Environmental

Last Thursday, in South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. Pruitt, South Carolina Federal District Court Judge Norton issued an order which made the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule take effect in twenty-six states.  As background, the CWA prohibits discharges to WOTUS without a permit, but does not define the term.  In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized the WOTUS Rule, which applied an expansive meaning to the term to broaden federal jurisdiction.  In October…
On August 16, 2018, a federal district court judge in South Carolina issued a nationwide injunction which halts the effectiveness of USEPA’s “Delay Rule.”  83 Fed.Reg. 5200 et seq.  The Delay Rule purported to delay the effectiveness of the Obama WOTUS Rule until February 2020.  Because of this new ruling, the Obama WOTUS Rule is now in effect in 26 states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.  Other states in which the Obama WOTUS Rule is…
In a recent order from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (the “Commission”), Minnesota took a big step to update the state’s interconnection process and standard interconnection agreement for distributed energy resources or “DERs.” This ongoing process relates to Minn. Stat. § 216B.1611 which directs the Commission to establish generic standards for utilities’ tariffs that govern the interconnection and parallel operation of distribution generation with a capacity of up to ten megawatts (“MW”). Minnesota’s original DER…
The European Union (EU) is about to dramatically expand the reach of mandatory chemical disclosure requirements for consumer products.  The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced recently that it is preparing to launch, by the end of 2019, a new database on the presence of hazardous chemicals in articles.  The database will be populated with information submitted by companies  producing, importing or selling articles into the EU that contain REACH Candidate List substances (i.e., Substances of Very High Concern or…
A reminder that new Prop 65 regulations become effective the end of this month and some key changes may directly affect online on-product warnings, internet sales, catalog sales and even on-TV sales.  The new regulations are explicit about the timing of the warning. Warnings must now be given prior to completion of the sale, not just prior to the exposure. This new timing has online sellers, resellers, and even TV sales programming scrambling to make…
On August 10, 2018, the representative from Indiana’s 4th Congressional District introduced a bill entitled: “To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to remove freshwater mussels from the list of endangered and threatened species.”  While the text of the bill isn’t yet available, based on the title of the bill one can reasonably surmise that the author of the bill believes that freshwater mussels are not deserving of Endangered Species Act protection.  Further, this interpretation is supported by recent articles…
The Massachusetts restrictive covenant legal landscape is set to shift dramatically with a new law limiting the use and enforcement of non-competition agreements by employers – effective October 1. In a post on our Mintz Levin teammates’ Employment Law Matters blog, they review the new law’s requirements, discuss the legal and practical implications of the law, and outline action items for employers. Click here to read the blog post.…
Continuing reductions in environmental regulations across the power industry may seem like a good time for the C-suite to direct energy and attention towards other key priorities, but there is another force steadily working to tug reform back over the line — highly organized and increasingly strategic NGOs. Because deregulation is antithetical to their policy preferences, environmental groups routinely argue that federal agencies violate federal statutory laws, and power plant operations and infrastructure get caught…
By Erin L. Kilgore Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed a lawsuit against United Airlines, Inc. and alleged that United violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment) by subjecting a female flight attendant to a hostile work environment. According to the EEOC, a United pilot frequently posted sexually explicit images and personally identifying information of a United flight attendant…
As demand for solar energy has grown, employment in the U.S. solar industry has boomed to more than double the number of coal industry workers and nearly equal to employment in the natural gas industry. While solar energy jobs are among the safest in the energy sector, over the past 18 months the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has sought to levy large fines against some high profile solar industry employers for alleged safety…