A key provision in the Clean Water Act (CWA) prevents discharge of pollutants into navigable waters, which is defined to be the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The WOTUS language is, therefore, a trigger for determining whether the Federal CWA will apply to many discharges, wetlands, and other activities.
After remaining mostly status quo for a number of years, many programs dealing with waste and remediation will be changing in 2016 and we will see the implementation of changes that arrived in 2015.
The recent improvements in the real estate market, and the shift toward city living, have made urban real estate redevelopment more desirable. However, with the uncertainties and increased costs of redevelopment, incentives are still a necessary component of many projects. Not only do these programs provide funding for extraordinary brownfield costs, but they can provide funding for construction, infrastructure, site preparation, and operating costs if a financing gap exists.
Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers must provide their workers with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires that employers must first try to eliminate or reduce hazards by making feasible changes in working conditions rather than relying on personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, or earplugs.
Facilities that store oil and polluting materials above certain quantities require a PIPP (Pollution Incident Prevention Plan). Polluting materials include oils of any kind, salt, and chemicals listed in Rule 9 and mixtures containing more than 1% of these materials.
A PIPP is required if your facility exceeds the following thresholds:
Every day, Michiganders throw valuable commodities like paper, metal and plastic in the garbage for a one-way trip to a landfill. Meanwhile manufacturers are spending money on the same materials to incorporate into their products.
In fact, Michiganders dispose more than $435 million dollars of recyclable paper, metal, glass and plastic every year. Those buried resources represent wasted energy, economic value and jobs.
In the 2014 “lame duck” session, the Michigan Legislature passed Amendments to Part 201 (Environmental Remediation) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). Governor Snyder signed them into law in January 2015 as Public Act 542, which creates new definitions and amends current provisions regarding remediation and cleanup at sites where hazardous substances have been released.
Here are some of the key changes made to Part 201:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s September 2014 updated recordkeeping rule includes two key changes. First, the rule expands the list of severe work-related injuries and illnesses that all covered employers must report to OSHA. The revised rule retains the current requirement to report all fatalities within 8 hours and adds the requirement to report all inpatient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours to OSHA.
Pollution reduction is great for the environment, and it’s also great for business. Projects to slow or eliminate the creation of pollutants translate to reduced business costs, both from increased efficiency and from avoided environmental compliance costs. As an added bonus, these projects create an opportunity for public goodwill and the enhanced reputation that often comes with improving sustainability.
The Department of Environmental Quality can help, offering low-interest loans to small businesses for pollution-reduction projects.
The Michigan Chamber is seeking input on what state environmental rules need to be changed or deleted. The Office of Regulatory Reinvention is seeking recommendations on what rules its Environmental Rules Advisory Committee should review. Make sure to share your recommendations on how we can help reinvent Michigan’s regulatory system. There is a limited window of time to provide feedback.