Environmental Regulatory Update – July 2018

Posted on July 30, 2018

Download the full report for July 11, 2018 (pdf)

Recent Developments (Updated July 11, 2018)

DEC Seeks Comment on Draft Climate Change Permitting Guidance

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking comment on draft guidance documents required to implement the 2014 Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA), which was enacted to ensure that decisions regarding certain State permits and expenditures consider climate risk, including sea level rise. The draft New York State Flood Risk Management Guidance for Implementation of the Community Risk and Resiliency Act provides guidance to State agencies on considering flooding risk for projects involving new and substantially improved structures or repair of substantially damaged structures in New York. The guidance—which addresses the proper approach to assessing flood risk under future conditions and the considerations for managing that risk—must be considered by State agencies as they review the rules/guidance for issuing permits covered by the CRRA, which include protection of waters, wetland, coastal erosion hazard area, hazardous waste, and petroleum and hazardous substance bulk storage permits, among others. The second draft guidance document explains how the risks associated with sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding should be considered in conjunction with the new smart growth assessments required under the Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act. The draft guidance documents can be found on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/energy/102559.html.

EPA Decides Not to Regulate Hazardous Substance Spills

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its intention not to establish new hazardous substance spill prevention requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA directs EPA to issue regulations to prevent the discharge of oil and hazardous substances from onshore and offshore facilities. Currently, EPA’s spill prevention, control and countermeasures (SPCC) program regulates only oil. However, in the wake of a major chemical tank spill that contaminated drinking water, environmental groups sued under the CWA to compel EPA to address hazardous substance spill prevention as well. With the recent notice, EPA proposed no new requirements under CWA § 311 after concluding that additional rules were not necessary given the frequency and impact of hazardous substance discharges and the extent of existing regulations. The proposed decision can be found in the June 25, 2018 Federal Register at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys.

Other Recent Developments


  • AIR: EPA proposed technical amendments to its emission standards and guidelines for new and existing commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units designed to clarify testing, monitoring and other requirements of the rule following a request for reconsideration.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE: EPA proposed renewable fuel standards setting the annual volume requirements for gasoline and diesel producers and importers for 2019 (2020 for biomass-based diesel) below those mandated by the Clean Air Act to address the continuing shortfall in cellulosic biofuel production.
  • REMEDIATION: EPA is proposing to significantly lower dust-lead hazard standards for lead in dust on floors and windowsills. The standards identify whether lead-based paint hazards are present in target housing and child-occupied facilities.  
  • CHEMICAL: EPA adopted reporting requirements to assist the agency in developing a national inventory of mercury supply, use and trade under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
  • CHEMICAL: EPA issued guidance documents implementing changes required under the 2016 revisions to TSCA relating to: developing alternatives to animal testing; addressing disclosure of confidential business information (CBI) to certain entities; assigning a unique identifier to chemicals when EPA approves a CBI claim; and preparing TSCA new chemical notifications. EPA also is accepting comment on draft guidance which provides assistance to companies in creating structurally descriptive generic names for chemical substances whose specific chemical identities are claimed to be CBI.
  • OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced creation of a new Occupational Chemical Database, providing information on chemical characteristics from government agencies and organizations into a single searchable online resource.
  • GENERAL: The Council on Environmental Quality is requesting comments on possible updates/improvements to the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental considerations in planning, decision-making and permitting.

New York State

  • WATER: DEC made available for comment its draft list of impaired waters required by Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, which identifies waters that do not support their current uses and so require development of a total maximum daily load or other strategy to improve water quality.