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, …

Continue Reading

SCOTUS to Decide Whether Congress or the EPA has the Power to Regulate Carbon Emissions – Part II

On the heels of oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, we provide an update to a prior ELM post whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s has the ability to regulate carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. 

Various theories abound that the court could depend on to support its decision, which could have significant reverberating impacts.  Among the possibilities, from the most earth-shattering to the least are: (1) the non-delegation doctrine; (2) the major question doctrine; (3) statutory …

Continue Reading

Vampires Beware: Microplastics in Human Blood

A group of scientists recently unveiled new data from a study that showed plastic in participants’ blood. Out of 22 study participants, 17 contained plastic in their blood; that is 77% of the test group.

Researchers examined blood samples from the healthy participants looking to detect plastics ranging in size between 700 and 500,000 nanometers. For perspective, 700 nm is approximately 140 times smaller than the width of a human strand of hair. The most widely detected plastic found in half of the tested blood …

Continue Reading

The Department of Energy Releases a Groundbreaking Strategy to Protect America’s Clean Energy Supply Chain

Hoping to one day overtake Norway as the world’s largest clean energy producer and to join the small group of countries who have achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. has set some ambitious goals for itself. In fact, the United States has committed to achieving 100% clean electricity production by 2035 and attaining net zero gas emissions by 2050. From where it ranks currently in both these categories, meeting these lofty goals will require not only a sizeable investment in clean energy technologies …

Continue Reading

European Union’s Lilial Ban Puts Social Media Microscope on U.S. Products Containing the Chemical Compound

Lilial, the trade name of a chemical compound commonly used as a perfume in cosmetics, shampoos, and cleaning products, which is known by its longer name butylphenyl methylpropional, has been banned in personal care products in the European Union as of March 1, 2022. And while the ban was announced nearly two years ago, the March 1deadline has garnered significant attention, prompting social media users to call attention products produced in the United States that contain the ingredient.

By way of background, in August 2020, …

Continue Reading

Do Your Plastic Bottles Leach PFAS?

On March 16, 2022, the U.S. EPA Press Office issued a news release about implementing two key actions to prevent exposure from products with PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl).

The first action involves notification about fluorinated bottles; the second calls for the removal of two PFAS from the EPA’s Safer Chemicals Ingredients List. These two actions are consistent with the deadlines set in the “PFAS Strategic Roadmap; the EPA’s Commitment to Action 2021-2024”. The so-called roadmap—issued by the EPA in October 2021—is a relatively short (25 …

Continue Reading

Motion for Class Certification in Hardwick PFAS Litigation Granted in Part, Denied in Part

As previously reported by our blog, Kevin Hardwick, a firefighter and alleged user of PFAS-containing firefighting foams, filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in 2018, asserting claims for negligence, battery, declaratory judgment, and conspiracy—all related to the manufacture and use of PFAS products. What is notable about the suit was that it asked for equitable relief in the form of a panel of scientists to study the effects of PFAS and for medical monitoring of …

Continue Reading

EPA Seeks to Drive Down Heavy Truck Emissions

The last time the EPA tightened standards for truck emissions like this, the century was barely a year old and Bill Clinton was still President; in December of 2000 the EPA issued rules dramatically limiting particulate matter (PM) emissions and Nitric Oxide (NOx) on heavy duty trucks to go into effect for 2007-2010. PM has been shown to cause eye, nose, lung, and throat irritation, as well as exacerbating existing breathing problems. NOx, has similarly been linked to chronically-reduced lung function and increased risk of …

Continue Reading

Crypto: A Virtual Currency with Real-Life Energy Consequences

Although only 16% of Americans have personally invested in or exchanged cryptocurrencies, the ever-increasing use of this virtual currency in the U.S. will have very real ramifications for virtually all Americans. Arguably, the most consequential effect concerns the significant energy consumption required to mine cryptocurrencies, and its potential to act as a hindrance in the battle against climate change, as illustrated by a growing concern among several committees within the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as by an ongoing battle over a crypto-mining moratorium …

Continue Reading

Ranchers, Environmentalists, and Indigenous Communities Lock Arms Against Homegrown Lithium

Thanks to the streaming mega hit Yellowstone, and perhaps Kim and Kanye’s brief stint in Wyoming, the West is no longer reserved for John Wayne wanna-bes and would-be snowboarders or adventurers looking to escape metropolis. In fact, our western states, historically rural and rugged, have attracted what some would consider too much attention, drawing not just the tourism of city slickers, but also the attention of big industry. While some westerners welcome industrial development and the resulting increase in job opportunities, many today are concerned …

Continue Reading