Industry regulation news and trends

you welcome in Industry regulation news and trends. In this regular newsletter, DLA Piper attorneys provide brief updates on key industry developments to help you navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape.

The EPA is expanding its definition of PFAS chemicals. On November 2, the EPA announced that it was expanding its definition of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for the purpose of identifying potential contaminants in drinking water. In the past, the agency used a limited definition of PFAS, which was “chemicals with at least two adjacent carbon atoms, one of which is fully fluorinated, and the other is at least partially fluorinated.” However, the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act decision expands this definition to include fluorocarbons with highly branched carbon chains and certain fluoroethers. The resolution also adds PFAS as a group to the agency’s list of candidate substances for regulation in drinking water.

Hyundai is requesting a delay in implementing the electric vehicle tax credit. On November 8, Reuters reported that Hyundai Motor Group and other automakers had submitted comments calling for the United States to delay implementing a set of new tax credit rules for electric vehicles. Vehicles assembled outside North America are not eligible to claim these tax credits. The remarks were in response to a call for public comment by the US Treasury Department, which is drafting rules for implementing new legislation providing tax breaks. Hyundai, which is building a $5.5 billion electric vehicle and battery plant in Georgia, has asked the Treasury Department to allow its foreign-made electric vehicles to be eligible so that it can start producing electric vehicles in the United States. South Korea, Japan, Brazil and the European Union have already criticized the $7,500 tax credit, which was signed into law in August by President Joe Biden as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which promptly excluded most electric vehicles for credits.

The new Massachusetts law will affect recycling and organic waste. On November 1, a new law went into effect in Massachusetts that will affect manufacturers in that state. Mattresses and textiles will no longer be allowed as rubbish; Instead, it must be recycled. The country is also lowering the threshold for commercial organic waste disposal. Since 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has prohibited the disposal of commercial organic waste by companies and organizations that produce one or more tons of these materials per week. The threshold has now been lowered to a ton or more per week. The new organic matter threshold also applies to composting facilities that produce tailings. Composting facilities are now required to address how they plan to manage leftover materials if they produce a ton or more per week.

Does recycling really help, or does it cause more problems? Bloomberg News correspondent Dasha Afanasyeva wrote on November 11 that the world’s largest users of plastic seem almost certain to miss the goal of using reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. Afanasyeva explained that the main problem with recycling is that Melting different types of plastic can multiply the additives that are produced – in addition to their potential health risks. She noted that a study published in Hazardous Substances Journal Earlier this year, more additives were found to leach from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles into the bottle’s contents than from virgin plastic. The researchers said that recycled plastic may be contaminated with chemicals when collected and sorted, but it is still not clear exactly how this contamination occurs.

The appeal brief says the EPA lacks the authority to set emissions standards for light vehicles. On November 3, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and other litigants filed a brief with the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in Texas vs. Environmental Protection Agency, a high-profile case concerning greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles. From 2023, the new rules aim to regulate a 28.3 percent reduction in vehicle emissions. The issue is being watched closely by the auto industry; Fourteen US states, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association, and some soybean and corn grower associations are challenging the rule. The plaintiffs contend that the EPA exceeded its authority by attempting to set fleet-wide average emissions standards for these vehicles. No date has been set for arguing the case.

A major international plastics recycling treaty will be negotiated later this month. World leaders recently announced that the first negotiations for a planned global plastics treaty will take place from November 28 through December 2 in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The conference follows a February 2022 agreement between more than 175 countries to craft a legally binding treaty to address the full life cycle of plastic pollution. Environmental advocates say the February agreement was a historic first step toward meaningful progress on plastics. However, they note that many key details still have to be negotiated, starting this month in Punta del Este. The new coalition that has pledged to work for big changes for plastics already has the support of 85 different organisations, financial institutions and NGOs who have signed up to its vision of an “effective and ambitious” treaty. The coalition wants a “circular economy approach” with all plastics being widely reused, recycled or composted.

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