Earlier this month, OSHA issued a proposed rule that would update the Hazard Communication Standard in an effort to reduce chemical-related occupational injuries and illnesses. The rule includes revised requirements for labels and the contents of safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals. These updates could impact how facilities handle their Hazardous Chemical Inventories and Tier II reporting under Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Other significant environmental actions to keep an eye on:

2021 MSGP update

The long-awaited update of the Multi-Sector General Permit was published by the EPA and will go into effect on March 1. The updated permit incorporates revisions for a variety of components of the 2015 permit, including requirements for benchmark monitoring and signage. Operators with permit coverage under the 2015 MSGP (which has been administratively continued) have until May 30, 2021, to submit a new Notice of Intent (NOI).

Memo reverses ban on popular settlement tool

The ban on Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) was lifted as part of a memorandum issued by the U.S. Department of Justice. SEPs are projects that are voluntarily undertaken by defendants in enforcement actions that provide environmental benefits to local communities and can help offset penalties for violations of federal environmental laws.

Next steps for environmental justice

In a climate-focused executive order, President Biden tasked his climate advisers with formulating recommendations to meet a goal where disadvantaged communities get 40 percent of the benefits from federal climate action. The benefits include areas such as clean energy and energy efficiency, public transit, and affordable and sustainable housing. Increased enforcement actions, including stiff penalties, for facilities located near these communities or whose operations impact these communities are likely.

About the experts

Meghan Krishnayya, Indianapolis, is the Compliance & Permitting Service Line Director for Brown and Caldwell, with expertise in environmental regulatory program strategy development and implementation.

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