‘Emission Shaming’ – EPA’s Latest Compliance Tactic And How To Protect Yourself

Introduction

The Scarlet Letter, a book written over a century ago, is a tale in which public shaming was used to punish, modify behavior, and serve as a lesson for others. What is old is new again, as EPA has taken a page from Nathaniel Hawthorne to paint a regulatory scarlet “E” on otherwise law-abiding companies.

EPA claims that the number of inspections and enforcement actions will drop thirty to forty per cent over the next five years due to budgetary constraints. In response, and instead of relying on state environmental agencies, who EPA regarded as its ‘partners’ for years, to perform their traditional enforcement function, EPA seeks to radically change the federal inspection-enforcement paradigm. By making information about emissions public and readily accessible, it clearly seeks to induce a regulated entity to reduce its emissions (even if those emissions are within permitted levels) so that the entity will not be regarded in the community in which it operates as an excessive polluter. If a facility remains impervious to this ’emission-shaming’ tactic, the information in the hands of the public may also be used by environmental groups to file citizen suits or by plaintiff attorneys to support damage claims. Continue reading “‘Emission Shaming’ – EPA’s Latest Compliance Tactic And How To Protect Yourself”

After Coal, Is EPA Pivoting to Oil?

After tightening the noose and choking the coal industry through such stringent regulatory efforts as the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) Rule and the Clean Power Plan, EPA now seems to be focusing its efforts on the petroleum industry. At least two recent rulemakings, one final and one proposed, impact the upstream, transmission and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry and serve to highlight EPA’s efforts to go beyond its regulation of coal to address oil. Continue reading “After Coal, Is EPA Pivoting to Oil?”

EPA’s Petroleum Refinery Rule Will Increase Litigation

The EPA issued its final rule on Sept. 29 seeking to further control emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from petroleum refineries. The rule imposes new requirements on storage vessels, delayed coker units and flares, and requires fenceline monitoring. Continue reading “EPA’s Petroleum Refinery Rule Will Increase Litigation”

The New Coal Combustion Residuals Rule – An Implementation and Enforcement Nightmare

Introduction

Almost five years after the proposal, EPA has issued its final rule regarding the disposal and beneficial use of coal combustion residuals (CCRs). The rule establishes federal standards for landfills and surface impoundments in which CCRs are disposed.

Importantly, though, the rule leaves the enforcement of those standards to citizens. This method of enforcement exposes owners and operators of CCR units to uncertain outcomes and litigation costs in a variety of different courts. Continue reading “The New Coal Combustion Residuals Rule – An Implementation and Enforcement Nightmare”

EPA Coal Ash Rule Will Foster Citizen Suits

EPA has issued its final rule regarding the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCRs). After seeking comments on whether to regulate CCRs as a hazardous or solid waste, it decided to regulate CCRs as a solid waste under subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), issuing minimum national standards for new and existing surface impoundments and landfills. The rule was published April 17. Continue reading “EPA Coal Ash Rule Will Foster Citizen Suits”