Epa Contractor

PFAS Is Officially Subject to The “Toxic Release Inventory” – and Affected Facilities Should Get Their Ducks in a Row

Crowell & Moring LLP
Peter Gray and Amy Symonds

February 13, 2020

The federal government is imposing one of the first environmental requirements for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and industry must plan accordingly.

Under an obscure provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA), Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list certain PFAS under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Specifically, Section 7321 of the NDAA mandated that 14 specific PFAS plus any additional PFAS that meet certain criteria be listed as “toxic chemicals” that are subject to the annual Section 313 reporting requirement. EPCRA Section 313 (also referred to as the Toxic Release Inventory or TRI) imposes reporting obligations on facilities involved in industries identified by certain SIC codes (largely covering facilities in the manufacturing, mining, and power sectors). Specifically, if a covered facility manufactures, processes or otherwise uses a listed toxic chemical above an applicable threshold quantity, the facility must annually report to EPA environmental releases of and other waste management activities relating to that toxic chemical.

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Looking For Limits: The Negotiation Of Environmental Indemnity Agreements

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Steven M. Herman and Molly Lovedale

February 3, 2020

The original article can be accessed here

One of the key ancillary documents in commercial real estate loans is the environmental indemnity. Under federal and state environmental laws, an owner of real property is strictly liable for the remediation of contamination from hazardous substances on such real property.

Environmental indemnities are typically executed by the borrower and the guarantor collectively as the indemnitor and include representations and covenants relating to hazardous substances and, most importantly, from a lender’s perspective, an indemnification in favor of the lender for any claims or losses arising from hazardous substances on the mortgaged property. Unless otherwise negotiated by the indemnitor, the indemnity survives indefinitely. Consequently, much of the negotiation between the borrower and the lender centers around trying to limit when the lender can make a claim under the indemnity.

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New Reporting Rule for Accidental Releases

Troutman Sanders LLP
Randy E. Brogdon, Carroll “Mack” W. McGuffey III and Richard L. Pepper

February 12, 2020

The Chemical Safety Board (“CSB”) recently issued a final rule that will add additional reporting obligations to certain releases, including those that previously did not require reporting. Last week, the CSB signed the pre-publication version of its final Accidental Release Reporting Rule. The Rule, which will become effective 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register, will require stationary source owners/operators to report to the CSB any “accidental release” resulting in:

  • A fatality;
  • A serious injury resulting in death or inpatient hospitalization; or
  • Estimated property damage at or outside the stationary source equal to or greater than $1 million.

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US Supreme Court Grapples with Balancing Landowners’ Rights Against CERCLA Authority

Squire Patton Boggs
Brent Owen

February 10, 2020

Two months ago, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Gregory Christian. The case is critically important to environmental lawyers in the United States because it may alter the operation of Congress’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) scheme for environmental remediation. CERCLA gives EPA broad power to command government agencies and private parties to clean up hazardous waste sites. In Christian, the Court will address whether and to what extent private landowners (and ultimately a jury of lay citizens) can, through state-law property-rights’ claims, contradict EPA’s plan for cleanup and remedial efforts.

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EPA Consent Agreement Sets Schedule for Hazardous Substance Spill Response Rulemaking

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Joseph J. Green

February 13, 2020

EPA has agreed, in a draft settlement, to conduct a rulemaking regarding the establishment of regulations to address potential “worst case” spills of hazardous substances similar to the existing “Facility Response Plan” (FRP) program for oil.  In a consent decree reached with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other environmental groups, published in the Federal Register on February 3, the agency agreed to issue a proposed rulemaking within two years of the final date of the consent decree “pertaining to the issuance of the Hazardous Substance Worst Case Discharge Planning Regulations.”  A final rule would be required within 30 months of the proposal.

The consent decree follows litigation filed by the environmental groups in March 2019:

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