Federal/EPA Regulatory Policy

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Due diligence in mergers and acquisitions involving chemical products," Financier Worldwide, October 2022.

The scope of what diligence is due in any corporate transaction has evolved greatly over the past decade, particularly with respect to transactions involving chemical products. Once upon a time, transactional due diligence involving chemical products, whether ‘neat’ (pure) chemicals, formulations or end-use products, typically consisted of a phase I or phase II environmental site assessment (ESA) focusing on identifying contamination derivative of chemical releases into environmental media as effluent, emissions, fugitive releases or waste, as well as quantifying the potential for such releases to pose litigation risks or regulatory enforcement, or require costly remediation. Increasingly, parties to corporate transactions now continue to focus on these liabilities and on the compositional elements of chemical products themselves as potential sources of liability and commercial disruption. This article explains why the transition to chemical product due diligence has been slow and offers a few tips to help assess what diligence is due in corporate transactions involving chemical products.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Seeks Input From Small Businesses," Chemical Processing, August 1, 2022.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invited on July 6, 2022, small businesses to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SER) for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel. The EPA seeks self-nominations directly from entities that may be subject to the rule requirements; self-nominations were due July 20, 2022. The panel focuses on the agency’s proposed rule to collect data to inform each step of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation and risk management process. Participating in the SBAR, or at least tracking its activities and engaging as much as possible, is encouraged. The reasons for engagement are discussed in this article.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "How does a recent Supreme Court ruling apply to the EPA’s implementation of TSCA?," Chemical Watch, July 27, 2022.

Since the US Supreme Court issued its blockbuster ruling in West Virginia v EPA, 597 US _ 2022 WL 2347278 (30 June 2022), many are asking whether the Court’s amplification of the 'major questions doctrine' (MQD) might be used to seek to limit the US EPA’s authority in implementing Congress’s 2016 amendments to TSCA, the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg). Lynn L Bergeson, managing partner of the law firm Bergeson & Campbell, says there's little doubt that West Virginia v EPA will be used to seek to limit the agency's authority in implementing the 2016 amendments to the law. 

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Chemical Compliance: Get Ready For Superfund Excise Tax," Chemical Processing, June 22, 2022.

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), reinstating the Superfund excise tax on certain chemical substances under Sections 4661 and 4671 of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code). Effective July 1, 2022, the tax many were glad to see expire is back; the first deposit of the tax is due on July 29, 2022. This article discusses the tax and the challenges it poses.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Environmental Justice and Enforcement in America: what investors need to know," Financier Worldwide, July 2022.

By any standard, federal enforcement of environmental laws in the US has been uneven, to say the least. The prevailing perception is that democrats are ‘greener’ than are republicans when it comes to environmental enforcement. The data is quite scattered, however, and it would seem no party has cornered the environmental protection market. The Trump administration may be the exception that proves the rule.

Most would agree civil and criminal enforcement case numbers were significantly below those of other administrations, all by design. A raft of other actions taken by the Trump administration crystallised that environmental enforcement was definitely not top of mind. Priorities today are decidedly different, and investors need to know the implications of the Biden administration’s commitment to the twin goals of environmental protection and environmental justice. This article explores these topics.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Isn’t It Ironic?," American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) Blog, January 25, 2022.

The Biden Administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is laser focused on achieving several “whole-of-government” priorities: addressing climate change, identifying and giving environmental justice greater consideration in decision-making, and following the science wherever it may lead. Knowing and respecting leadership in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) tasked with achieving these laudable yet daunting objectives, there is no question the commitment is genuine. It is ironic, however, that EPA is applying the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in ways that are counterproductive to achieving these goals.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Environmental Protection: Infrastructure Law Benefits Chemical Industry," Chemical Processing, December 14, 2021.

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684). The House passed the bill on November 5, 2021, by a vote of 228 to 206, and the Senate passed the bill on August 10, 2021, by a vote of 69 to 30. The bill provides a $1.2-trillion infusion of cash into the economy and contains many provisions important to the chemical processing sector. Highlighted below are some of the provisions in the 1,039-page bill that readers may find interesting.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Straddling digital and environmental goals: tips for investors," Financier Worldwide, January 2022.

The environmental impacts of the digital economy are increasingly the focus of attention and concern. There is no question the demand for electricity, water and land have increased sharply in response to the growth in digital activity. Identifying, quantifying and mitigating environmental and ecological impacts are core to value creation, and investors must be mindful of how a company is positioned to create value while avoiding public rebuke for neglecting to account for the environmental impacts of greatly increased digital activity.

This article explores the digital economy, the growing set of metrics used to assess environmental sustainability in a digital economy, the tools companies are using to improve efficiency, lessen environmental impacts and increase supply chain transparency and traceability, and tips for investors in assessing a company’s environmental awareness of the impacts of greatly increased digital activity.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Expands TRI Reporting Rules," Chemical Processing, May 17, 2021.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 29, 2021, that it will be “taking important steps under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to advance environmental justice, improve transparency, and increase access to environmental information.” The EPA plans to expand the scope of TRI reporting requirements to cover additional chemicals and facilities, including those not currently reporting ethylene oxide (EtO) releases. The agency also announced enhancements to its TRI reporting tools, but this article will focus on the chemical expansion effort and why it is significant.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EPA Eyes Stricter Phosphogypsum Rule," Chemical Processing, April 21, 2021.

In early April, a Florida pond that sits atop phosphogypsum tailings sprung a leak. State authorities scrambled to keep the pond from collapsing and flooding the surrounding area with millions of gallons of contaminated water. This situation likely wasn’t top of mind on February 8, 2021, when a group of environmental protection advocates prepared and submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a petition under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The petition seeks to reverse the EPA’s 1991 “Bevill” regulatory determination excluding phosphogypsum and process wastewater from phosphoric acid production (process wastewater) from hazardous waste regulation under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The timing of the Florida near-catastrophe could not be more ironic.

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