On September 28, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its rule for manufactures of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which requires that these manufacturers provide information about what chemicals and the amount that they produce. Effective November 13, 2023, persons that manufacture, have manufactured, or have imported PFAS in any year since January 1, 2011, will now be required to report a wide range of information of PFAS including chemical identity and structure, uses, production volumes, exposures, by-products and health and environmental effects. EPA is taking this action not only to fulfill its obligations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a)(7), but also to address this legacy pollution that has been, and continues to be, endangering people across the nation.
With every wildfire, catastrophic storm, and record-breaking heat, climate change is at our front doors. But what can help mitigate some of these effects? Regulations. Holding big polluters responsible for their carbon emissions is a crucial way to mitigate the effects of carbon emissions. Although many big companies voluntarily disclose some of their climate data, the pressure can come from investors, not the government. In an effort to enhance and standardize public companies’ climate data, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a controversial Climate-Disclosure Rule in April 2022.
From blizzards striking California to wildfires ravaging Hawai’i and extreme heatwaves scorching Illinois, our world is witnessing a cascade of unexpected and alarming events. But, these are not merely isolated incidents; they are the very manifestations that climate change experts have long warned us about. While global awareness of the need for action grows, the United States continues to lag. Notwithstanding the recent unveiling of the American Climate Corps by the Biden Administration, environmental policies across the country face resistance from courts and legislators, leading to the emergence of the ‘Green Scare’ movement. In this context, an unexpected trend has materialized—the younger generation is fighting back.
On February 3, 2023, Ohio was suddenly and unexpectedly rocked by an accident whose long-term consequences are still unfolding. A Norfolk Southern-operated freight train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in the village of East Palestine. This accident, which poses severe threats to the environment and safety of the local community, has raised significant concerns about the environmental implications of train accidents and the safety of transporting hazardous materials through residential areas.
In an action meant to incentive companies to self-report their wrongdoings, the Justice Department (DOJ), has announced big changes to its Corporate Enforcement Policy (CEP). The Department of Justice has long been fighting against corporate criminality in its pursuit to maintain the integrity of the financial market. On January 17, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., announced revisions to the Criminal Division’s Corporate Enforcement Policy. Some of the revisions include up to a 75 percent reduction in fines for companies that voluntarily report their wrongdoings and fully cooperate with investigations and up to a 50 percent reduction for companies that fully cooperate with investigations even if they do not voluntarily disclose the crime. These incentives further soften the aggressive stance that the Biden administration originally took against Corporate America in 2021.
Juhi Desai Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2024 In March 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a 490-page proposal encouraging organizations to adopt climate-focused regulations. The policies could include climate disclosure requirements and an expense report detailing the effect climate change has on businesses. However, shortly after the …
As the summer came to an end, headlines about thousands of residents losing access to water swept the nation. The news came first out of Jackson, Mississippi. But although the southern city’s complete loss of access to water dominated the new cycle, it was far from the only place dealing with this issue. A few days later, reports of boil water advisories in Baltimore and NYC hit the news cycle. Unfortunately, these are only the latest instances in a long string of issues with access to safe and clean drinking water across the country.
Beverage corporation Diageo has recently been fined £1.2 million for violating environmental regulations. Diageo is a multinational corporation that owns a variety of liquor brands, including Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Don Julio, Crown Royal, and several others. Headquartered in England, it operates all over the world, with its North American subsidiary being one of its most profitable. In violation of UK regulations, the beverage company has failed to report the environmental impacts of some of its sites for the past six years and has failed to secure permits for the relevant operations. The corporation alleges that these omissions were the result of an administrative error.
“Sustainable,” “eco-friendly,” “ethical,” “recycled” — all buzzwords you might see the next time you’re shopping for a new outfit, designed to make you as a consumer feel like you’re making better choices to help reduce your carbon footprint. But what do those buzzwords really mean — is there any traceable impact the company has made to reduce its carbon footprint? In many cases, unfortunately not. The fashion industry has a major impact on climate change. It is estimated to contribute between 4 and 8.6 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, and for the most part is largely unregulated. Any efforts to increase sustainability, such as by reducing pollution or eliminating labor abuses, are predominately voluntary commitments with little to no repercussions for failing to uphold those commitments.
“Soft on You, Softer on the Planet” declares an advertisement for the Icon-Impact Collection from UGG® which debuted this fall in a store near you. Touted as an innovative product with a positive impact on the environment, the newly introduced collection uses reclaimed wool, a sole made of sugarcane, and repurposed plastic from at least two recycled plastic bottles. It’s all part of the brand’s Feel Good initiative, and in partnership with One Tree Planted, UGG® promises to plant one tree for every pair of shoes bought at select UGG® stores and online. It’s also an example of “green marketing,” the practice of appealing to consumers’ preferences for sustainable and eco-friendly products, especially Millennial and Gen Z consumers who are willing to pay a little bit extra for their purchases.