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Showing 24 posts by K. Russell LaMotte.

UN to Kick Off Negotiations to Regulate Access to and Require Benefit-Sharing from Marine Genetic Resources in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

This September in New York, UN member states will begin to negotiate a new, binding international instrument to govern the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.  Illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing and bottom trawling seriously threaten valuable marine biodiversity, particularly around hotspots such as seamounts, deep-water corals, and hydrothermal vents.[1]  The upcoming negotiations of the Intergovernmental Conference will consider how best to regulate and promote the sustainable use of marine biodiversity, potentially including a requirement that some of the benefits of research and development from these resources be shared with developing countries.[2]  

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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 Seeks Comments on Proposed Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

On May 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced its proposed bioengineered food disclosure standard.  Consistent with the federal mandate signed into law on July 29, 2016, the proposed National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) establishes the first-ever nationwide labeling requirements for bioengineered food.  USDA is charged with finalizing its implementing rules by July 29, 2018, and is accepting public comments on its proposal for 60 days. 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 ›

EU’s Highest Court Issues Advisory Opinion Supporting Exemption of Directed Mutagenesis Products From GMO Regulation

In a case with wide-reaching implications for the European Union’s (EU) regulation of products developed using CRISPR/Cas9 and other targeted genome-editing techniques, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) released an advisory opinion by an Advocate General last month suggesting that products developed using new mutagenesis techniques should be exempt from risk assessment and other requirements applicable to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  Subsequent adoption of the Advocate General’s conclusions by the ECJ would mean that products developed using directed nuclease mutagenesis methods such as CRISPR/Cas9, TALEN, and zinc-finger nucleases will not be subject to regulation as GMOs under the EU’s 2001 GMO Directive (2001/18/EC).    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 ›