Best Practices For Auto Boards During Industry Revolution

The Nikola case stands at the intersection of several emerging risk areas in the automotive industry. For example, as regulators in the U.S. and European Union continue to ratchet up the pressure on climate change goals, and environmental, social and corporate governance, boards need to be extra careful about their companies’ commitments to going carbon neutral and the efficacy of electric vehicles.

That means putting clear plans and metrics in place to ensure appropriate follow-through and effective communications with investors so that they are well-informed about the caveats, risks and limitations.

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EPA Conducts Flyovers in New Mexico and Texas

On August 1, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is conducting helicopter flyovers of the Permian Basin region in New Mexico and Texas. EPA asserted that the purpose of the flyovers was to “survey oil and gas operations to identify large emitters” of methane and volatile organic compounds. This follows recent flyovers conducted in other regions for the same purpose.

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EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive — What Do UK- and U.S.- Headquartered Companies Need to Know?

Non–EU companies with a significant presence in the EU or with securities listed on an EU-regulated market will become subject to new EU rules on corporate sustainability disclosures (the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, or CSRD). The text of the CSRD has now been agreed by the EU institutions.1 CSRD is expected to become EU law later this year. Once implemented into the national law of EU member states, its requirements will be phased in from 2024.

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Fifth Circuit Says FERC Can’t Stop Rejection of Filed-Rate Contracts in Bankruptcy

On July 19, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that debtors in bankruptcy may reject regulated energy contracts, vacating two Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders to the contrary, in Gulfport Energy Corp. v. FERC. The question turned on how a party’s ability to reject executory contracts in bankruptcy interacts with FERC’s ability to determine whether a party can abrogate or modify contracts that constitute filed rates under a doctrine referred to as Mobile-Sierra. The court found that FERC cannot use its Natural Gas Act authority over contract abrogation and modification to countermand a debtor’s bankruptcy-law rights or the bankruptcy court’s powers.

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U.S. EPA Identifies Five PFAS Added to Toxic Release Inventory List, Four of Them Newly Required for Reporting by July 1, 2023

On July 18, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule updating the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to identify five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) added to the TRI pursuant to the framework set by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA).

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D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to CERCLA Site Listing

On July 8, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) rejected a challenge to the listing of a groundwater contamination plume on the National Priorities List (NPL). The decision in Daikin Applied Americas, Inc. v. EPA reaffirms the difficulty that attends challenging NPL listings as well as the wide latitude Congress granted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to define the scope of Superfund sites during the listing process.

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