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Showing 64 posts in Chemicals.

EPA Delays Effective Date of RMP Rule Amendments, Environmental Groups File Challenge

On June 14, 2017, EPA published a final rule in the Federal Register delaying the effective date of its Risk Management Program (RMP) rule amendment package for twenty months, until February 19, 2019.[1] EPA’s decision was immediately challenged by a coalition of environmental groups. 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 ›

MassDEP Issues Draft Fact Sheet Guidance on PFAS, a Class of Emerging Contaminants

On January 26, 2017, MassDEP announced that it had developed and is seeking comment on a Fact Sheet entitled “Guidance on Sampling and Analysis for PFAS at Disposal Sites Regulated under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan.” The Fact Sheet is a primer on the class of contaminants known as PFAS including manufacture, toxicity, the types of sites where it may be found, sampling considerations, and analytical concerns.  The key takeaway from the Fact Sheet is that MassDEP is identifying PFAS as hazardous materials and expects investigation for PFAS at sites where it makes sense to do so and remediation of PFAS where it is found to pose a significant risk to human health or the environment.  MassDEP has requested comments by March 3, 2017. Read More ›

States Consider 51 Bills to Restrict Chemicals in 2017

So far in the 2017 legislative cycle, 16 state legislatures are considering 51 bills seeking to restrict or otherwise regulate chemicals, just 8 months after sweeping changes to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) were signed into law on June 22, 2016. Many of these new state bills follow recurring themes from 2016, while others signal new trends.  The attached  chart provides details regarding active state bills in the 2017 legislative cycle. Read More ›

Fourth Circuit: CWA Permit Shield Requires Compliance with Incorporated Quality Standards

A recent Fourth Circuit decision will have wastewater dischargers taking a closer look at their NPDES permits and state water quality standards. The court of appeals held, in Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Fola Coal Co., No. 16-1024, that permit language incorporating state water quality standards required compliance with all such standards, including narrative standards not reflected in the permit’s effluent limits.  As a consequence, a source can only be assured that it is shielded from liability under the CWA if its discharges comply with both (a) effluent limits in the NPDES permit and (b) any water quality standards—even narrative standards—that the permit incorporates.  The decision raises questions about potential exposure and how to approach permit writers in the future. Read More ›

EPA Releases Final RMP Amendments, Awaits Response of New Administration

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a final rule updating the Accidental Release Prevention rules at 40 C.F.R. Part 68, which implement the Clean Air Act Section112(r)(7) risk management planning program. A pre-publication copy of the rule can be accessed here. Read More ›

EPA’s Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Pose Challenges for Industry, Particularly Importers

Importers, retailers, and others that sell goods containing plywood or other composite wood products face significant compliance challenges from EPA’s new Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products (the Standards).  The final rule adopting the standards was signed on July 27, 2016 and finally published in the Federal Register on December 12, 2016.[1]  The Standards implement Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  They are based on the formaldehyde emission limits of the Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products (ATCM) of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  The Standards differ from the ATCM in several ways, but compliance with the ATCM will help substantially as companies work to meet their obligations under the Standards.  The key compliance deadline for the Standards is December 12, 2017. Read More ›

A Few States Adopt Chemical Legislation Despite TSCA Reform

State legislatures continue to consider legislation to restrict chemicals even as, at the federal level, the Toxic Substances Control Act has been thoroughly overhauled by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  As previously reported here, over 60 bills to restrict chemicals in various ways were introduced earlier this year.  Now that many state legislative sessions have ended, it’s time to assess the results, presented in the attached chartRead More ›

New TSCA Requirements for Chemical Importers

Companies planning to ship chemical-based products to the United States should have a basic understanding of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA),[1] the key U.S. chemicals law.  That law was substantially amended in June 2016.[2]  While a foreign entity is not subject to TSCA, its products generally cannot enter the U.S. without TSCA compliance by its U.S. trading partner who imports the products.  This article presents an overview of TSCA as amended from the perspective of an importer.  It addresses the scope of TSCA; who must comply; import certification; Inventory requirements; significant new use rules; prioritization, evaluation, and risk management; testing requirements; reporting and recordkeeping requirements; protection of confidential information; new requirements on formaldehyde in composite wood products; and enforcement and penalties. Read More ›

EPA’s Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Pose Challenges for Industry, Particularly Importers

Importers, retailers, and others that sell goods containing plywood or other composite wood products face significant compliance challenges from EPA’s new Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products (the Standards). The final rule adopting the standards was signed on July 27, 2016. The Standards implement Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act. They are based on the formaldehyde emission limits of the Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products (ATCM) of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The Standards differ from the ATCM in several ways. But compliance with the ATCM will help substantially as companies work to meet their obligations under the Standards. Read More ›