Heap of rechargeable batteries of differentes sizes, NiMH rechargeable.

US EPA’s Proposed New Rule: An Assault on Batteries?

On June 5, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed limits on the use of N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), a solvent found in products such as arts and crafts supplies and paint remover. Manufacturers also use NMP during the production of semiconductors and lithium-ion batteries. Studies link NMP to a range of negative health effects, including miscarriages, reduced male fertility, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and immune and nervous systems.

The US EPA’s proposed rule bans the commercial use of NMP in automotive care products, cleaning and …

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AI – Environmental Friend or Foe?

Recently, there’s been much discussion about the potential benefits that artificial intelligence can bring to climate change regulation. 

For example, advanced technology, such as satellite data, is being used to identify large emission events — (see ELM’s recent methane rule finalization coverage here and ELM’s previous AI coverage here). AI also is being used to monitor rising sea levels along the United States’ coastlines — (see ELM’s previous sea level coverage here). 

Less consideration, however, has been given to the potential adverse impacts …

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Ecological catastrophy

ITLOS Issues Historic Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and International Law

On May 21, 2024, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) published what has been deemed as an “historic” and “unprecedented” advisory opinion on climate change, international law, and on state obligations regarding climate change. Sought by the international organization called the Commission of Small Island States (COSIS), the historic nature of this opinion comes from the fact that this is the first time an international tribunal has issued an opinion clarifying the international law obligations on states binding them to protect …

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Backhoe working in road construction site, with mountains and sky background.

Anticipating Significant Slowdowns in Public Projects, Twenty States Sue to Block Regulatory Changes to National Environmental Policy Act

As part of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (the latest debt ceiling bill), Congress made the most significant revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) since its enactment in 1970. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has since made further changes to NEPA regulations, and those latest changes have been met with a legal challenge from 20 States’ Attorneys General.

The principal argument of the states is that since its enactment, courts have uniformly held that NEPA is a purely procedural statute, requiring agencies “to …

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Water faucet

EPA Enforcement Alert: It’s Critical for Community Water Systems to Review Cybersecurity Protections

The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week issued an enforcement alert, explaining cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities to community drinking water systems (CWSs) and actions needed by these systems in order to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

The alert is part of a government-wide effort – led by the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – to reduce the nation’s infrastructure and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. EPA issued the alert because threats to, and attacks on, the nation’s water system …

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Hand with a spatula renovating the paint.

Don’t you know that you’re toxic? EPA spears most uses of controversial solvent.

In late April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a ban on most uses of methylene chloride, a toxic solvent used for paint stripping and linked to over 85 deaths in the last 45 years. The ban forbids all consumer use of the substance, as well as most industrial and commercial uses. TheEPA did not completely ban all uses — it did allow some exemptions for the military, in addition to makers of climate-friendly coolants and electric-vehicle components.

Users often employ methylene chloride to refinish bathtubs …

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Smoke emerging from chimneys

Greenhouse Gas Regulation Heats Up as EPA Finalizes Rule for Reducing & Reporting Methane Emissions

After much anticipation, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule this week aimed at cutting methane emissions as well as strengthening and updating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reporting for the oil and gas industries.

Methane is a “super pollutant” that is many times more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane also contributes to approximately one third of the global warming from GHGs today, and the oil and natural gas sector is the largest industrial source of methane emissions in the United States.  Toward that end, …

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Aerial/Drone view of a wind farm with multiple wind turbines at sunrise

New NEPA Rule Eases Permitting Process while Advancing Environmental Justice

On the final day of April 2024, a week and a half after Earth Day, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized a rule intended to simplify and modernize the federal environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A pillar of environmental law passed in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a wide array of agency activities, such as land management, infrastructure construction, and permitting decisions. This …

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business report on digital tablet

With Mounting Litigation from Multiple Courts, SEC Stays its New Climate Disclosure Rules

Last month, our readers will recall that we reported on some pushback raised regarding the new climate disclosure rules promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requiring publicly traded registrants to provide certain climate-related information in future registration documents and annual reports (the “Final Rules”).

As SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a press release announcing the new disclosure rules, the Final Rules were meant to “reflect the Commission’s efforts to respond to investors’ demand for more consistent, comparable, and reliable information …

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Thick smoke rising from chimneys

Attorneys General from 23 States Petition to End EPA’s Use of Disparate Impact In Regulating Pollution

Attorneys General from 23 states have filed a petition for rulemaking with the Environmental Protection Agency demanding the agency stop using Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when regulating pollution. The petition, the main signatory of which is Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, comes on the heels of a decision in Louisiana v. EPA, No. 2:23-cv-692, 2024 WL 250798 (W.D. La. Jan. 23, 2024), where the EPA was enjoined from enforcing any Title VI based requirements on the state based on …

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