Aerial view to industrial zone and technology park.

New York State Passes Landmark Environmental Justice Legislation

On the final day of 2022, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law the Cumulative Impacts Bill (CIB), which both houses of New York State’s legislature had passed eight months earlier in the year (language here: S.8830 and A.2103D). The legislation amends New York’s Environmental Quality Review Act by now requiring the State to consider during its permitting approval and renewal processes an analysis of the “cumulative impacts” on overburdened communities that could result over time from the introduction or expansion of facilities …

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large pile stack of textile fabric clothes and shoes

Fast-Fashion Post-Holiday Autopsy: How the Industry’s ‘Dupes’ and Fast-Fashion Apparel Boom is Fostering Environmental Disaster

The fashion industry has been dodging a colossal optics problem, but the aftermath of holiday shopping may finally expose prominent fashion houses for their part in contributing to environmental degradation. The metrics of the fashion industry’s dire environmental impacts are daunting:

  • More than 100 billion apparel items are manufactured annually — more than double the fashion industry’s production in 2000 — signaling a problematic upsurge in textile sourcing and processing.
  • 92 million tons of textile waste is produced annually — the equivalent of one truckload
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18 wheeler trucks on the road

EPA Sets New Guidelines for Diesel Emissions

On December 20, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized regulations aimed at reducing harmful emissions from trucks, delivery vehicles, and buses. These regulations will impact vehicles manufactured after 2027 and are designed to cut 50% of smog and soot-forming emissions by 2045. These regulations are slated to become final 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

The regulations announced this week are the first in this area in approximately 20 years. The regulations mainly target the emission of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxides …

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Man inserts a power cord into an electric car for charging

New Environmental Auto Regs Running on Empty?

The Biden administration in April gave a large boost to vehicle-fuel-economy standards when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its intention to increase Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (“CAFE”) standards by 8 percent for the 2024 and 2025 model years, and 10 percent in 2026.

This aggressive initiative took a large step in reversing the Trump administration’s rollback of regulations targeting gas mileage and pollution reduction put in place during the Obama era. However, this large step also may have just tripped over the …

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SEC on Cusp of Radically Expanding Emission-Disclosure Requirements

The Securities and Exchange Commission in March gave initial approval to the Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. These disclosures include three different categories:

  • Scope 1 – Emissions that come directly from company-owned sources.
  • Scope 2 – Indirect emissions from energy purchased, and consumed by a company.
  • Scope 3 – All other indirect emissions that occur during the course of a company’s business.

One of the major proposed changes essentially eliminates the “materiality standard” for companies’ Scope 1 and 2 emissions disclosures. The …

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Office of the Attorney General

PFAS ALERT: What Happens in California Won’t Likely Stay in California

In what has been earmarked as the largest government enforcement PFAS action to date, California’s attorney general last month filed an historic lawsuit against more than a dozen per-and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) manufacturers – as well as “John Doe” PFAS manufacturers – seeking equitable and financial relief for purported statewide pollution to the environment and harm its residents.

While there are thousands of PFAS compounds subject to scrutiny, the California AG’s lawsuit seeks damages related to only seven of the more commonly known compounds:  PFOA, …

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Cryptocurrency mining rigs in a data center

While the Crypto Financial World Burns, New York Passes Law Preventing Crypto Miners from Burning More Fossil Fuels

A few weeks after her election as New York’s first female governor, and a couple days before New Yorkers sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Nov. 22 finally signed an environmental conservation moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations, which both houses of state’s Legislature passed over the summer. (The bill’s progress was followed and reported on by ELM all year, most recently here.)

For two years, the law will disallow crypto mining companies from using the energy-intensive “proof-of-work” method to mint …

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Black Friday, Woman holding many shopping bags while walking in the shopping mall background.

The Environmental Impact of Black Friday

Consumers spent a record $9.12 billion shopping online during Black Friday this year, and are expected to spend $210.1 billion this holiday season, according to Adobe Analytics. That’s an anticipated increase of 2.5 percent from 2021.

Each year, holiday shopping statistics prompt a look at the environmental impact of consumerism in the United States and around the world. Black Friday and the surge in spending during the holiday season, sparks conversation regarding environmental concerns involving waste, emissions, “fast fashion,” and most recently Environmental, Social and …

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Female engineer working on maintenance in bottling plant

Ethylene Oxide Alert: Deliberative Process Privilege Found To Not Justify Withholding EtO Data in Texas

Our blog recently reported on the first jury verdict concerning alleged ethylene oxide exposure and has previously reported a number of times here generally about ethylene oxide (EtO).  Ethylene oxide is a gas commonly used to make other chemicals utilized in a variety of consumer and industrial goods, including fabric, detergents, medicines, and adhesives. It is used to sterilize medical devices and spices and to kill microorganisms in grains. EtO is a well-established sterilizing agent highly efficient at preventing bacteria from growing on, or within, products during …

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Power Plant in the sunrise

Interior Department Aims to Crackdown on Gas Flaring on Public and Tribal Lands

ELM readers may remember our October 6th post detailing a study that found gas flaring actually releases much more methane into the atmosphere than previously thought. The emission of methane gas, given it is a potent greenhouse gas, contributes significantly to global warming.

Flaring is the process of burning excess natural gas at a well. Venting is the direct release of natural gas into the atmosphere. While some amount of venting and flaring is expected during oil and gas exploration and production operations, venting …

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