March ’24 at-a-glance … environment

SEC finalizes disclosure rule for climate-related risks

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a final rule requiring most publicly traded companies (and potentially those with public debt) to disclose climate-related risks in their registration statements and annual reports. Companies will be required to disclose Scope 1 direct emissions and Scope 2 indirect emissions. The requirement to report Scope 3 emissions from companies’ supply chains and users of their products was removed from the final rule. Disclosure is required 18 months after the final rule appears in the Federal Register.  

Numerous legal challenges have already been filed. On Friday, March 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary stay on the Final Rule’s implementation. These challenges will likely be consolidated into a potential Supreme Court review. NAFEM will monitor developments and provide further updates in the weeks ahead. 

California natural gas bans overruled unless Supreme Court intervenes 

A federal appeals court has declined to rehear the April 2023 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the Berkeley, California ban on natural gas hookups in new buildings. Unless the state Supreme Court decides to hear the case, this decision effectively makes bans against new natural gas hookups illegal in California. More than 75 California cities had gas bans on the books. 

New York is the first state to ban natural gas and other fossil fuels in most new buildings. The ban applies to new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026, and taller buildings by 2029. More than 100 U.S. cities have moved to restrict gas-powered appliances. Most of these bans focus on new construction. It is unclear how they will proceed given the California decision. 

Wisconsin considers PFAS ban 

Wisconsin joins the growing list of states proposing to ban intentionally added PFAS in cookware and other items. If Senate Bill 1093 advances, it would be effective Jan. 1, 2028 and establish penalties of $100 per product per day.   

NY State considers tightening HFC standards 

Proposed hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) reductions in New York State could impact manufacturers of automatic commercial icemakers (ACIM) and commercial refrigeration equipment (CRE). Comments were due March 19.