Environmental Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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My Project Changed—Is My EIR Still Valid: A New California Supreme Court Case Provides Guidance

Change is inevitable. Many times between project approval and project construction fluctuations in market conditions, financing terms or other factors mandate project changes. Do the changes require a further or modified...more

2016 Chemical Data Reporting submission extended

On September 16, 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention extended the Chemical Data Reporting 2016 submission deadline from September 30, 2016 to October 31, 2016. ...more

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test for Modifications to Previously Approved Projects

On September 19, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community College District (Case No. S214061). The Supreme Court held that...more

“New and Improved” is Not Always a Good Slogan Under CEQA

Marketing departments in major corporations love to describe products as “new and improved” in order to convince you that the product is something you need. In many cases though, you already have the product; the new and...more

Comments Due November 1, 2016 on Proposed Update to Framework for Biotechnology Regulation

On September 18, 2016, the Obama Administration issued two major documents in connection with its ongoing efforts to modernize the federal Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology. The first document, a...more

WARNING: California’s Proposition 65 Warning Requirements are Changing

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) recently finalized substantial amendments to the regulations governing the provision of warnings required by “Proposition 65” (a/k/a the “Safe Drinking...more

EPA’s Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Pose Challenges for Industry, Particularly Importers

Importers, retailers, and others that sell goods containing plywood or other composite wood products face significant compliance challenges from EPA’s new Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products (the Standards)....more

CEQA Allows Developers to Recover Administrative Record Costs when Reimbursing Agency

Appellate Victory for Developers and Public Agencies - A developer can recover the cost of preparing a California Environmental Quality Act administrative record, even when the lead agency, not the developer, actually...more

Supreme Court Addresses CEQA Subsequent Review Rules in San Mateo Gardens Case

The California Supreme Court provided needed clarification to some aspects of the operation of CEQA’s “subsequent review” rules (Pub. Resources Code, § 21166; CEQA Guidelines, § 15162) in its highly anticipated opinion, filed...more

Proposition 65: OEHHA Adopts Revisions to Its Proposition 65 Warning Regulations

On August 28, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) adopted revisions to its Proposition 65 (Prop 65) Article 6 regulations covering "clear and reasonable warnings"...more

EPA IG's Concerns About Oversight of Hospital Disinfectants Reinforces Need for Robust Infection Control Programs

On September 19, 2016, the Inspector General (IG) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the latest in a long line of reports identifying flaws in EPA’s process for ensuring the efficacy of hospital-grade,...more

Prop. 65 Conference Focuses on Compliance With New Warning and Settlement Regulations

The Prop. 65 Clearinghouse held its annual conference in San Francisco recently, and the speakers and panelists had a number of recommendations for both retailers and manufacturers following the adoption of Proposition 65’s...more

BLM Moves Forward with Phase I of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) has now been approved, paving the way for streamlined permitting and environmental review of qualified renewable energy projects on Bureau of Land Management...more

EPA Issues Strategy to Address the Mismatch Between the Federal Hazardous Waste Rules and the Retail Sector

On September 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or the “Agency”) issued a strategy for addressing growing concerns about the application of the federal hazardous waste regulations under the Resource...more

Corporate Social Responsibility and Compliance: Commitment at the Top

This is the fifth in a series of posts reflecting excerpts from a chapter that I authored on corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) for the Corporate Legal Compliance Handbook. Integrating CSR into the framework of a...more

Merging Companies Tesla and SolarCity Among Entities Advocating Wider Role for Electric Storage Resources in RTO and ISO Markets

In early August, Tesla Motors Inc., a manufacturer of advanced electric vehicles and battery energy storage systems, announced a deal to buy SolarCity Corporation, a developer of distributed energy resources, particularly...more

Nuclear Liability in the UK: Implementation of the 2004 Protocols

On May 4, 2016, the Nuclear Installations (Liability for Damage) Order 2016 (the “2016 Order”) entered into force in the United Kingdom. The 2016 Order, which implements the 2004 Protocols1 to the Paris Convention and...more

Developer Awarded Cost of Preparing Administrative Record in CEQA Lawsuit

Lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) typically proceed as petitions for administrative mandamus. This means the petitioner is asking the court to review an agency’s decision and ultimately issue a...more

DC Circuit Denies Sierra Club Appeal of FERC Authorization of Two LNG Facilities

Since 2012, the major opponent of new large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects has been the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club has adopted a two-pronged approach in its opposition to LNG exports projects, opposing...more

Biotechnology: White House Releases Proposed Update to the Coordinated Framework and National Strategy for Modernizing the...

On September 16, 2016, the White House posted a blog item, "Building on 30 Years of Experience to Prepare for the Future of Biotechnology," releasing two documents intended to modernize federal regulation of biotechnology...more

California Supreme Court Addresses Subsequent Review Under CEQA; Rejects Lishman “New Project” Test

In an opinion by Justice Kruger, the Supreme Court of California unanimously reversed the Court of Appeal in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, Cal. Supreme Court, Case...more

California Supreme Court Invalidates "New Project" Test - Court Upholds Use of Addendum to Mitigated Negative Declaration Under...

In a major win for agencies and project sponsors, the Supreme Court of California affirmed that addenda can appropriately be used to consider modifications to a previously approved negative declaration or Environmental Impact...more

Results of EPA OIG’s Review of EPA’s Antimicrobial Testing Program

On September 19, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report, EPA Needs a Risk-Based Strategy to Assure Continued Effectiveness of Hospital-Level Disinfectants, the...more

EPA, FDA, and USDA Release Updates to Coordinated Framework on Biotechnology

On September 16, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in collaboration with the White House, released two documents...more

EPA Researches How Sunscreens Containing Engineered Nanomaterials Might Change When Exposed to Chemicals in Pool Water

An August 15, 2016, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog item describes EPA’s research on sunscreens containing engineered nanomaterials and how they might change when exposed to chemicals in pool water. According...more

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