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Thomas Brugato is special counsel in the firm’s Washington, DC office. His practice focuses on environmental matters, as well as civil and administrative litigation. He has experience advising clients on a wide variety of environmental issues, including under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA, CERCLA, EPCRA, TSCA, FIFRA, the Endangered Species Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Mr. Brugato has extensive experience with EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard program. He also has particular expertise in advising companies on environmental-related issues arising in the context of product recalls (such as compliance with PHMSA’s hazardous materials transportation regulations), including recalls under NHTSA or CPSC jurisdiction. Finally, Mr. Brugato has significant experience advising clients on Indian law related issues, particularly relating to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and tribal sovereign immunity.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) recently made two announcements regarding antimicrobial pesticides.  First, EPA released guidance regarding residual efficacy claims for antimicrobials applied to surfaces.  Second, EPA announced that it has registered the first product approved to make claims to kill viruses in the air.  EPA has also sought comment on strategies for improving indoor air quality to reduce disease transmission, which could involve the use of air sanitization products or pesticidal devices.  This blog has previously highlighted these issues, including noting steps EPA could take to improve pesticide policy in the wake of the pandemic and the emerging focus on indoor air quality and its regulatory implications.

Taken together, EPA’s recent actions are significant and provide opportunities for companies to develop novel products that could have significant public health benefits.  But they also highlight that significant uncertainty remains in this area, which presents risks that companies must carefully navigate to ensure regulatory compliance.

Continue Reading EPA Provides Guidance Regarding Novel Antimicrobial Pesticides and Seeks Comment on Indoor Air Quality Issues

On October 5, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced its plan to streamline the typical review process for Mixed Metal Oxides (“MMOs”), including certain cathode active materials, which are key components in electric vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries, as well as clean energy generation and storage technology, including wind turbines and solar cells.  MMOs can also be used in semiconductors. 

As we have written about previously, increasing the domestic supply of EVs and semiconductors, and expanding the country’s clean energy capacity are among the core policy objectives of the Biden Administration.

Continue Reading EPA to Streamline the Review Process for Certain EV and Clean Energy Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued three requests for information regarding recycling issues, a first step towards distributing funds and carrying out mandates contained in the last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The programs for which EPA is requesting information are primarily directed toward improving recycling of

            On May 24, 2022, the National Academies of Sciences released a report, sponsored by EPA, CDC, and others, on indoor chemistry and air quality issues.  The report stresses the importance of these issues given that “people spend, on average, more than 80 percent of their time” in indoor environments, “often in close proximity to sources and processes that emit chemicals” and biological pollutants.  A main theme of the report is that there remain many outstanding questions in this area, and that “the management of indoor chemistry is at a nascent stage,” but rapidly evolving.

            Several aspects of the report are likely to be of particular interest to companies that market products for indoor use, particularly air cleaning and air sensor products.

Continue Reading National Academies of Sciences Report Highlights Indoor Air Quality Issues and Regulatory Considerations

The easing of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with 67.7% of adults having at least one vaccine shot, provides the Biden Administration’s EPA with a unique opportunity to take stock of its pandemic response and consider any potential policy improvements that could be made.  This post focuses on two particular issues: (1)

On November 30, 2020, emergency temporary COVID-19 workplace standards (“ETS”) issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) took effect.  The ETS, which requires stringent workplace protocols intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, applies to all California employers, other than those subject to the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Disease standard or those with only one employee at the workplace who does not have contact with others.  Under the ETS, employers must adopt and implement a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention program that includes identification and correction of COVID-19 risks, employee screening, investigation of cases, use of face coverings and other protective equipment, exclusion of exposed employees, and provision of free COVID-19 testing in certain circumstances, among other requirements.  The ETS also mandates testing and other action when there are multiple infections or an “outbreak” in a workplace.
Continue Reading California Employers Must Comply with New Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Workplace Safety Standards

EPA recently released a compliance advisory addressing UV lights that make claims to mitigate the novel coronavirus (or other viruses or bacteria), which the agency regulates as pesticidal devices under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  While the advisory largely reiterates past guidance relating to pesticidal devices, which this blog previously discussed, it does underscore that EPA is particularly focused on UV lights, and contains three important cautions for companies making claims that their UV light products kill the coronavirus or other microbes.
Continue Reading EPA Warns UV Light Companies About Coronavirus Claims

For the first time ever, EPA has approved a pesticide making residual antiviral claims under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The approval may be a significant boon in the fight against COVID-19, but it also raises several key questions about EPA’s broader approach to combatting the novel coronavirus.
Continue Reading EPA Issues Emergency Approval for First-Ever Residual Antiviral Product

Critiques of OSHA’s current flexible approach to COVID-19 in the workplace provide insight into how a Democratic administration might regulate differently at the federal level.  Moreover, some states have moved forward with establishing binding rules to address COVID-19 in the workplace, which may provide models for future federal efforts.
Continue Reading Non-binding OSHA COVID-19 Guidance Sparks Calls for Federal Action and Plans for State Action to Create Binding Rules