A REVERSED REVERSAL OF NEPA RULES

Last week, through the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) publication of a final rule at the close of phase one of a two-phase rulemaking process, the Biden administration began its efforts to reverse the prior administration’s reworking of the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Originally signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess environmental, social, and economic impacts of any activities those agencies are seeking to undertake. The list of such actions is broad, but …

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What’s Required Under the SEC’s Proposed Climate-Related Disclosure Act

On Monday, March 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a new rule aimed at requiring public companies to disclose extensive climate-related data to not only the federal government, but also their shareholders. More specifically, the proposed rule, entitled The Enhancements and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors, would amend the SEC’s rules under the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The proposed rule aims to provide investors a better understanding of the risks that climate change poses to companies.

Chair …

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New Legislation Poised to Bolster Growing Electric Vehicle Network

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, electric vehicles (EVs) are not going anywhere.

While currently expected to account for only 5.4% of all new car sales in the U.S. in 2022, some analysts project this percentage will jump to almost 30% by 2030. Recent federal legislation aims to address this ever-expanding demand for a larger, more reliable EV network. On November 15, 2021, Congress enacted, and President Biden signed into law, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

While the $1.2 trillion IJJA certainly offers …

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House Takes Steps to Require EPA Regulation of PFAs

On July 21, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the PFAS Action Act of 2021 (Act) that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to regulate two per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances. PFAS are commonly known as “forever chemicals” due to their ability to persist in the environment, including drinking water supply systems, the human body, and in animal populations as well. The use of PFAS chemicals has been widespread throughout the world as a result of their resistance to …

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New Jersey: The Nation’s Newest Ambassador of Clean Energy

New Jersey may be most (ashamedly) well-known for its Snooki legacy courtesy of MTV’s Jersey Shore, but Gov. Phil Murphy intends to re-brand the Garden State as an ambassador of clean, green, and renewable energy. Earlier this month, ceremoniously (and rather ironically) from the infamous Seaside Heights Boardwalk, the Governor approved four renewable energy focused bills aimed to collectively bolster New Jersey’s clean energy agenda, setting the stage for New Jersey to become 50% reliable on clean energy sources by 2030, and 100% reliable …

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A Second Bite at the PFAS: House of Representatives Passes PFAS Action Act of 2021; Similar to Act Passed in 2020

Recently, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill—the PFAS Action Act of 2021—that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin regulating perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

The legislation would require the EPA to establish a national drinking water standard within two years for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroactanesulfonic acid (PFOS)—the two most scrutinized PFAS chemicals. Currently, the EPA has a voluntary guidance level of 70 parts per trillion for both PFOA and PFOS combined.

The bill requires …

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Congress Expected to Pass Environmental Justice for All Act

On Thursday, March 18, 2021, Congressional members who drafted the Environmental Justice for All Act (EJAA) reintroduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, co-chair and co-founder of the Senate’s first environmental justice caucus, is co-sponsoring a parallel bill moving through the Senate.

Similar to environmental justice legislation recently passed on the state level in New Jersey (covered by ELM here), the EJAA is a part of a larger effort to prioritize environmental justice in federal policy. Although …

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Hawaii’s Ban on Oxybenzone and Octinoxate-Containing Sunscreen Takes Effect

Hawaii’s sunscreen ban has officially taken effect. In May 2018, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to ban the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. The law went into effect on January 1, 2021, with the goal of preserving Hawaii’s marine ecosystems.

According to the language of the bill, Hawaii’s legislature found that oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals found in many sunscreens, “have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii’s marine environment and residing ecosystems, including coral reefs that protect Hawaii’s shorelines.” Studies …

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Florida Senator Proposes Statewide Cooling Tower Regulation to Protect Citizens From Health Hazards Caused By Legionella

On Dec. 9, 2019, Florida State Senator Joe Gruters introduced Florida Senate Bill 1190 for consideration in the 2020 legislative session that began on Jan. 13, 2020. The legislative intent of this bill is to “protect people from the health hazards of Legionella, a waterborne bacterium that is known to originate in improperly sanitized cooling towers.”

Legionella causes Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia that is contracted when susceptible individuals inhale water droplets or mist containing elevated levels of thebacteria. Even for those persons exposed …

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Three Steps Forward, Three Steps Back- California Moves Forward With Legislation to Adopt Overturned Federal Regulations

In a move that seems tailor-made to create additional litigation, California legislators are considering legislation that would automatically adopt any federal environmental regulations that are weakened or eliminated by the federal government.

“SB 1 ensures clean air, clean water, endangered species, and worker safety standards that have been in place for as long as 50 years are not rolled back as a result of the anti-environment actions of the president and Congress,” Toni Atkins, Senate president pro tem, said in a statement accompanying the legislation.…

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