Environmental Regulatory Update – November 2016

Posted on November 18, 2016

Download the full report for November 4, 2016 (pdf)

Recent Developments (Updated November 4, 2016)

EPA Retains Lead NAAQS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declined to revise the existing lead national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) after finding that the current standard of .15 micrograms per cubic meter provides the requisite protection of public health with an adequate margin of safety. EPA also found that the available evidence did not support lowering the secondary standard to address ecosystem (i.e., welfare) effects. The final rule can be found in the October 18, 2016 Federal Register at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys.

OSHA Issues Recommended Safety Practices

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new guidance document—Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs—to help employers establish a methodical approach for finding and fixing hazards before they cause injury or illness. The document identifies seven core program elements followed by action items, which are broken down into specific tasks for accomplishing the particular action item. The seven core program elements are: management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, program evaluation and improvement, and communication and coordination for host employers, contractors and staffing agencies. The document updates OSHA’s 1989 recommended practices guidelines to reflect changes in the workplace, including the shift from a manufacturing to a service base, the introduction of new hazards, greater workforce diversity, and increased temporary and contract employment. The guidelines can be found on the OSHA website at: www.osha.gov/shpguidelines/index.html.

Other Recent Developments


  • AIR: EPA updated its 2011 multi-state Cross-State Air Pollution Rule cap-and-trade program regulations to address interstate emission transport with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS after finding that ozone season NOx emissions in 22 eastern states adversely affect the ability of downwind states to attain and maintain the ozone standard.
  • AIR: EPA revised the public notice provisions for permits issued under the Title V and New Source Review permit programs, replacing its newspaper publication requirement with electronic notice, while giving delegated states the option of continuing to rely on newspaper publication if they choose.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE: EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration adopted stricter greenhouse gas emission standards and improved fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses, including semi trucks, certain trailers, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles, such as dump and cement trucks, buses, emergency vehicles and tow trucks. The standards, which will be phased in from 2018 to 2027, are intended to be “technology-forcing,” with manufacturers expected to use technologies that are now under development or not yet widely deployed to achieve the standards.
  • REMEDIATION: EPA issued guidance intended to encourage responsible parties to pursue greener alternatives when developing and implementing remedial activities under the federal Superfund program, while continuing to meet the threshold requirements of protecting public health and the environment and complying with applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements.
  • WATER: EPA announced a series of measures to assist communities with long-term stormwater management, including a draft guide to help communities develop a plan that integrates stormwater management with communities’ broader plans for economic development, infrastructure investment, and environmental compliance.
  • GENERAL: EPA issued its EJ 2020 Action Agenda, a strategic plan for advancing environmental justice throughout the agency for the period 2016-2020 that builds on the foundation established by EPA’s Plan EJ 2014.