Current Trends in State and Federal Environmental Regulations

Mike Linder, Koley Jessen’s Environmental Practice leader, presented at an environmental conference in Washington D.C. on current trends in state and federal environmental regulations. The conference was held at the National Press Club and was sponsored by the Environmental Health, Safety, and Sustainability Management Roundtable (EHSS) on November 13 and 14, 2018. The presentation was titled “Emerging U.S. Environmental Regulatory Issues and the Federal-State Nexus” co-presented with Nick Steinke of Tellevate Consulting. EHSS is a coalition of senior environmental executives from Fortune 1000 firms who meet twice per year to exchange information with a goal of improving company programs.

Recent trends in environmental regulation include fundamental changes in direction in a number of areas. The presentation focused on those areas that will have the most impact on US business. First, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a desire to shift more authority and independence to states for federally delegated programs (primarily Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and hazardous waste management). Solving the question of “who does what?” between EPA and the States may benefit business by increasing efficiency, creating greater certainty of requirements, and better defining whether EPA or the State is the appropriate agency for given situations. Second, regulatory reform and roll back has been an ongoing focus area by EPA since the current Administration took office. Progress has been slow in this area for a number of reasons which were discussed. Finally, a change in emphasis by EPA on its approach to enforcement is taking shape and will change the way EPA gains compliance with regulations.

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