The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a guidance memo that reverses its interpretation of the 'once in, always in' policy, which locked a source into meeting the maximum achievable control technology standards for major sources of hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The revised guidance may provide sources that no longer exceed the major source threshold with the opportunity to reduce burdensome monitoring, record-keeping and reporting requirements.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued a new policy in order to prohibit the department from using its civil enforcement authority to compel compliance with agency guidance documents. The policy has major implications for civil environmental enforcement actions, such as new source review cases and Clean Water Act matters in which the DOJ relies heavily on Environmental Protection Agency guidance documents to establish violations of law.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has announced revisions to the Annual Report of Foreign Banking Organisations (FR Y-7) which will enable foreign banking organisations (FBOs) to certify their compliance with US risk committee and home country capital stress testing requirements under Regulation YY. The FR Y-7 is an annual report submitted by qualifying FBOs to provide financial, organisational, shareholder and managerial information to the board.
The Toxic Substances Control Act inventory reset process is now taking place. The reporting deadline for chemical manufacturers and importers was February 7 2018 and the deadline for all other companies that use chemicals is October 5 2018. Meeting these deadlines is important because a chemical will not be legal for use in the United States if it is not identified, reported (or subject to an exemption) and included in the active Toxic Substances Control Act inventory.
The California Supreme Court recently ruled that the charges that the city of Ventura pays to the United Water Conservation District for groundwater conservation activities are neither taxes nor fees that require approval by property owners or vote. This decision limits to some degree the ability of the municipal water supplier to set rates for water service and will have an effect on both agricultural and residential water users.
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently issued an order rejecting North Dakota's bid to intervene to oppose an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settlement. In 2015 the environmental groups sued the EPA in district court, alleging that the EPA had failed to undertake non-discretionary statutory duties periodically to review and, if necessary, revise its Resource Conservation and Recovery Act solid waste rules.
In its recent decision, the Second Circuit held that the relator's failure to plead sufficiently that the allegedly defrauded agency had changed its reimbursement practices after becoming aware of information supposedly withheld by the defendant doomed the complaint on materiality grounds. The decision underscores the significance of the materiality requirement at the motion to dismiss stage.
Husqvarna, a Swedish company that makes outdoor power tools, has agreed to settle with the Environmental Protection Agency over allegations that it overstated the emission reduction capabilities in certain engine models, according to a consent decree. Husqvarna will pay more than $2.8 million in penalties to the United States for air pollution testing violations from its leaf blowers, trimmers and chainsaws.
The Delaware River Basin Commission has issued draft regulations that would ban fracking in portions of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. If implemented, the rules would make permanent a de facto moratorium on fracking in the basin that has been in place since 2010. The commission will hold four hearings at the end of January 2018 and will accept written comments on its proposal until February 28 2018.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that California's statute prohibiting credit card surcharges violated the First Amendment as applied to the proposed surcharge practices of the merchant-plaintiffs. The Ninth Circuit used the same reasoning as a recent Supreme Court case to hold that California's surcharge ban regulated speech rather than conduct, therefore posing First Amendment concerns.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a guidance memo clarifying its interpretation of the Clean Air Act's New Source Review (NSR) regulations, including outlining when and under what criteria the EPA will consider the emission projections that a source makes under the rules. The memo is part of the EPA's implementation of the president's directive to streamline regulatory permitting requirements for manufacturing and other facilities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced its decision on its proposed regulations for financial responsibility requirements for hard rock mining and mineral processing facilities. According to the EPA, it decided not to issue final regulations because it determined that they were inappropriate based on the EPA's interpretation of the statute and its analysis of its record developed for this rulemaking.
Clinical laboratories are in a difficult position: although laboratory tests must be medically necessary to be reimbursable by federal healthcare programmes, laboratories often do not directly engage with patients in a way that would permit them to assess medical necessity. A district court recently corrected its ruling regarding the extent to which laboratories can be held liable under the False Claims Act when the tests for which they submit claims are not medically necessary.
Can an environmental organisation file suit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's citizen suit provision claiming harm from stormwater run-off which could be, but was not, subject to limits under a Clean Water Act permit? The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that it could. The ruling is a portentous development at a time when environmental groups are actively seeking out litigation opportunities to enforce federal regulations.
The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that reflected a limited interpretation of the scope of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's anti-duplication provision, which provides that the act must be construed to apply to or authorise state regulation of "any activity or substance" regulated under several other federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a directive intended to strengthen and improve membership on the agency's advisory committees. The directive calls for the EPA to apply the following principles in setting membership on its advisory committees: strengthen member independence; increase state, tribal and local government participation; enhance geographic diversity; and promote fresh perspectives.
A pair of new lawsuits claim that various government officials and agencies are violating youth plaintiffs' constitutional rights due to a failure to combat climate change sufficiently. The first case is against the state of Alaska, its governor and various other state officials and agencies. The second case alleges that specific Trump administration actions violated the plaintiffs' due process and public trust doctrine rights.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released a set of consumer protection principles designed to protect consumer interests in the market for services built around consumer-approved use of financial information. The principles are targeted at so-called 'data aggregation' or 'screen scraping' services that collect customer information in order to provide financial planning or other services.
California recently passed two bills with significant implications for pharmaceutical manufacturers: one imposing prescription drug price transparency requirements and another prohibiting certain types of co-pay coupon and other prescription drug discounting programmes that lower patient cost-sharing amounts for prescription drugs.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued two notices of data availability in support of its proposed stays of various portions of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and gas industry (known as the 'Quad Oa' rule). The notices include a proposed two-year stay of the Quad Oa requirements and a proposed three-month stay to run during the gap between the publication and effective dates of the two-year stay.