Worker Injury Reporting (US – federal)

Starting on Jan. 1, 2015, all employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction will be required to report not only all work-related fatalities within eight hours, but also in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24. Previously, employers were only expected to report after a fatality or when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident.

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Danish Nature Plan (Denmark)

The Danish government has presented its first ever long-term strategic plan for Denmark’s nature in a bid to improve the nation’s natural habitat looking ahead towards 2020.

‘Naturplan Danmark’ was revealed by the prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and the environment minister, Kirsten Brosbøl on October 28, 2014. It details plans to transform 25,000 hectares of land into nature and to generate 10 million more nature visits from the Danes by 2020.

“The government wants a Denmark that has a balance between modern lifestyle, agriculture, nature and leisure time,” Brosbøl said in a press release.”

“The Danes are crazy about nature and we must dare to use it, but not to its detriment. The nature is worn out and under great pressure, which Naturplan Danmark aims to rectify so we can leave our children with better nature than what we were left by our parents.”

With the Naturplan Danmark plan, the government has earmarked 195 million kroner to various efforts aimed at rebuilding Denmark’s nature from 2016-2018, including a Green Denmark Map, which outlines how nature can be improved by 2050.

Additionally, the government has allocated 875 million kroner to the newly-presented nature fund Den Danske Naturfond, which is tasked with buying up nature in co-operation with two funds, Villum Fonden and Aage V Jensen Naturfond.

Naturplan Danmark is found here (Danish).

Illinois’ Hydraulic Fracturing Act (US – Illinois)

Illinois’ Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (HFRA) is a law that applies to all wells in which high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations will take place in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulates the oil and gas industry and has primary authority to administer the HFRA with the assistance of the Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois State Water Survey, the State Fire Marshal and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The HFRA is found here.

Every applicant for a permit under the HFRA shall first register with the DNR at least 30 days before applying for a permit. If you would like to register or learn more, Instructions and Registration Process are provided.

HFC Substitutes (Cool Technologies)

HFCs are being phased out.

A wide variety of environmentally superior and technologically proven HCFC and HFC alternatives are available to meet cooling needs.

The Cool Technologies website includes a sampling of companies using natural alternatives in a variety of applications. It was created to demonstrate there is already a wide array of safe and commercially proven technologies available to meet nearly all those human needs formerly met by fluorinated refrigerants.

Cool Technologies is found here.

UK Persistent Air Pollution (EU legal proceedings) (Update)

My post on action taken by the European Commission for breach of European laws on Air Quality is here.

ClientEarth Case

On 10 July 2014, ClientEarth’s case against the UK Government for breaching air quality limits was heard by the court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg. ClientEarth and European Commission lawyers told EU judges UK Government plans will not meet nitrogen dioxide limits in London, Birmingham and Leeds until after 2030. This is 20 years after the original legal deadline and five years later than previously admitted. The information was made publically available by Defra the day before.

European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment from 19 November 2014 is binding on the UK courts and the national courts in all 28 EU member states. The ECJ highlighted, that limit values for NO2 has to be met since 1 January 2010, if the Member States didn’t apply for a time extension for five years. Member States are obliged to develop an air quality plan, containing effective measures to keep the time of non-compliance as short as possible. The decision indicates that national courts have to demand for any necessary measure from the national authority.

Further information is here.

Infrastructure Bill 2014-2015 (UK) Update

My last post on the Infrastructure Bill is here. NB: the Commons Library Note linked from my earlier post has been since updated (20 October 2014) and provision for a right of access for shale gas/hydraulic fracturing is now included in the Infrastructure Bill.

The Bill has cleared the House of Lords and returned to the House of Commons.

The Infrastructure Bill 2014-2015 makes provision for a range of matters, including: (updated)

(A) Environmental control of plant and animal species (Part 3)

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 will be amended to allow species control agreements (between regulators and land owners) and orders to be made by regulators in England and Wales (as they can be in Scotland) for invasive non-native species of plant or animal, or for a species of animal that is no longer normally present in Great Britain.

A species is non-native if it is listed in Part 1 or Part 2 of Schedule 9, or (if an animal) it’s natural range does not include any part of Great Britain or it has been introduced to Great Britain.

The regulators will include Natural England, the Environment Agency, and the Forestry Commissioners in England, and the Natural Resources Body for Wales in Wales.

The definition of owner (who can enter into species control agreements) includes leaseholders.

The Secretary of State will be obliged to issue a Code of a Practice in relation to species control agreements and orders in England. The Welsh Ministers must issue a similar Code of Practice in Wales.

(B) Shale Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing: right to use deep-level land (Sections 38 & 39)

This previously was not included in the Bill, whilst consultation was occurring. It is now included as Section 38. Section 39 clarifies this right, and confirms the right to use may extend to using any chemical. Sections 38 and 39 also apply to the Crown.

The Bill as brought from the Lords is here.