EHS Law Insights

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

The European Commission is currently seeking public comment as part of its review of the EU General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) (Directive 2001/95/EC). The GPSD sets out a broad regulatory framework for the placement of non-food consumer products (not regulated by other product specific EU legislation) on the EU market. In particular, it establishes the general safety requirement, that producers must only place safe products on the EU market, and requires that appropriate steps are…
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will conduct a public workshop later this month as it continues its efforts to expand the state’s development of the Clean Miles Standard (CMS). As was earlier reported, the CMS will require ridesharing companies, aka transportation network companies (TNCs), to account for, and reduce, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their vehicle operations. The CMS also requires state regulators to quantify emissions from ridesharing vehicles and to set…
1. Pipeline May Cross Underneath the Appalachian Trail with Forest Service Approval On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) held in a 7-2 decision that the U.S. Forest Service had the authority to grant developers of a gas pipeline right-of-way underneath the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. At issue in this case was whether the Forest Service or the National Park Service (NPS) had jurisdiction over the trail. Under the U.S. Mineral Leasing Act…
On March 26, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a memorandum about a temporary policy regarding EPA enforcement of environmental legal obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the policy, the EPA stopped seeking penalties for certain missed environmental obligations. The policy received mixed reactions from states and environmental groups. On June 29, 2020, EPA announced that it will be ending the controversial policy. EPA’s addendum to its temporary policy recognizes that circumstances are changing…
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) on June 25, 2020, unanimously approved the “Advanced Clean Trucks” rule, requiring automakers to sell a minimum number of zero-emissions diesel trucks, delivery vans and large pickups, starting in 2024. The quotas will be phased in and the rules require most new trucks in the state to produce no pollution at all by 2035. By 2045, every new truck sold in California will have to be zero-emission. The…
In 2016, Congress enacted major reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). These improvements included items such as: (1) a mandatory requirement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate existing chemicals with clear and enforceable deadlines; (2) risk-based chemical assessments; (3) increased public transparency for chemical information; and (4) a consistent source of funding for the EPA to carry out its responsibilities under this statute. Although the EPA has made progress toward these…
The UK has published its plans for the UK ETS starting in 2021. In the UK, this will replace the EU ETS, which the UK is set to leave at the end 2020 with the termination of the Brexit transition period. It is part of the UK government’s plan to drive domestic and international action on climate change and, as such, to deliver on its net-zero carbon target by 2050. In the following article we…
On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced final action to reduce emissions of ethylene oxide (EO) from certain sources. EO is an intermediary chemical used to make plastics, textiles and antifreeze, and also is used to sterilize medical devices. Scrutiny of EO has increased in the past few years due to the chemical’s potential carcinogenic effects. EPA’s regulatory action is the first update to national hazardous air pollutant limits for the…
On May 18, the AFL-CIO filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to compel the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) protecting U.S. workers against COVID-19.  However, on June 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the AFL-CIO’s request for the court to compel OSHA to issue an ETS to protect workers from the novel…
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will conduct a public Board hearing later this month as it continues its efforts to expand the state’s existing Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth Regulation to further reduce air emissions from ships docked in California. As earlier reported, CARB recently released further modifications to the at-berth rulemaking documents (15-day change). Due to these proposed changes, regulated parties remain concerned about significant increased costs related to supporting infrastructure and capital improvements…