Proposed EHS Regulatory Changes, USA & Canada — August-September 2018

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Emission guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants may soon change

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed rules related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.

These rules would

  • Replace the Clean Power Plan (GHG standards for power plants) with revised emissions guidelines that inform the development, submittal, and implementation of state plans to reduce GHG emissions from certain power plants.
  • Create new regulations that direct the EPA and the states on how to implement the emission guidelines.
  • Revise the New Source Review (NSR) program so that facilities that implement certain efficiency measures do not trigger NSR review.

Comments must be received on or before October 30, 2018.


Twenty-nine substances may soon require premanufacture notices

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to apply the Significant New Use rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act to 29 chemical substances. If this proposal passes, these substances will be the subject of premanufacture notices. Persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process any of these 29 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use would be required to notify the EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity.

Persons would also not be allowed to commence manufacture or processing for the significant new use until the EPA conducts a review of the notice, makes an appropriate determination on the notice, and takes such actions as are required with the determination.

Comments must be received on or before September 26, 2018.


Comments sought on potential new emission standards for cars and light trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are seeking comments on the “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks”, which would amend certain existing Corporate Average Fuel Economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks and establish new standards, all covering model years 2021 through 2026.

Comments are requested on or before October 23, 2018.


Proposal seeks to amend emission standards for clay ceramic manufacturing

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comments on its proposal to amend emission standards for the Clay Ceramics Manufacturing industry. The suggested changes are as follows:

  • Revision of the temperature monitoring methodology used to demonstrate continuous compliance with the dioxin/furan (D/F) emissions limit
  • Addressing concerns regarding visible emissions (VE) monitoring of tunnel kiln stacks for continuous compliance with particulate matter (PM) and mercury (Hg) emission limitations
  • Amendments to the requirements for weekly visual inspections of system ductwork and control device equipment for water curtain spray booths
  • Amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) to include provisions for emissions averaging and make technical corrections

Comments must be received on or before October 4, 2018.


Annual registration fees for motor carriers and others may be reduced

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing to reduce the annual registration fees that States collect from motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies for the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement for the 2019, 2020, and subsequent registration years.

Comments must be received on or before August 31, 2018.


Comments sought on current driver hours-of-service rules and potential changes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking comments on the following provisions related to hours-of-service rules for commercial motor vehicle drivers:

  • The short-haul hours of service limit
  • The hours of service exception for adverse driving conditions
  • The 30-minute rest break provision
  • The sleeper berth rule to allow drivers to split their required time in the sleeper berth
  • A request to amend the hours of service rules to allow drivers to take a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for up to three consecutive hours if the driver is off-duty
  • The prohibition against driving after the 14th hour of the beginning of the work shift
  • Whether to allow drivers to use multiple off-duty periods of three hours or longer in lieu of having 10 consecutive hours off-duty

Comments must be received on or before September 24, 2018.


Transportation-related rules pertaining to payment and filing procedures could soon change

The Surface Transportation Board is proposing to modify its rules pertaining to certain payment, filing, and service procedures to increase the use of electronic filing and payment systems.

Comments are due by September 24, 2018.


Public comments sought on replacing existing regulations governing the designation of the red wolf

The Fish and Wildlife Service are reopening the public comment period on the proposal to replace the existing regulations governing the nonessential experimental population designation of the red wolf (Canis rufus).

Comments received or postmarked on or before August 28, 2018 will be accepted.



Cap and trade program could end soon

Changes to legislation may be coming that would repeal the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016  and provide for matters related to this repeal.

These changes would notably:

  • Require the government to establish targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions for the province and adopt a climate change plan;
  • Retire all cap and trade instruments that were equivalent to the aggregate amount of greenhouse gas emission of a participant for the prescribed time period, and cancel all other instruments distributed or not;
  • Provide for compensation for some participants of the cap and trade program;
  • Protect the [Province of Ontario] and its agents from liability by preventing “any cause of action from arising against the [Province of Ontario] […] as a result of various […] matters [related to], the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016”; and
  • Bar any proceedings against the Province of Ontario or its agents related to the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act

These changes are proposed by means of a bill that, at the time of publication of this alert, had reached second reading.



New rules could be coming for dump body safety devices

New rules that would apply to dump body safety devices for certain heavy vehicles could be put in place soon.

These rules, which would apply to vehicles whose raised dump body’s height is equal or superior to 4.15 m, would require flashing red warning lights and audible warning devices and specify their characteristics such as position, frequency, intensity, and the automatic activation.

These changes would be put into place by enacting the Regulation respecting dump body safety devices under the Highway Safety Code , which would enter into force on April 18, 2019. Interested persons can forward comments concerning these changes until October 13, 2018.