COVID-19: Economic Recovery and Relief from Environmental Regulation May Go Hand in Glove

K&L Gates
Tim L. Peckinpaugh, Cliff L. Rothenstein, Ankur K. Tohan and Molly K. Barker

May 26, 2020

On May 19, the President issued an Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery (“EO”) in the wake of the lifting of COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders across the country. The EO directs all federal agencies to “rollback” regulations that are inhibiting economic recovery. The EO is open-ended on the timing so it could be in place for an extended period. It will undoubtedly have widespread impacts on how businesses plan and conduct operations and what their regulatory obligations will be going forward. For companies facing burdensome regulations or seeking a permit amid plummeting revenues, the EO may prove to be beneficial by providing them with an outlet for getting some regulatory relief or an expedited permit approval. For others, the EO may arrive as unwelcomed news due to the uncertainty and potential for litigation that it carries with it. In either case, our K&L Gates regulatory and policy teams can advise stakeholders on the opportunities and landmines they may face as the EO is implemented.

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Top 10 Things You Should Know About PFAS: Real Estate and Corporate Due Diligence

Holland & Knight LLP
Meaghan A Colligan, Amy L. Edwards, Paul C Sarahan, Nicholas William Targ and Dianne R. Phillips

May 1, 2020

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) present a new and potentially expensive environmental risk in real estate and corporate deals. Regulators are focused on developing standards for PFAS across the country. However, it is still uncertain at the federal level, and in many states, how PFAS will be regulated and to what levels. New risk-based research continues to be released showing that certain strands may pose risks to health and the environment. Additionally, many large-scale lawsuits have been advanced in the past several years seeking damages for personal injury, property damage and recovery of remediation costs under federal environmental statutes. At least nine federal enforcement actions and dozens of state enforcement actions have been advanced related to PFAS to date. As such, PFAS poses a major risk in transactions that, if not managed, can result in significant liabilities.

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Attention NJ Developers: NJDEP Adopts Amendments to Stormwater Management Rules Requiring the Use of Green Infrastructure

Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP
Jaan M. Haus

May 19, 2020

Reprinted with permission. © 2020 Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP

Last year, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection proposed significant changes to the State’s Stormwater Management Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:8 et seq. (the “SWMR” or “Rules”) that set forth standards and requirements for the management of stormwater runoff associated with major developments. On March 2, 2020, the amendments to the SWMR were adopted with only minor, non-substantive revisions to the original proposal. Most significantly, the amendments require major developments to utilize green infrastructure to meet the groundwater recharge and stormwater runoff quantity and quality standards. In addition, the amendments revised the definition of a “major development” in a manner that considerably expands the reach of the Rules. Developers should take note of these changes as they are fairly burdensome, and thus, likely to increase costs for new developments and construction projects. Notably, however, the SWMR amendments do not become operative until March 2, 2021 (one year from adoption).

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Six Highlights of EPA’s Proposal to Expand Reform of Guidance Documents

Covington & Burling LLP
Thomas Brugato

May 20, 2020

EPA on May 19 released a proposed rule that would put in place a set of regulations governing EPA’s issuance, modification, and withdrawal of guidance documents. This proposal implements portions of Executive Order 13891, and builds on EPA’s previous efforts to create a comprehensive portal of guidance documents earlier this year. Generally speaking, the stated purpose of the rule is to allow for increased transparency and public involvement in EPA’s guidance-formulation process, but the proposal also contains several key limitations.

Six specific aspects of EPA’s proposed rule, which illustrate its possibilities as well as its limits, are particularly noteworthy:

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