Newsbreak: OSHA Issues New Standards for Hazardous Chemicals [Video]


Betsy Kim, editorial director of provides today’s legal Newsbreak on sustainability.

The push for green initiatives is opening up myriad opportunities for new businesses, and the need to know what’s going on with environmental laws.

OSHA300The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA) issued new standards for employers to voluntarily reduce the level of hazardous chemical exposure. OSHA says its current rules, drafted in the 70s, are “dangerously out of date” and tens of thousands of workers get sick and die from being exposed to chemicals at the workplace.

OSHA has put online a toolkit of chemical substitutions and processes to make the workplace safer. It also posted tables with limits for chemical exposure.

A non-profit, The Post Sustainability Institute, filed a lawsuit to stop the San Francisco Bay Area’s long-range land use and transportation plan. Plan Bay Area limits new construction to designated locations. It coordinates development and transportation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. The plan promotes compact, mixed-use commercial and residential development. It aims to preserve the quality of life with strategic growth, considering environmental impacts.

The Post Sustainability Institute claims the planning violates voters’ rights to determine their urban growth and violates the 5th and 14th Amendments. This organization says it tracks the sustainability movement, including unchecked outcomes.

Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a climate change case, the Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA. The high court will decide whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles trigger permit requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that give off greenhouse gases. This includes power plants and refineries.

Manufacturing associations and the American Petroleum Institute say the regulations threaten U.S. competitiveness and raise consumer prices.

The EPA says elevated levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are posing dangers to current and future generations.

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