On September 21, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice of a proposed rule, “Review of Final Rule Reclassification of Major Sources as Area Sources Under Section 112.” The proposal adds requirements for regulated sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) to reclassify from major source status to area source status under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) program. Stakeholders who qualified under the revised policy adopted by the Trump administration should particularly take note of this further change by the Biden administration’s EPA. Comments are due by November 13, 2023.
On August 23, 2023, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) published additional guidance for the implementation of Clean Truck Check requirements under its Heavy Duty Inspection/Maintenance regulation. The requirements build on implementation guidance issued in June and set deadlines to achieve compliance with certain requirements beginning by December 31, 2023. Fleet owners and operators, and those contracting or brokering loads with heavy-duty trucks, should take note of CARB’s implementation timeline and prepare to comply with reporting and fee payment requirements beginning in the fourth quarter of 2023.
On August 3, 2023, the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation — created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to facilitate collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Transportation (DOT) — officially announced the members of its Electric Vehicle (EV) Working Group, an independent advisory board. Parties interested in the growth of EVs in the United States should take note of the group, which will coordinate and consult on the development, adoption, and integration of EVs into the transportation and energy systems of the United States.
Regulated entities in designated communities — compiled and termed the “Consistently Nominated AB 617 Communities list” — will want to pay close attention to updates from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on its Community Protection Program Blueprint 2.0. Currently, communities in the Bay Area, Imperial, San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Metropolitan, and South Coast air districts are on the list. As part of a mandate to reduce toxic air contaminant and criteria pollutant emissions in communities that have a high cumulative exposure burden, CARB is updating the Program Blueprint 2.0 as required under Assembly Bill 617, adopted by the California Legislature July 26, 2017. CARB’s present revisions may result in increased investigation and enforcement of regulated entities in these communities.
On June 13, 2023, the Biden administration released the 2023 Spring Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Agenda). The Agenda lists federal agencies’ planned “short-term” regulatory actions to be taken over the next 12 months and “long-term” actions under development. The dates listed in the Agenda are based on publication dates in the Federal Register. Stakeholders should take note, as the Agenda provides a window into the administration’s priorities and strategies:
A new bill introduced in the California legislature tees up corporate disclosure legislation that narrowly failed to pass the State Assembly during last year’s term. The bill would impose broad greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting requirements on large businesses doing business in California and could effectively set a national standard for these businesses to report GHG emissions.
On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released an updated version of its 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality. The plan sets ambitious goals for achieving carbon neutrality in California by 2045. Despite the plan’s being only a guiding document, it will likely lead to other agency actions that set stringent requirements related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Nikola case stands at the intersection of several emerging risk areas in the automotive industry. For example, as regulators in the U.S. and European Union continue to ratchet up the pressure on climate change goals, and environmental, social and corporate governance, boards need to be extra careful about their companies’ commitments to going carbon neutral and the efficacy of electric vehicles.
That means putting clear plans and metrics in place to ensure appropriate follow-through and effective communications with investors so that they are well-informed about the caveats, risks and limitations.
On Saturday, February 19, 2022, the United States appealed an injunction prohibiting federal agencies from adopting and relying on the interim Social Cost of Greenhouse Gas estimates established by the Interagency Working Group. (more…)
On February 11, 2022, Judge James Cain of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming (Plaintiff States) to prohibit federal agencies from adopting and relying on the interim Social Cost of Greenhouse Gas (SC-GHG) estimates established by the Interagency Working Group (IWG). Executive Order 13990 mandated that IWG publish estimates of the monetized damages associated with incremental increases in greenhouse gas emissions. (more…)