Subscriber Login

Homepage

Appellate judges appear to agree with EPA lawyers that labor and other groups generally lack standing to challenge the agency's framework rule for evaluating risks of existing chemicals under the revised toxics law, but they left the door open to sue over officials' decision to preclude legacy uses from the scope of any evaluation.

Latest News

Worker advocates are urging OSHA to bolster protections for whistleblowers who report health and safety violations by speeding investigations of claims and supporting Democrats' proposals to improve protections, though a contractor says it would be more efficient to first identify whether some whistleblowers are just disgruntled employees.

On the eve of a key appellate hearing, EPA and environmentalists are sparring over the groups' standing to challenge one of EPA's framework rules for implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), responding to a court order that asks the parties to address the issue in the upcoming oral arguments.

OSHA has issued its long-awaited final rule amending a series of existing standards to remove or revise duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent requirements though, as expected, the measure drops an Obama-era plan to expand when OSHA’s so-called “lockout/tagout” safety standard applies to power equipment that is shut off for repairs.

A labor union attorney says environmental statutes' citizen suit provisions could give workers a powerful tool in their fight to reduce their exposures to hazardous chemicals, because laws such as the Clean Air Act impose much greater penalties for violations that increase exposures compared to workplace safety statutes.

The chairman and ranking member of a Senate governmental affairs committee panel are poised to introduce bills they say will make “surgical fixes” to the regulatory process by creating a test to ensure health and safety rules are effective via future retrospective reviews and providing more opportunity for early input on proposed measures.

Top House Republicans say they could agree to a compromise with Democrats on a bill to limit asbestos risks, though they say any deal will have to address concerns that a bill does not unduly limit production of chlorine used to treat drinking water and does not impose infeasible testing and other requirements on federal agencies.

An Arizona-based group is stepping up its effort to have a federal appellate court overturn the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the law Republicans and President Donald Trump used to repeal a suite of Obama-era worker safety policies issued by OSHA.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says the Labor Department (DOL) is considering writing a new procedural rule that would limit OSHA and other entities' use of guidance documents to make policy in the wake of an Inspector General finding that the agency, during the Obama administration, did not take adequate steps when issuing guidance, opening it up to legal challenges.

EPA's recently finalized rule regulating renewed uses of asbestos expanded the number of applications subject to regulation but cut some of those applications from a related risk evaluation of existing uses, angering critics who say the agency is further narrowing any future toxics rule on existing uses and shows why a total ban on asbestos is needed.

Short Takes

President Trump’s nominee to lead OSHA, Scott Mugno, could soon be confirmed by the Senate after Republicans moved unilaterally to scale back debate rules that had required 30 hours of debate on judicial and executive branch nominees before any votes to now only require two hours.

A Marine Corps veteran asking the Supreme Court to scrap its practice of deferring to OSHA and other agencies on their regulatory interpretations says the justices should reject the Trump administration’s push for a scaled-back deference doctrine, arguing such an outcome would have “bizarre, if not destructive” consequences.

A group of 34 House Democrats is urging Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to reinstate the Obama administration's 2016 final recordkeeping and reporting rule which required employers to submit to OSHA reports on workplace illnesses and injuries but which the Trump administration has scaled back to address what it says are privacy concerns.

The White House has completed its review of EPA’s rule limiting use of methylene chloride in paint strippers, clearing the way for the agency to issue a first-time measure targeting an existing chemical under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) though critics say it fails to adequately protect workers and falls short of an Obama plan.