A large construction excavator removes contaminated soil from an urban brownfield development site.

Leading with Lead: EPA to Implement Strategy for Lead in 2024

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency kicked off the New Year by strengthening its guidance for investigating and cleaning up lead-contaminated soil at residential properties, especially in areas where children live and play. Toward this end, the EPA lowered the recommended screening levels for lead in residential soil, from 400 parts per million to 200 ppm, for the first time in 30 years. 

While screening levels are not cleanup standard, this change is expected to assist the EPA in making site-specific cleanup decisions, which may include …

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Money roll and judges hammer on wooden table

Environmental and Transportation Regulation Violators Should Expect to Pay More in Civil Penalties in 2024

Both the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency finished 2023 by issuing new rules that increase the maximum civil penalties for violating certain regulations. For the EPA, those regulations include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and Toxic Substances Control Act. For the DOT, the maximum civil penalty increases affect regulations contained within, among others, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Hazardous Materials Regulations, and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

For a little background as to why this is happening, …

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EPA Offices, Washington DC

EPA Proposes New Rules on Lead and Copper

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced proposed rules that would strengthen its regulation of lead and copper. These new regulations, if approved, would require water systems across the country to replace lead service lines within the next 10 years. They would also lower the allowable amount of lead in drinking water from 15 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion and require that lead service lines across the country be replaced within 10 years.  

Sampling protocols would improve throughout the country, too. The …

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Flag of California Republic in San Francisco

California not just dreamin’ about expanding Prop. 65 product-notice requirements

If a company makes, distributes, or sells consumer products—including food products—containing chemicals that might turn the leaves brown, proposed amendments to California’s Proposition 65 may saddle it with additional warning-notice requirements. Affected companies should respond not only by preparing to update their relevant product warnings, but also submitting comments on the state’s rulemaking while they still can.

Proposition 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning of possible exposure to the 900+ chemicals California has determined to cause …

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downtown manhattan orange sky

NYC Proposes New Indoor Air Quality Regs to Combat Orange Dystopia

In the fall of 2020, when New Yorkers saw photos and videos of orange skies over San Francisco caused by the Bay Area’s infamous fog, combined with heavy smoke from what seemed like non-stop wildfires raging throughout California, it looked like a dystopian movie landscape, or even another planet. Even more surreal, Californians in these vivid images were often wearing masks — not necessarily as protection against the smoky skies, but, rather, as protection from a global pandemic. With time, however, the memory of those …

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EPA Announces Proposed Perchloroethylene Regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed regulation of perchloroethylene (PCE) under the Toxic Substances Control Act to protect public health.  

PCE, also known as perc and tetrachloroethylene, “is used for the production of fluorinated compounds; as a solvent for dry cleaning and vapor degreasing; in catalyst regeneration in petrochemical manufacturing; and in a variety of commercial and consumer applications such as adhesives, paints and coatings, aerosol degreasers, brake cleaners, aerosol lubricants, sealants, stone polish, stainless steel polish, and wipe cleaners.” …

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Man showing compost

PFAS ALERT: The Arrival of Increased Regulation in Composting

By Joshua Fine, Manager, Environmental Claims, Crum & Forster and George Buermann, Partner, Goldberg Segalla LLP

Composting has long been viewed as an important tool for sustainability with benefits for the environment as it has reduced the amount of waste incinerated or sent to landfills. Since the 1920s, municipal biosolids, or treated sewage sludge, has been used in agriculture in the United States. Only since 1993, however, has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided standards for the use or disposal of biosolids, or treated sewage sludge, through …

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Flag of the US State of New Jersey

New Jersey Governor Announces Nation’s First Environmental Justice Regulations

On April 17, the first day of Earth Week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the final adoption of regulations to implement the state’s Environmental Justice Law. According to the Office of the Governor, the Environmental Justice Law and corresponding regulation is the “first in the nation aimed at reducing pollution in historically overburdened communities and communities of color that have been subjected to a disproportionately high number of environmental and public health issues.”

As previously reported by ELM here, Gov. Murphy signed the …

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Solar and wind energy farm

Everything Clean is New Again

The pendulum of policy on the environment was sent pounding back toward regulation again when the Biden administration issued new directives for greenhouse gas emissions.

The Interim Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change (“Interim Guidance”) seeks to:

  • Clarify best practices for assessing greenhouse gases under the National Environmental Policy Act;
  • Fast-track evaluation of renewable energy projects, and;
  • Recommend reduction of harmful greenhouse gases by federal agencies. (One of the ways it does this is by requiring federal interaction and engagement with
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The SEC Warns Registrants – ESG is No Longer a Slogan on the Gym Wall

If ESG were merely a slogan on the proverbial gym wall, companies are about to be held accountable for their public promises of climate change and sustainability focused ambitions.  Last month the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed significant rule changes to the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and SEC Act of 1934.  If enacted, the proposed amendment, formally known as The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors, will require the full disclosure of climate change risks, by domestic and foreign registrants alike, …

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