Many business operations affected heavily by environmental regulations are considered “essential” and are up and running to ensure our country has the products and services it needs to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.  We are hearing that these businesses are straining under the pressure to maintain social distancing requirements, quarantine individuals exposed to the virus, sustain operations with reduced personnel, protect their personnel, and preserve their supply chain resources.  Although all companies understand the need to protect human health and the environment, it may be impossible to meet every deadline, take every reading, and make every inspection during this emergency.

Recognizing this reality, many Federal and state agencies are issuing enforcement relief and response policies providing guidance on how to respond if environmental or other regulatory requirements can’t be met.  Husch Blackwell has gathered Federal and state COVID-19 enforcement relief and response policies for environmental and motor carrier safety regulations.  A complete list of these policies is posted as a resource on our website.


Continue Reading COVID-19 Enforcement Relief and Response Policies

Even with the rapid growth of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones, one of the FAA’s primary rules is that the pilot must maintain visual line of sight with the unmanned aircraft at all times. When waivers were granted for “extended line of sight” operations, visual observers on the ground were still required. Those operational constraints are about to change.

Collaborative projects between private industry and the Universities of Alaska-Fairbanks and Hawaii are transforming dreams into reality for the unmanned aircraft community. These technological accomplishments are laying the foundations to provide vital services to rural and outlying communities through long-distance search and rescue, surveying and telecommunications platforms mounted onboard solar powered drones.


Continue Reading Important Milestones Are Being Met in Alaska and Hawaii for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The FAA has continued to publish a variety of new opportunities and restrictions for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pilots after the waves of actual and threatened shutdowns receded. At the end of January, Megan Herr described the FAA’s proposals for allowing UAS operations at night, and operations over people without needing a Part 107 waiver. The public comment period on these proposed rules ends on April 15, 2019.

On February 13th and 15th the FAA published two important restrictions for UAS operations.
Continue Reading A Busy Start to 2019 for the FAA Regarding Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Many commentators have noted recently that the near-monopoly Silicon Valley has enjoyed in technology startups is beginning to erode. Last month, The Economist magazine dubbed the trend a “techsodus” from the Bay Area and stated that “[Silicon] Valley’s influence is peaking.”

Much of the venture capital investment aimed at technology startups is still raised in and flows into California, but increasingly, when startups look to scale their business models, they are doing it elsewhere, due to the increasingly high costs associated with the Bay Area in terms of talent, real estate, and taxes. This shift in investment will greatly benefit regions that have ample incentives in place to attract startups, areas like greater Kansas City and other cities throughout the Heartland.


Continue Reading Historic Shift in Venture Investment Could Benefit Kansas City and Region

President Trump signed a new Executive Order on August 6, 2018, titled “Reimposing Certain Sanctions with Respect to Iran”. The Executive Order was timed to coincide with the last day of the 90-day wind-down period established for activities associated with certain sanctions relief authorized by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”).  As a result, the first round of sanctions against Iran will become effective at 12:01 a.m. on August 7, 2018.
Continue Reading United States Announces Re-imposition of First Round of Nuclear Sanctions on Iran

droneThe U. S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) announced a diverse set of winners for the 10 openings in USDOT’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Integration Pilot Program (“IPP”). As advertised, the program’s selectees consist of state, local and tribal governments (“Selectees”) that will partner with private sector entities to accelerate UAS integration into the national airspace system.
Continue Reading USDOT Selects Ten Drone Integration Sites

On April 15, 2018, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued a denial order against ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. (collectively “ZTE”), effectively banning U.S. companies from providing components to ZTE  because the company had failed to comply with the terms of a disciplinary agreement reached in March 2017 arising from violations of U.S. export control restrictions against Iran and North Korea. It is estimated that U.S. companies provide nearly 25-30 percent of the components used in ZTE products. ZTE’s U.S. subsidiary advertises that it has been ranked by independent industry analysts as the fourth-largest supplier of mobile devices in the U.S. overall and second-largest supplier of prepaid devices.

Continue Reading U.S. Commerce Department Rescinds Export Privileges for China’s ZTE

On Friday, February 23, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) imposed blocking sanctions against one individual, twenty-seven entities and twenty-eight vessels known to have previously provided maritime support to North Korean coal and petroleum transactions. OFAC added the individuals, entities and vessels to its Specially Designated Nationals List (the “SDN List”), which will generally prohibit the fifty-six sanctioned parties from transacting with the United States or any United States person.

Continue Reading OFAC Issues Additional North Korean Sanctions and Guidance for Shipping Companies

North America MapThe government shutdown began on Saturday at 12:01am. Here is a list of several agencies involved in trade and transportation issues that will be affected.

International Trade Commission

The International Trade Commission will only have three to seven individuals working during the shutdown in order to protect life and property. The six Commissioners are presidential appointees and therefore are exempt from the furlough.
Continue Reading Impact of Government Shutdown on Trade

Toxic Tort Monitor

January 17, 2018
New Developments
A Review of 2017 Personal Jurisdiction Decisions
By Taylor Concannon

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court in cases such as BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California continued the trend that began in Goodyear and Daimler and reaffirmed its limits on personal jurisdiction