EHS Law Insights

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

Latest from EHS Law Insights

Just one week after the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) made its proposed COVID-19 Emergency Regulation (“COVID-19 Rule”) available, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) responsible for approving such regulations unanimously passed it without revisions.  Cal/OSHA is the fourth state OSHA plan to promulgate a rule to address COVID-19, following Virginia, Oregon, and Michigan.  The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has made violations of emergency proclamations subject to workplace…
On November 7, 2020, Joe Biden became the projected President-elect of the United States. With an aggressive climate change plan that includes rejoining the Paris Agreement on the first day of his term, President-elect Biden and his administration will likely make significant changes to environmental, health, and safety rules and policies that will rollback Trump administration environmental actions and increase civil and criminal enforcement of environmental laws. New Regulatory Rollbacks and Expansions The Trump administration…
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 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,…
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…
The California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) has again proposed revisions to the State’s existing “Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth Regulation” of air emissions from ships docked in California. As revised, further reductions in air emissions will be required, but some of the earlier implementation dates have been extended. Most substantive changes were made in response to feedback received from CARB’s Board during the June 25, 2020 Board Meeting, public comments received during the formal…
Products claiming to protect users against microbes, such as those that are currently being used to protect us from COVID-19, are flying off the shelves.  Manufacturers of these products must comply with regulations governing the use of such pesticides.  One of said regulations is the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under FIFRA, EPA regulates all pesticides distributed or sold in the United States.  EPA defines a pesticide as a product that is intended…
Companies reliant upon the use of rail services and commercial harbor craft at California’s ports should be interested in the State’s: Increasing focus on utilizing zero emission technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from port-related operations; and Provision of $6.6 million in available grants to “fund the design, integration, and demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell systems and hydrogen fueling infrastructure for locomotive and commercial harbor craft” operations On July 31, 2020 (10:30-12:30 PDT), the…
Individual states’ safety agencies have undertaken the development of their own workplace safety rules in response to potential hazards from COVID-19 as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has declined to promulgate specific standards and instead relied on existing regulations and guidance.  Specifically, Virginia recently published a temporary emergency COVID-19 rule, while Oregon has been holding stakeholder meetings to develop its own, similar emergency standard.  Washington, meanwhile, has created a trigger for direct enforceability…