EHS Law Insights

Comment and analysis by Reed Smith lawyers on the latest developments in Environmental Health & Safety

Latest from EHS Law Insights

Drones, a generic term for unmanned aircraft, have been utilized in military applications for decades. More recently, however, advances in drone technology and construction have made the devices more accessible. These advances and increased accessibility have allowed more commercial and industrial applications to take off. For example, certain retailers are considering ways to efficiently use drones to make residential deliveries, and drones can help developers plan and manage construction projects and monitor progress. Drones as…
On 14 September 2020, the European Commission published its “Sustainable Products Initiative”, which aims to revise the existing Ecodesign Directive in order to meet the product sustainability objectives set out in the Circular Economy Action Plan. The Circular Economy Action Plan seeks to make products fit for a climate neutral, resource efficient and circular economy, reduce waste, and ensure that sustainability progressively becomes the norm. The Commission has stated that, in order…
On 3 September 2020 the European Commission released an updated action plan (available here) on critical raw materials (CRMs).  In doing so, it has added bauxite, lithium, titanium and strontium to the existing list of CRMs, which now stands at 30 materials. The Commission also released a foresight report (available here) at the same time, on raw materials for strategic technologies and sectors. The report considers the raw material needed for growing technologies,…
We recently reported on a potentially seminal California court decision that struck down Proposition 65 warning requirements for a consumer product on grounds of “compelled speech.”   As anticipated, the State is appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, according to a notice filed Wednesday, September 9th. The State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment listed glyphosate as a chemical known to the State to cause cancer in 2017 under…
In 1996, the PRC Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes (“Current Solid Waste Law”) was established. In 2015, almost 20 years later, this PRC Law was first revised and has since worked to take proper precautions for the environment. However, on 29 April 2020 the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has once again extensively revised the Current Solid Waste Law (the new revision being the “2020 Revision”),…
On August 31, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, signed the final rule (referred to as the Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule) initially proposed last year to revise the technology-based effluent limitations guidelines and standards (ELGs) for common types of wastewater discharges from electric power generating facilities. This final rule rolls back the Obama-era effluent guidelines 2015 rule, which set the first federal limitations on toxic metal discharges from power plants. EPA…
The UK Government has published new guidance on the UKCA product-marking framework which replaces the current EU CE marking regime in Great Britain (i.e. England, Wales and Scotland), from 1 January 2021. The guidance is in line with expectations and brings helpful clarity for manufacturers and other affected stakeholders, albeit also bringing with it unavoidable administrative burden. UKCA marking was introduced in 2019 under the Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations…
The California legislature is sending a bill (SB 1044) to Governor Gavin Newsom that would significantly affect the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (“PFAS”) chemicals in firefighting foam. Specifically, the bill prohibits the manufacture, sale and use of class B firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS chemicals.  Class B foams are used to suppress fires generated by flammable liquids (e.g., petroleum based products and fuels, paints, solvents, propane gas, etc.). Use of the…
As we mentioned in a previous post, the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a wave of bankruptcies that we expect to continue into 2021. Companies entering 2020 in a strong financial position may now need to quickly shed distressed assets and generate cash. A Chapter 11 reorganization is likely to be too long and burdensome for companies in this position. Fortunately, the Section 363 sale process offers a speedier alternative for disposing of distressed assets…
On August 24, 2020, EPA announced an emergency exemption in the state of Texas that permits American Airlines and Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine to use an antiviral that kills microbes like COVID-19 on surfaces for up to seven days.  This exemption request was submitted under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under FIFRA, EPA regulates all pesticides distributed or sold in the United States.  FIFRA generally requires that pesticide…