Environment, Land & Resources

How to Prepare for California’s Updated Prop 65 Regulations: Part 3

Posted in California

Upcoming regulation will change substantive components of Prop 65 warnings. 

By Michael G. Romey and Lucas I. Quass

As discussed in Part 1 of Latham’s previous posts, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) will modify how the department implements the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly known as Proposition 65 (Prop 65) on August 30, 2018. In 2016, OEHHA published new regulations (the 2016 Regulations) for Prop 65 enforcement that will increase businesses’ responsibility to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning to consumers for products that contain carcinogens and/or reproductive toxins. OEHHA intended for the updated clear and reasonable requirements to improve access to information for California consumers considering purchasing products containing certain chemicals that the State designates as causing cancer or reproductive harm. As discussed in Part 2 of this series, the 2016 Regulations explain which businesses in the supply chain are responsible for each part of the Prop 65 warning process.

The 2016 Regulations require different warning content than earlier Prop 65 regulations, and also provide new “safe harbor language” which, if followed, are by regulation clear and reasonable. Cal. Code. Regs. tit. 27, § 25603(a). Distributors, suppliers, manufacturers, producers, packagers, and importers (Upstream Entities) will be responsible for developing warning content that complies with the 2016 Regulations before they become effective on August 30th. This blog post will discuss the new safe harbor content provided by the 2016 Regulations. The post is part of a continuing series on Prop 65 compliance issues for entities within the California chain of commerce to consider, as the new regulations become effective on August 30, 2018. The 2016 Regulations are only applicable to products manufactured on or after August 30th. Continue Reading

Water Management in Oil & Gas Production: Market Drivers and Legal Issues

Posted in Power, Oil, Gas and Minerals, Project Siting and Approval, Water Quality and Supply

Latham lawyers discuss the forces driving transformation in the market and the key legal and regulatory issues.

By Tommy Beaudreau, Joel Beauvais, Joel Mack, Ryan Maierson, and Janice Schneider

Water management is becoming increasingly critical amid increasing oil and gas production in the Permian Basin and other regions of the United States. In particular, many companies are now seeking to manage larger quantities of produced water, and/or to secure water supplies for drilling activities — leading them to develop new infrastructure and new business models focused on water transport, treatment, and reuse.

Latham & Watkins lawyers discuss how these rapid changes in the US oil and gas industry are creating opportunities for new entrants, while spurring a flurry of M&A and capital markets activity. The 60-minute program will cover a number of key issues related to water management in oil and gas production, including:

  • State and federal policies affecting produced water discharge, injection, and reuse
  • Seismicity concerns
  • Property and liability issues
  • Innovative infrastructure financing opportunities

View the webcast or download the presentation slides on-demand at any time by registering here.

Green Finance Institute to Launch in London

Posted in European Environmental and Public Law, Green Finance, Project Siting and Approval

Initiative will advance the UK’s Paris Agreement targets by serving as a “one-stop shop for world-leading climate science, and for capital.”

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has announced plans to launch a Green Finance Institute (GFI), through funding from both the UK government and the City of London Corporation. The initiative aims to help the UK reach its climate targets under the Paris Agreement by developing and promoting investment in the green finance market, while bolstering the future of the UK’s financial services sector. According to the Chancellor, the establishment of the GFI will mean that “firms from across the world can access our one-stop-shop for world-leading climate science, and for capital.”

The move reflects recommendations from the Green Financial Taskforce that were published in a March 2018 report. In the report, the Green Financial Taskforce suggested establishing a specific institute with the purpose of promoting green finance in order to expedite and enhance sustainable finance in the UK. Continue Reading

UK Government to Abolish CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, Power, Oil, Gas and Minerals

Relief from the mandatory scheme will reduce the administrative burden on non-energy intensive companies.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) — which first came into operation on 1 April 2010 — will be abolished at the end of the 2018-19 compliance year, pursuant to the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (Revocation and Savings) Order 2018 (SI 2018/841) (the Order). The CRC is a mandatory carbon emissions trading scheme that applies to large UK business and public organisations.

The CRC was aimed at increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions from large non-intensive energy users. These emissions are thought to constitute around 10% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the UK. The scheme applied to organisations that, over the course of a year, used more than 6,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of certain electricity and had at least one half-hourly meter settled on the half-hourly electricity market. Continue Reading

The Chinese Government Announced Measures to Assist With ETS Implementation

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, China, Project Siting and Approval

Updates underscore China’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions despite government agency reshuffling.

By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate

The Climate Change Department (CCD) of the newly formed Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) has announced its official updates in relation to China’s low carbon-development strategy generally and the National Emissions Trading System (ETS) in particular. This announcement took place at the sixth Low Carbon Day celebration (13 June, 2018) and marked the CCD’s first public event since it was transferred to the MEE from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the state agency originally tasked with developing the ETS.

