ILTA Launches Inaugural January EHS&S Committee Meetings
ILTA hosted its first ever January Environment, Health and Safety, and Security subcommittee meetings last week virtually. The four-day event consisted 1.5- to two-hour covering a wide range of issues, including Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance reporting, US Environmental Protection Agency’s final Kb tank rule (issued earlier this week, read our post on that here), expected Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulatory changes under the coming Biden administration and more. Each day had fantastic turnout, as experts and industry professionals shared their insight into the political future surrounding the tank terminals sector.
Day one’s full committee meeting featured Henry Saint-Bris, founder and president of Ansa Services. He highlighting the importance of ESG reporting and the growing emphasis on sustainability across numerous sectors of the economy. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Saint-Bris claims, major players in the oil and gas industry are bolstering their environmental commitments, even going as far as to publicly sign on to the Paris Climate Accord goals. Reporting on sustainability performance helps bring to the forefront and clarify everything that an organization does for sustainability, as well as informs and is what is expected from clients, partners, investors, staff and more. He continued by saying that sustainability best practices can also generate EBITDA savings in energy management, operating procedures, pollution reduction and the supply chain.
Day two’s Environmental Subcommittee continued the discussion on ESG reporting and centered on what the terminals industry and ILTA could do to enhance their sustainability activities Many ideas were floated, including ILTA helping to develop benchmarking standards on ESG reporting, similar to the association’s safety survey, as well as hosting a library of member ESG reports and providing an ESG template for members. All of this will be discussed further in the coming months both by the committees and by the ILTA board of directors.
The second half of the meeting overviewed a new ILTA communications initiative centered on industry-wide educational materials. The purpose would be to develop a communications foundation that ILTA’s members can use to better inform the public and government officials on what the terminals industry’s role is in the wider economy and its efforts it makes to protect the environment, as well as ensure safe and secure operations.
Day three’s Health and Safety Subcommittee meeting featured Micah Smith and Aaron Gelb, lawyers specializing in OSHA cases from law firm Conn Maciel Carey LLP. The pair gave their perspective on what the incoming Biden administration is likely to prioritize in the short to medium term as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper the industry. President-Elect Biden will likely focus on filling the many empty political appointee roles within OSHA when entering office. He then will likely turn to undoing much of the regulatory loosening carried out by the Trump administration, the pair said. Smith and Gelb also believe Biden’s team will expand COVID-19 illness and injury recordkeeping requirements as his administration tries to take a more active role in confronting the pandemic. The expected boost to OSHA’s funding and staffing, combined with a Democrat-controlled White House and Congress, will likely mean the passing of the Protecting America’s Workers Act, which will reform OSHA and bolster worker protection efforts.
Day four’s Security Subcommittee hosted U.S. Coast Guard Commander Nicolette Vaughan as she provided an update on the new TWIC Reader Rule that is set to be fully implemented in 2023. Vaughan discussed the ongoing dialogue between industry and USCG on remaining concerns, primarily on the expected cost to bring facilities up to the new security standards and conflicting interpretations in the regulatory language. ILTA advisors USCG Admiral (Ret.) Roy Nash and Steve Roberts of the Roberts Law Group PLLC/Chemical Security Group overviewed a then-soon-to-be published regulatory clarification letter from USCG and an upcoming RAND study on the financial implications of the rule. The pair mentioned that RAND is likely to approach the terminal industry soon for its firsthand perspective.
Recordings of these meetings can be found on ILTA’s website here.