New FERC Rule May Delay U.S. Pipeline Construction Activities

On June 9, 2020, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order No. 871, a Final Rule Limiting Authorizations to Proceed with Construction Activities Pending Rehearing (Final Rule). The Final Rule is likely to increase project costs for natural gas infrastructure by delaying their regulatory approvals. It prevents FERC from issuing notices to proceed with construction once a developer has received a certificate under sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) until (1) the time for filing of a request for rehearing has expired with no such request or (2) FERC has acted on the merits of a timely filed request for rehearing. NGA sections 3 and 7 are the statutory provisions that empower FERC to authorize natural gas import and export facilities, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals and natural gas pipelines, respectively.

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EPA Releases New Proposed Rule on Clean Air Act Cost-Benefit Analysis

On June 4, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule for calculating costs and benefits from Clean Air Act rulemakings. The proposal would require EPA to undertake a cost-benefit analysis for all significant Clean Air Act rulemakings — that is, those estimated to have at least a $100 million impact on the economy or are otherwise deemed significant — using the “best available scientific information” and instituting other procedural requirements.

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New Jersey Implements Strict PFAS Water Quality Standards

On June 1, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection promulgated water quality standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) at levels of 14 and 13 parts per trillion (ppt), respectively. Compared with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current federal advisory level of 70 ppt, New Jersey’s limits are some of the most stringent in the country.

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EPA Extends Supply Chain Flexibilities to Producers of Food-Contact Surface Sanitizers During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) will now temporarily provide producers of sanitizers on EPA’s List N of products approved for use against SARS-CoV-2 meant for food-contact surfaces that contain the active ingredient isopropyl alcohol additional supply chain flexibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, EPA is temporarily permitting those sanitizer registrants to add additional registered sources of the active ingredient isopropyl alcohol to a formulation and also to set up approved pesticide manufacturing establishments through notification to the Agency (without prior EPA approval). EPA took this step after hearing from production facilities handling low-moisture products such as grains, cereal, flour and industrial baked goods that they are having difficulty acquiring food-contact surface sanitizers.

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PFAS and the Toxics Release Inventory – New Reporting Obligations from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020

As of January 1, 2020, companies have new obligations to report releases of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) based on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Reporting Year 2020. The NDAA added reporting obligations for 172 individual PFAS chemicals. This potentially impacts any company using any of these PFAS chemicals in their processes, including use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam for training and/or actual fire suppression. This webinar will address this change and also review recent updates to the general regulatory landscape for PFAS issues and practice pointers for TRI enforcement and voluntary disclosures to reduce liability.

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