President Xi recently took the opportunity at the National Ecology and Environmental Protection Conference to stress the importance of a national climate change strategy through a governance system, in order to demonstrate China’s commitment to the cause. Continue Reading

Chinese Authorities Crack Down on Yangtze River Environmental Offenders

Posted in China, Contaminated Properties & Waste, Water Quality and Supply

Polluters of one of China’s most polluted waterways are increasingly facing prosecution through coordinated local and national efforts.

By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate

Chinese authorities have been increasing their efforts to prosecute environmental offenders along the Yangtze River, the third-longest river in the world and the longest in Asia. The crackdown reflects China’s goal to make 70% of its surface water safe to consume by 2020.

Water Pollution: A Serious Problem for China

China’s government has good reason to take the problem of water pollution seriously. In 2012, a senior official from the water ministry acknowledged that 20% of China’s waterways were classified as toxic, while 40% were seriously polluted. The World Bank has further noted that water pollution could have “catastrophic consequences for future generations,” and that the problem is compounded by the fact that China does not have enough water for its population to safely consume. (For more information on China’s water supply, see Latham’s previous blog post). Continue Reading

China Releases 2020 Air Pollution Action Plan

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, China

The plan’s stricter and more targeted requirements will impact a broader range of provinces, including the Fen-Wei Plains.

By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate

China has released a new three-year action plan for 2018 to 2020 to combat air pollution. The previous air pollution action plan, published in 2013, has played a significant role in improving air quality in major cities. China’s updated plan, which was released on July 3, draws on additional information and research to provide more targeted requirements.

Success of the 2013 plan

The former plan set a coal cap across China with varying limits in different provinces. For example, the plan required Beijing to reduce its coal consumption by half from 2015 to 2018. The plan’s success was due in part to the state’s ownership of a large number of China’s worst polluters, making them easier to control. Furthermore, because half of China’s pollution comes from coal-burning power stations, the country needs a less varied range of policies to order to target pollution compared with other countries. Continue Reading

How to Prepare for California’s Updated Prop 65 Regulations: Part 2

Posted in California, Water Quality and Supply

Upstream entities will need to shoulder more responsibility in the warning process after August 30th.

By Michael G. Romey and Lucas I. Quass

As discussed in Latham’s previous post, August 30, 2018 will mark a significant change in the enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition 65 (Prop 65). California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which is responsible for the implementation of Prop 65, published new regulations in 2016 (2016 Regulations) that will adjust how businesses provide what OEHHA deems “clear and reasonable” warnings to consumers about products that may result in an exposure to a chemical listed by the State as potentially causing cancer and/or reproductive harm. Among other obligations, the 2016 Regulations will require businesses to provide consumers with more information about chemicals listed under Prop 65 in consumer products, whether bought online or in person. The 2016 Regulations also explain which entities in the chain of commerce are primarily responsible for compliance with particular Prop 65 requirements.

Specifically, the 2016 Regulations impose more responsibility on upstream entities, such as manufacturers, distributors, packagers, importers, producers, and suppliers (Upstream Entities), shifting the primary burden away from retailers. See CAL. CODE REGS. tit. 27, § 25600.2(a) (2016). This increase in responsibility is based on OEHHA’s understanding that Upstream Entities possess superior knowledge about which chemicals are involved in producing consumer products. The 2016 Regulations also provide retailers with the opportunity to secure legal indemnity via written agreement with Upstream Entities. Id. § 25600.2(i).

This blog post is part of a continuing series on Prop 65 compliance issues aimed at entities within the California chain of commerce, as the 2016 Regulations become effective on August 30, 2018. The 2016 Regulations are applicable to products manufactured on or after August 30, 2018.

Continue Reading

California WaterFix: an Historic Vote Is a Major Step Forward

Posted in California, Water Quality and Supply

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California leadership increases the possibility of much-needed relief for California’s aging water-supply infrastructure.

By Paul N. Singarella, Daniel P. Brunton, and Lucas I. Quass

The California WaterFix is the most expensive, important, and controversial water infrastructure project in California, and perhaps the country, in decades. At a price tag of US$16.3 billion, WaterFix is designed to restore reliability to an aging water-supply infrastructure that serves 25 million Californians and more than three million acres of California farmland. WaterFix can be thought of as an insurance policy for the California economy, and indeed society at large, against possible — and potentially catastrophic — further loss of this critical water supply. An historic July 10 vote by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) was a major step forward, and vote of confidence, for WaterFix, increasing the likelihood that the promise of WaterFix will be realized.

The Evolution of California WaterFix

Together, the State Water Project (SWP) and the Central Valley Project (CVP) form the largest water supply system in the country. This system diverts water from the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and conveys it hundreds of miles to places like Silicon Valley, Southern California, and otherwise parched farmland that cannot survive on local supplies alone. The Delta is the lynchpin of this system, the gateway through which virtually all water conveyed from the Northern California rivers to the rest of the state must pass. The Delta is used this way because the SWP/CVP system was never completed. Original planning decades ago proposed to run fresh river water around the Delta. Instead the water enters the Delta where it mixes with brackish Delta water before it is diverted. Continue Reading