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Showing 18 posts by K. Russell LaMotte.

Minamata Convention to Take Effect in August, Restricting the Production and Usage of Mercury Worldwide

On May 17, the European Union and seven EU member states ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, pushing past the 50-state threshold needed for its entry into force. The treaty – the most recent of the global multilateral environmental agreements – will now enter into force (i.e., become legally binding) on August 16, 2017. The United States ratified the Convention (as an executive agreement, without the advice and consent of the Senate) in 2013; in contrast to most of the recent multilateral environmental agreements, therefore, the United States will participate in this agreement as a full party.  Read More ›

Perfluorinated Compound Nominated for Listing in Stockholm POPs Convention

Norway has nominated perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (also known as perfluorohexane sulfonate or PFHxS, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) # 355-46-4) for inclusion in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Convention). This appears to be the only new proposal to list a new substance in the Convention that has been submitted in time for review during the current year. Read More ›

New Developments and Uncertainties for Conflict Minerals Disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) Division of Corporate Finance issued a new statement adding some uncertainty to company obligations and enforcement exposure under the SEC conflict minerals rule ahead of the May 31, 2017 filing deadline.  The statement is one of several moving pieces in an unprecedented wave of activity on conflict minerals in recent weeks.  Companies should review these developments and their approach to meeting legal obligations imposed by the SEC’s implementation of Section 1502 of Dodd Frank, alongside the broader expectations of customers, activists and investors. Read More ›

SEC Conflict Minerals Rule Faces New Scrutiny Ahead of May Filing Deadline

A flurry of activity on conflict minerals in recent weeks has added new uncertainty to the long-simmering debate over the future of U.S. conflict minerals reporting requirements. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced plans to reconsider its 2012 rule implementing Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act and requested public comments on all aspects of the rule.  President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a Presidential memorandum that could waive the SEC conflict minerals rule for up to two years based on national security interests. In what may be a step toward considering new approaches to addressing the responsible sourcing of minerals in the region, the State Department issued a broad request for stakeholder input to inform “recommendations.”  Read More ›

Highest EU Court: REACH SVHC Thresholds Apply at Component – Not Product – Level

In a break from European Commission and prevailing industry interpretations, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held on September 10, 2015 that REACH concentration thresholds for substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that can trigger notification and communication requirements must be calculated at the component level.  For companies that had relied on the European Commission’s more favorable interpretation – calculating concentration thresholds for imported products at the product level – the implications of the court’s decision could be significant, perhaps necessitating an updated supply chain communication and compliance strategy for imports into the EU. Read More ›

D.C. Circuit Reaffirms Previous Conflict Minerals Decision: Disclosure Requirement Violates First Amendment

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reaffirmed its previous decision striking down a narrow portion of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) conflict minerals rule.  See NAM v. SEC, No. 13-5252 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 18, 2015).  The D.C. Circuit again concluded that the rule’s requirement that companies describe their products as “not found to be DRC conflict free” violates the First Amendment, but left intact the rule’s other requirements.  The Court distinguished previous cases involving compelled disclosures from this case, and found that requiring the use of the phrase “not found to be DRC conflict free” does not pass Constitutional muster, nor does it materially advance the government’s interest in reducing conflict in central Africa.  Read More ›

China Proposes “RoHS 2” Framework for Comment

On May 15, 2015, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
(“MIIT”) released a latest Draft for Comments (“May 2015 Draft”) of the “Management
Methods for the Restriction of the Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and
Electronic Products
” (“Methods”) (Draft for Comments in Chinese). The new
Methods is designed to replace the existing regime, promulgated in 2006
and commonly referred to as “China RoHS.” The May 2015 Draft is now open for
public comments until June 17, 2015. It makes several important proposed changes
to the existing China RoHS regulation. Read More ›

Conflict Minerals: D.C. Circuit to Reconsider Conflict Minerals Ruling; Initiatives Proceed in the European Union and China

Recent developments in the U.S., European Union and China underscore the dynamic
nature of evolving supply chain due diligence requirements and expectations for
companies sourcing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold.  The following news alert
highlights activities that may influence companies’ approaches to conflict
minerals in the near term. 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 ›

SEC Directs Issuers to Comply with Parts of the Conflict Minerals Rule

On April 29, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a statement directing issuers to file any reports required under Rule 13p-1 on or before the June 2, 2014 deadline based on those parts of the Conflict Minerals Rule that were upheld by the D.C. Circuit. The statement was issued notwithstanding a Joint Statement issued by two of the five SEC Commissioners urging a complete stay of the Rule pending the final outcome of the litigation and a motion to stay the Rule filed with the SEC by industry parties (National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Business Roundtable). Perhaps most notably, the SEC’s April 29 statement clarifies that issuers are not required to describe any products as “DRC conflict undeterminable,” an issue that was not expressly addressed in the D.C. Circuit’s decision.

The full statement is available here

Read the full alert on our website.