solar panels - energyOn January 22, 2018, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced that the Trump Administration is granting relief for the domestic solar panels and modules industry under section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. This confirmed the fears of many consumers that there substantial additional duties would be imposed on those products. USTR announced that the relief would come in the form of a tariff increase of 30% in the first year, decreasing to 25% in year two, 20% in year three, and then to 15% in year four. On January 23, 2018, President Trump signed the Proclamation implementing the relief. The relief will go into effect on February 7, 2018. For additional information on the implications of this decision, you can read the full blog post on Husch Blackwell’s Emerging Energy Insights.

 

Container Ship in the Industrial Port of Miami, FloridaOn Tuesday, January 23, 2018, President Trump signed the Presidential Proclamation to Facilitate Adjustment to Competition from Imports of Large Residential Washers, thereby announcing the President’s decision regarding the investigation of large residential washers (LRWs) under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 (the LRW Safeguard Investigation). A copy of the Proclamation can be found here.

Continue Reading President Trump Announces Decision on Section 201 Safeguard Investigation of Large Residential Washers

On December 4, 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) amended its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The rule reduces the primary annual standard for PM2.5 from 15.0 to 12.0 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). DNR was required to promulgate this rule to be consistent with the U.S. EPA NAAQS for PM2.5, published in January, 2013. The DNR rule is scheduled to be effective January 1, 2018, and will be submitted to the EPA as a revision to the Wisconsin state implementation plan. Continue Reading Wisconsin Tightens Air Quality Standards

Charles MerrillHusch Blackwell’s Charlie Merrill authored an article, “It’s Up To EPA, Congress To Act On Commerce Reg Reforms” that appeared in Law360 this week. The article identifies recommendations for reform and actions needed for this reform to take place.

The U. S. Department of Commerce recently issued a report on the input it received from manufacturers on changes they would like to see in environmental permitting and regulations. The DOC report offered three overall recommendations for reducing regulatory burdens, as well as distilling recommendations from trade associations and individual manufacturing commenters into twelve “Priority Areas For Reform,” ten of them in the environmental area.

This article outlines environmental recommendations in the DOC report not previously analyzed in an earlier two-part Law360 article reporting on industry comments to the DOC, and discusses the processes by which the DOC’s priority recommendations for environmental regulations and permitting might be implemented.

Continue reading the article here.

Coal Loading MachineryThe month of August, 2017 has seen three distinct developments that may significantly impact management of “Coal Combustion Residuals,” or “CCR,” which include bottom ash, fly ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization materials generated from burning coal at steam powered electricity plants. Although one of these developments may provide a degree of regulatory relief, the other two may preserve or even strengthen existing regulatory requirements.

Continue Reading The Shifting Landscape For Coal Ash

Congress ChamberYesterday, July 25th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” by a vote of 419-3. The bill originated as an act in the Senate which was focused on Iran. In response to Russian meddling in the U.S. election, the Senate expanded that bill to include additional sanctions against Russia, codify various Russia-Ukraine sanctions promulgated by the Obama Administration into law and add procedural provisions to delay or prevent any efforts by the Trump Administration to relax those codified Obama Administration sanctions. The Senate passed their revised version of this legislation last month by a vote of 98-2. For more information on the Senate’s earlier approval, please see our post on June 16th.

Continue Reading Congress Passes Russian Sanctions Bill with New Sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea

Product Liability Monitor

July 14, 2017
New Developments
Rats! Eco-Friendly Soy-Based Insulation Could Spell Trouble Down the Road
By Sarah Rashid

A new “eco-friendly” biodegradable material used to insulate wiring in newer cars could make for trouble — and lawsuits — down the road for car manufacturers. This insulation is made from soybeans, making it more environmentally friendly and cheaper for car manufacturers. But it has a downside: it serves as an attractive, tasty treat for rats, mice, squirrel, rabbits, and other rodents. [Continue Reading]

The Benefits And Risks Of Autonomous Vehicles
By Leslie Gutierrez

On June 15, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that will allow autonomous vehicles (AVs) to operate on the state’s roads. Texas is now one of 17 states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, plus Washington D.C.) that have passed legislation related to AVs. Governors in Arizona, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin have also issued executive orders related to AVs. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has formed a committee to determine AV best practices, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee formed a similar interagency work group. [Continue Reading]

Speak, Corporation!
By Alan Hoffman

Mitt Romney famously told a heckler during his Presidential campaign, “Corporations are people, my friend.” While corporations are not people, they and other organizations surely are legal persons capable of suing and being sued. But how to take the deposition of a corporation or organization which can only speak through employees or representatives? [Continue Reading]

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Product Liability Monitor Archive
June 2017

Charles MerrillHusch Blackwell’s Charlie Merrill’s two part series on “The Regulatory Reforms Manufacturers Want Most” appeared in Law360 this month. The series covers manufacturers’ responses to DOC on environmental issues and examine commenters’ responses on regulations related to air pollution. Read an excerpt below:

U.S. manufacturers and their trade associations have submitted comments to the U. S. Department of Commerce (DOC) on changes they would like to see in environmental regulations. President Trump’s memorandum of Jan. 24, 2017, “Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing,” directed the DOC to conduct outreach concerning the impact of federal regulations on domestic manufacturing.

Continue reading part 1 here and then be sure to read part 2.

solar panelOn April 26, 2017, Petitioner Suniva, Inc. filed a Petition for Global Safeguard Relief Pursuant to Sections 201-202 of the Trade Act of 1974 on imports of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells and Modules (Solar Cells).

SCOPE OF INVESTIGATION

The merchandise covered by this petition is crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials.

Continue Reading Petition Summary: Section 201 Global Safeguard Investigation On CSPV Cells And Modules (Solar Cells)

cargo shipOn March 31, 2017, Petitioners North American Steel & Wire, Inc./ISM Enterprises filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties on imports of Carton-Closing Staples from the People’s Republic of China.

SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

The scope of this investigation is carton-closing staples. Carton-closing staples are fastening devices used to secure or close the flaps of corrugated and solid paperboard cartons and boxes. Carton-closing staples are manufactured from steel wire, and commonly have a copper-coating or a zinc (galvanized) coating. Carton-closing staples manufactured from stainless steel wire are also covered.

Continue Reading Petition Summary: Carton-Closing Staples From China