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.
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 May 18, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule to address the concern of a previous loophole that allowed pits of coal ash to sit inactive and unmonitored. The new proposed rule was created in response to the August 21, 2018 opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Utility Solid Waste Activities v. EPA.
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.
The Colorado River provides water to seven U.S. states and has been experiencing drought since 2000. Tensions are now rising among the seven states that depend on water from this river. At the request of the Bureau of Reclamation, states were supposed to reach an agreement for how to limit their water usage by January 31, 2023. However, as of February 14, 2023, no such agreement has been met.
The EPA is expected to introduce tougher heavy duty emissions rules in 2023 as part of the Clean Trucks Plan with the intent to inhibit a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The quicker these changes in the greenhouse gas rules are made, the better for the environment and the future of the efficiency of transportation. The application of these regulations will lead to more efficient transmissions across the country as it impacts a large variety of important vehicles.
On December 20, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a regulation that will require heavy-duty trucks and vehicles to adopt new, more stringent standards in order to reduce smog and pollution. The EPA implemented this measure as part of its Clean Trucks Plan, a three-year plan, created to reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, in hopes of addressing the climate crisis and improving public health. The new standards set by this regulation are stronger than the current ones by more than 80%. Nonetheless, many are disappointed that the regulation is not as stringent as they had hoped for.
More than 2,500 government officials ranging from the Commerce Department to the Treasury Department reported owning stock in companies whose share prices correspond to decisions made by their respective agencies. With obvious conflicts of interest arising, what has happened, and what are some major takeaways from this investigative report?
On Monday, October 3, the Supreme Court began its new term by hearing a case concerning the rights of property owners and the interests of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Act. When Michael and Chantell Sackett purchased land in Idaho in 2004, they did so with the intention of building a home on the property. Their plans were quashed when the EPA stepped in and declared that the land the couple purchased constituted a wetland, subject to regulation under the EPA’s Clean Water Act because the land is located 300 feet from a large lake. The Court is now faced with the question; how far can the government regulate water in the United States? Additionally, what counts as ‘waters of the United States”? Although the Court is not expected to make a decision regarding this case until June of 2023, the repercussions of the court siding with the Sacketts could be detrimental.
A new President and a changing administration mean new priorities across some, if not all of the major executive agencies. One of the more heavily impacted industries will be transportation—specifically the automotive sector. From re-instating stricter emissions standards to moving forward with automated vehicle regulations, the automotive industry in the early 2020s should see innovation and progress at the forefront of the country’s new federal regulatory scheme.