September ’22 at-a-glance … environment

DOE aims to cut industrial emissions

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $104 million in federal funding to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from heavy industry. The plan, or Industrial Carbonization Roadmap, focuses on four strategies to lower emissions from the industrial sector: energy efficiency, electrification, low-carbon fuels and carbon-capture technology. DOE intends to focus efforts on the chemical, iron, steel, food, beverage, cement, concrete and paper manufacturing industries. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heavy industry was responsible for 25% of U.S. GHG emissions in 2020.

EPA seeks to list certain PFAS as hazardous substances under Superfund

EPA proposes to designate two of the most widely used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.” According to the agency, it “is focused on holding responsible those who have manufactured and released significant amounts of PFOA and PFOS into the environment. EPA will use enforcement discretion and other approaches to ensure fairness for minor parties who may have been inadvertently impacted by the contamination. EPA anticipates that a final rule would encourage better waste management and treatment practices by facilities handling PFOA or PFOS.”

EPA intends to publish the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register in the next several weeks. Upon publication, EPA welcomes comments for a 60-day comment period. As a subsequent step, EPA anticipates issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking after the close of the comment period to seek public comment on designating other PFAS chemicals as CERCLA hazardous substances.

“This is part of ongoing efforts to regulate PFAs,” said Tammy Helminski, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg. “Another example is California Assembly Bill 2247 that requires manufacturers of products or components containing PFAS to register with a publicly available database by 2026.” Additionally, Colorado House Bill 22-1345 requires manufacturers of cookware containing “intentionally added PFAS chemicals” in the handle of the product or in any product surface that comes into contact with food or beverages to list the presence of such PFAS chemicals on the product label by Jan. 1, 2024.