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Environmental News

OSHA Proposes New Rule to Update Hazardous Communication Standard

April 6, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a new rule to update its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align it with the most recent version of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The proposed modifications include codifying enforcement policies which are already a part of  OSHA’s compliance directive, providing additional information related to the transport of hazardous chemicals, adding alternative labeling provisions for small containers, and implementing new requirements for the preparation of Safety Data Sheets (SDS). The HCS was last updated in 2012 to align it with the third version of the GHS. These proposed modifications will bring the HCS into better alignment with the seventh (2017) and eighth (2019) versions of the GHS, with the standards of our international trading partners, and with standards in other agencies including the Department of Transportation and the EPA. Unlike the 2012 HCS update which made major changes to the United States hazardous materials regulations and labeling requirements,…
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Environmental News, Regulatory News

Certificates of Environmental Liability Release

January 8, 2021

In 2016, the Contaminated Property Redevelopment Act authorized the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to issue Certificates of Environmental Liability Release (CELR) to certain prospective purchasers of contaminated properties. This policy was developed to encourage redevelopment of contaminated property for more productive use, by allowing buyers to avoid state cleanup liability. Blackstone has assisted multiple clients with successful CELR applications. Properties have included commercial sites, former gas stations, and former manufacturing facilities. For one client, a Phase I ESA identified the possible presence of a historical gas station on the property in the early 1960s, and a subsequent Phase II ESA confirmed the presence of hydrocarbon impacts in soil and groundwater above residential risk-based concentrations.  The liability release provided by the CELR obtained for this site allowed the property transaction to take place. For another client, Blackstone completed a Phase I ESA at a former manufacturing facility previously used for metal fabrication. The Phase I ESA identified one Historical Recognized Environmental Condition (REC)…
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Environmental News, Regulatory News

PHMSA Advisory Bulletin 2019-0087: Potential for Damage to Pipeline Facilities Caused by Earth Movement and Other Geological Hazards

September 22, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued Advisory Bulletin 2019-0087 in April of 2019.  The advisory bulletin was issued to remind owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines that earth movement, particularly in variable, steep, and rugged terrain and with varied geological subsurface conditions, can pose a threat to the integrity of a pipeline if those threats are not mitigated. (more…)
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Environmental News, Regulatory News

Final Waters of the United States Rule

June 5, 2020

On April 21, 2020 the EPA published the final Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in the Federal Register. Blackstone previously provided a summary of the finalized rule in a February 18, 2020 update. As discussed in our February WOTUS update, the new rule eliminates Clean Water Act protections for more than 18% of our streams and a majority of the nation's wetlands. (more…)
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Environmental News, Regulatory News

Nationwide Permit 12 Update

June 5, 2020

On April 15, 2020, the U.S. District Court for Montana vacated the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12). Specifically, the case involved the challenge by the Northern Plains Resource Council (plaintiffs) to the USACE’s authorization of the use of NWP 12 to permit the discharge of dredged or fill material to waters of the U.S. in connection with the construction of TC Energy’s Keystone Pipeline. (more…)
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Environmental News, Regulatory News

PFAS Regulatory Update

May 27, 2020

On May 19, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the next step to implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances. (more…)
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Environmental News, Recycling News

Low-Impact Products and Environmental Impact Based on Characteristics and Attributes

April 16, 2020

We discussed low impact materials in a previous post. This post continues in that vein through the consideration of material attributes. Those of us who strive to make environmentally conscious purchasing decisions make many assumptions about the environmental impact of a product based on the characteristics or attributes of that product. (more…)
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Environmental News, Recycling News

New Paradigm of Low-Impact Materials Shifts Recycling Responsibility from Consumers to Manufacturers

April 8, 2020

Recent research conducted by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the USEPA has shown that although a product may be recyclable, that does not always translate into the packaging having the least environmental impact. Instead, the entire life cycle of products and product packaging should be evaluated to determine their overall environmental impact.   (more…)
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Environmental News

Compostable Bowls Contain PFAS, Restaurant Chains and Manufacturers Begin to Make Changes

March 31, 2020

Many of us are taking advantage of drive-through and pick-up options at local eating establishments as we are adhering to stay-at-home orders. Some of that food will come in compostable bowls, which have replaced the use of Styrofoam. (more…)
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Environmental News, Solid Waste News

Landfill Fires Increase, Know the Risks

March 4, 2020

More than 8,000 landfill fires occur each year, ranging from minor surface fires to massive blazes. Due to the potential release of toxic smoke and gases, these fires represent a significant health and environmental concern. (more…)
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