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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Showing 21 posts by K. Russell LaMotte.

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 ›

USDA Accepting Public Comments on “Clean Meat” Labeling Petition

On February 8, 2018, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) filed a petition with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting that the Agency establish a food labeling requirement that the term “beef” only be used to refer to products that “come from cattle that have been born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner.”  If USDA takes the requested action, manufacturers of new “clean meat” products would be prevented from labeling their products as “beef” or “meat.”  Industry stakeholders and other interested members of the public may submit comments on USCA’s petition until April 23, 2018. Read More ›

TCFD Report Will Shape Future Expectations for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

On June 29, 2017, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD or Task Force) released its Final Report providing recommendations on voluntary climate-related financial disclosures.  The recommendations, developed by an industry-led task force of both users and preparers of disclosures, are intended to support the production of more consistent and clear financial disclosure of climate-related risks across sectors for use by investors, lenders, and insurers.  Most G20 countries have existing legal frameworks that require the disclosure of material risks in financial reports.  Beyond legal mandates, investors are increasingly focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in evaluating potential investments and future business risk.  While the Task Force’s recommendations are voluntary and independent of the environmental sustainability disclosure standards currently under review in the U.S. by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (see Beveridge & Diamond alert on the SEC concept release), the recommendations will impact the approach many publicly traded companies take to data collection and climate risk reporting over the long-term. Read More ›

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 ›