Labor & Employment Environmental

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Be Prepared: Civil Penalties to Rise Starting August 1

Effective August 1, OSHA, EPA and the Department of the Interior, among other federal agencies, are raising the ranges of civil penalties assessed under their respective programs. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation...more

VW: The Challenge of Whistleblowing

The following guest post is by Wendy Addison. A hand shot up from the lecture hall: ‘I don’t understand’, a young economics undergraduate said, looking perplexed, ‘surely a company’s executives would want to know...more

Zika Transmission in New York, and Now in Florida - Some Legal Thoughts

In eight years of climate change blogging we think we have uniformly been able to steer clear of the prurient and the provocative, the lewd and the lascivious. But then came word last Friday from New York that the New York...more

EPA Raises Statutory Civil Penalty Amounts

If the cost of doing business includes responding to and resolving periodic environmental and worker safety enforcement matters, the price goes up on August 1. The EPA is raising statutory civil penalty amounts for the many...more

Regulatory Enforcement for Food and Beverage Industry Heats Up

Mid-to-late June 2016, federal and state authorities brought a variety of enforcement actions against food and beverage companies under environmental, health, and safety statutes, suggesting increased governmental oversight...more

NC Legislative Update - July 2016

Last Week - Following a fast paced week, the legislature adjourned the 2015-16 Session sine die on Friday, July 1st, just before midnight. After convening on April 25th, lawmakers completed the short session in just 68...more

Food and Beverage Industry in Regulatory Enforcement Crosshairs

Recent federal and state enforcement actions against food and beverage companies under environmental, safety and health statutes highlight the need for this industry to pay attention to both basic and unique compliance...more

Supreme Court Declines to Give Chevron Deference to Agency Regulation that Departed from Prior Agency Practice

On June 20, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-2 opinion in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro et al., holding that the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor Department) was not entitled to receive Chevron deference with respect...more

European Commission Publishes Chemicals Legislation Roadmaps

The European Commission published two evaluation and fitness check roadmaps in May this year. These roadmaps will assist the Commission in assessing whether the current legislative framework for chemicals, including REACH, is...more

Former head of OSHA discusses workplace injury policies, DOJ enforcement

At a recent presentation at the St. Louis office of Thompson Coburn, John Henshaw, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, offered some insights into several top-of-mind environmental, health and safety issues....more

U.S. Solar Jobs Exceed Oil and Gas for First Time in 2015

According to a report released last week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the number of U.S. solar jobs surpassed those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year. Overall, renewable...more

Supreme Court Update: Foster V. Chatman (13-8349), Green V. Brennan (14-613) And Wittman V. Personhuballah (14-1504)

Just one new decision today (along with the first cert grant in ages). In United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. (No. 15-290), the Court held that a jurisdictional determination by the Army Corps of Engineers...more

Feds Renew Focus on Worker Safety and Individual Accountability

Massey Energy CEO Donald Blankenship reported to a California prison on May 12 to begin serving a one-year sentence for willfully violating mine safety standards. His conviction was related to the deadliest United States...more

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate (in the Workplace)

For the third consecutive year, OSHA’s second most cited violation was for failure to comply with the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The HCS was promulgated in 1983 and requires chemical manufacturers and importers to...more

Environmental Notes - May 2016

The news has been full of stories and articles concerning Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR), also referred to as coal ash. CCR became a hot topic in 2008 when a coal ash pond at a utility plant in Tennessee spilled more than 5...more

OSHA Enforcement in the Final Year of the Obama Administration

Although the Obama Administration is well into its last year, it is signaling no let-up in its aggressive environmental and occupational safety and health enforcement agendas. Indeed, continuation of or even more stringent...more

Environmental Notes - April 2016

EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance recently proposed changes to its National Program Manager (NMP) Guidance that, in part, would revise EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEIs”) for federal fiscal...more

Class Action Roundup: Winter 2016

Where the (Class) Action Is - This issue of Roundup wraps up 2015 with another slate of interesting cases spanning industries and subject matter. The running theme of ascertainability is now stretching into antitrust...more

When is a Reward a Bribe? OSHA Policy Limits Workplace Safety Incentive Programs

Years ago, my employer gave employees a coaster every quarter that the group had no OSHA reportable incidents. Now it would have been in violation to have such a program. Despite criticism from workers compensation carriers...more

A Beginner’s Guide to OSHA’s Final Silica Rule

On March 24, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its final rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The rule was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2016....more

Health Care Congressional Outlook for the Spring Word Period

The next work period basically runs from April 4 to May 27, with both chambers adjourning for a week long recess the week of May 2. Following this work period, there will be five weeks left on the legislative calendar before...more

E2 Report Finds Clean Energy Employs 2.5 Million Americans

Last week Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) released a report entitled “Clean Jobs America,” a comprehensive analysis of clean energy and clean transportation jobs in the United States. The study found that over 2.5 million...more

Williams Mullen Construction Industry Newsletter - Spring 2016

2016 begins with the issuance of this Construction Industry Newsletter, our fifth. In this issue, we have articles on vapor intrusion, liability for project design, enforcement of mechanic’s lien and bond waiver clauses, and...more

Retail and Consumer Products Law Roundup - March 2016

Regulatory Whack-a-Mole: A Renewed Focus on Non-Hazardous Waste Recycling - Why it matters - In part due to a string of high-profile enforcements in multiple states, retailers by and large have evaluated the need to...more

OSHA Fines The Renewable Energy Group Over Hydrogen Gas Explosion

On March 3, 2016, The Advocate reported that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined a biodiesel plant run by The Renewable Energy Group (REG) $70,000 over a September 3, 2015, hydrogen gas...more

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