NHTSA Adopts Rule Requiring Automatic Emergency Braking on Light Vehicles

On May 9, 2024, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a final rule adopting a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) that requires automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems in U.S. light vehicles and trucks by September 2029. The rule is required under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 (BIL), in which Congress directed NHTSA to establish FMVSS requirements for AEB systems as well as three other Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS): lane departure warnings, lane-keeping assist, and forward collision warnings (FCW).

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The Enforcement Angle: New Generation of Nuclear – Advanced Reactors

Join Sidley for the Environmental Law Institute’s People Places Planet Podcast series, “The Enforcement Angle.” Through this series, Sidley lawyers discuss state and federal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations with senior enforcement officials and thought leaders on environmental enforcement in the United States and globally. The featured guests offer their insights into the challenging environmental issues facing corporations today.

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U.S. EPA Proposes Revisions to Project Emissions Accounting Under New Source Review

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program that would make it more difficult to net out of NSR requirements by changing how to calculate the net emissions resulting from a facility modification. EPA also proposes to define the term “project” more narrowly to prevent sources from aggregating changes to net out of major NSR requirements. The proposal would revise reforms adopted only four years earlier during the Trump administration that had provided additional flexibility to sources making changes to their operations.

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Phase 2 Revisions to U.S. National Environmental Policy Act Regulations Streamline Process, Expand Agency Review

On Wednesday, May 1, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published Phase 2 of its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rulemaking, concluding the Biden-Harris administration’s multiyear effort to “simplify and modernize” the federal environmental review process. CEQ’s Phase 2 rulemaking is broader and more comprehensive than Phase 1 — which primarily restored three narrow elements of the NEPA regulations to their pre-2020 form — and incorporates amendments as directed by Congress under the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) and BUILDER Act of 2023, including page and time limits for environmental assessments (EA) and environmental impact statements (EIS).  (more…)

EPA Chemical Safety Rule Raises Questions About Authority

For what appears to be the first time in its history, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently finalized a rule that requires board-level involvement in an EPA-administered program. Specifically, the EPA’s recent amendments to the Risk Management Program (RMP) require certain chemical plants and refineries to submit third-party audit reports on process safety directly to the audit committee of the company’s board of directors. In short, the EPA is seeking to get involved in corporate governance by dictating what information management must provide to the audit committee and when — regardless of management input. In this article, first published in Law360 on April 25, 2024, Sidley lawyers Justin Savage, Ike Adams, and Aaron Flyer dissect the recent RMP amendments, which are a follow up to the EPA’s Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention rule, finalized March 11, 2024. The authors explore the EPA’s authority to regulate corporate governance requirements, the practical value in doing so, and the potential fallout for companies in terms of corporate governance. If the new RMP rule survives judicial review, it may embolden the EPA to issue other board reporting obligations in any number of its regulatory programs governing corporate operations.

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U.S. EPA Announces New “Strategic Civil-Criminal Enforcement Policy”

On April 17, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its “Strategic Civil-Criminal Enforcement Policy,” a landmark new internal enforcement policy for its civil and criminal enforcement offices (the Policy) that signals a paradigm shift in how the agency will assess, coordinate, and prosecute civil (including administrative) and criminal environmental enforcement. In the Policy, EPA states that it has already started increasing communication and collaboration between its enforcement offices in recent years, which EPA believes has led to better case screening and more consistent enforcement responses across regions. But the Policy goes far beyond those less formal efforts and reflects EPA’s stated goal to continue toward an integrated approach, moving away from its prior, more bifurcated approach to civil and criminal enforcement.

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U.S. EPA Announces New National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for PFAS

On April 10, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first-ever legally enforceable drinking water standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a group of thousands of manmade chemicals that have been manufactured and used globally since the 1940s. They are commonly found in textiles, cookware, packaging, plastics, and firefighting foams. PFAS are typically very persistent in the environment and in the human body, meaning that they do not break down and can accumulate over long periods of time. For that reason, they are often called “forever chemicals.” This action is the most recent step in the EPA’s October 2021 “PFAS Strategic Roadmap,” a report establishing action items to address PFAS contamination and timelines for their completion.

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Progresses Efforts to License Advanced Reactors

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Agency) continues to progress the Agency’s efforts to license commercial advanced reactors under two parallel paths. The Agency is reviewing applications for licensing of advanced reactors under the existing regulatory framework (10 CFR Part 50 and 10 CFR Part 52) while developing a “risk-informed” and “technology-inclusive” regulatory framework for advanced reactor technologies and designs — 10 CFR Part 53.

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<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/b/boxerman-samuel-b">Samuel B. Boxerman</a>

Samuel B. Boxerman

Washington, D.C.
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/b/brown-keturah-a">Keturah A. Brown</a>

Keturah A. Brown

Washington, D.C.
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/d/dickson-gerbas-grace">Grace Dickson Gerbas</a>

Grace Dickson Gerbas

Dallas
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/h/healey-terence-t">Terence T. Healey</a>

Terence T. Healey

Boston
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/i/irvin-kenneth-w">Kenneth W. Irvin</a>

Kenneth W. Irvin

Washington, D.C.
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/p/polito-christopher-j">Christopher J. Polito</a>

Christopher J. Polito

Washington, D.C.
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/k/khan-casey">Casey Khan</a>

Casey Khan

Houston
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/l/lisak-michael-l">Michael L. Lisak</a>

Michael L. Lisak

Chicago
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/b/bolen-brittany-a">Brittany A. Bolen</a>

Brittany A. Bolen

Washington, D.C.
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/f/flyer-aaron-l">Aaron L. Flyer</a>

Aaron L. Flyer

Washington, D.C.
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/h/hildebrandt-brooklyn">Brooklyn Hildebrandt</a>

Brooklyn Hildebrandt

Los Angeles
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/n/noelliste-nicole-e">Nicole E. Noëlliste</a>

Nicole E. Noëlliste

Washington, D.C.
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/p/posen-hannah">Hannah Posen</a>

Hannah Posen

Chicago
<a target=‘_blank’ href="https://www.sidley.com/en/people/r/raffetto-jack-c">Jack Raffetto</a>

Jack Raffetto

Washington, D.C.

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