory contracts between waste generators and third-party handlers, and increase penalties for violations. The deadline for submitting comments to MEE is August 18, 2018. Read More ›

California Appeals Court Upholds State’s Reliance On Conclusion By A Foreign Agency To Classify Glyphosate As “Cancer-Causing”

Two courts recently examined California’s regulation of glyphosate, a widely used pesticide ingredient, for its alleged health risks via the state’s Proposition 65 warning program. The decisions are noteworthy for the contrasting approaches that they take with respect to the amount of deference to give to international regulatory actions that are incorporated by reference into U.S. law. Read More ›

EPA’s Formaldehyde Standards: Compliance Date Moved Up to June 1, 2018

June 1, 2018 will be the initial compliance date for most companies in the composite wood product industry that are subject to EPA’s Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products (the Standards).[1]  On April 4, 2018, EPA announced that regulated composite wood panels and finished goods containing such panels must be certified as compliant with either the Standards or the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Phase II standards by June 1, 2018.  This announcement followed an earlier federal district court decision that vacated a September 2017 EPA rulemaking that extended the compliance deadline for most obligations under the Standards to December 12, 2018.[2]  The compliance date in dispute applies to emission limit compliance, recordkeeping, labeling, and sell-through.  Other compliance dates are not affected by the lawsuit and EPA’s April 4 notice. Read More ›

EPA Continues Reforms to NSR and Other Clean Air Act Permitting Programs

On March 13, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released a guidance memorandum[1]  announcing a new policy designed to clarify when a proposed project will trigger New Source Review (“NSR”) under the Clean Air Act.  Under the policy, facilities may now take into account emissions decreases in calculating whether a proposed project will trigger NSR in the first instance.  This key change provides facilities with greater flexibility in assessing whether a pre-construction permit is required for major projects.  In the past, EPA has not allowed such emissions netting during the “Step 1” analysis under the NSR program.  This policy shift marks the latest in a series of reforms to Clean Air Act permitting programs.  Such reforms also include a deferential EPA position on the use of “projected actual” calculations, and the retraction of EPA’s “once-in-always-in” policy for the classification of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under section 112 of the Clean Air Act.  These changes are discussed below, followed by a list of key takeaways. Read More ›

TSCA Reform Implementation and Expected 2018 Developments

Some 20 months have passed since the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA) was signed into law, making wide and significant changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  During that time, EPA has been working to implement the extensive new provisions.  At this point, EPA has issued final rules, proposed rules, and draft and final policy statements; held multiple public meetings; and provided opportunities for comment.  Some of these actions have already been challenged in courts of appeals. Read More ›

Ninth Circuit Orders EPA to Update Standards for Lead-Based Paint and Dust Hazards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must propose an update of its lead-based paint and dust hazard standards by March 27, 2018, according to a court order.  The current standards were promulgated in 2001, and have never been updated since then.  Title IV to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires EPA to keep these standards updated, since they play critical roles in a number of the lead-based paint programs, including lead hazard disclosure in real estate transactions and lead hazard abatement activities. Read More ›

Get Ready for Compliance: Recent Updates on EPA’s Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products

The composite wood product industry may face an earlier compliance deadline under EPA’s Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products (Standards) than the deadline currently set by EPA.[1]  On February 16, 2018, a federal district court vacated a September 2017 EPA rulemaking that extended the compliance deadline for most obligations under the Standards to December 12, 2018.[2]    The compliance date in dispute applies to emission limit compliance, recordkeeping, labeling, and sell-through.  Under the court’s order, the parties in the lawsuit must propose a new compliance timeframe by March 9, 2018, or else the court will set one itself. Read More ›

What’s New with China’s Chemical Import and Export Regulatory Programs

In 2017, China updated its new chemical registration program and toxic chemical import and export control program and introduced a new chemical program – chemical substances subject to prioritized control.[1]  This alert provides an overview of China’s environmental and safety regulations on chemical products in light of these updates.  Read More ›

Property Ownership and Water Supply Sources Matter in PFOA Contamination Lawsuits

Illustrating some limitations on common law claims for groundwater contamination, a federal court in New York partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss in a cluster of sixteen lawsuits alleging perfluoroocatanoic acid (PFOA) contamination in a village’s groundwater.  Benoit v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., No. 16-cv-930, 2017 WL 3316132 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 2, 2017).  The opinion showed how certain intricate issues such as property ownership and source of water supply can alter the outcome of a tort claim even at the pleading stage.  The order was certified for interlocutory appeal to the Second Circuit. Read More ›

PCB Nuisance Suits from Three California Cities Stayed Pending Administrative Decision

Showing how administrative claims can derail coexistent judicial actions, a federal court in California asked three California cities to first exhaust their administrative claims seeking state compensation for the cities’ treatment of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in stormwater discharge before they can sue Monsanto Co. in court for tort damages.  San Jose v. Monsanto Co., No. 5:15-cv-03178 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 4, 2017).  The court will freeze the cities’ tort actions against Monsanto until February 8, 2018, when the state agency will have a chance to hear the cities’ administrative claims. These claims seek state reimbursement for complying with PCB discharge standards that the state made more stringent in 2015 without providing funding assistance. Read More ›