Week in Review

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Court partially blocks Trump Administration’s transgender military ban, D.C. Circuit stops a fuel efficiency and emissions rule for truck trailers, and more…

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  • The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected parts of the Trump Administration’s ban on allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military. Specifically, the court stopped the Trump Administration from preventing transgender individuals from serving in the military and halted the timeline to begin implementing the memorandum that created the policy. The court’s action revives an Obama-era military policy establishing “that open service by transgender Service members…is consistent with military readiness and with strength through diversity.”
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit stopped the implementation of an Obama-era regulation that would increase fuel efficiency and emissions standards for truck trailers. The regulation was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2018, but the court has delayed implementation while it reviews the rule.
  • ExxonMobil, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) settled a lawsuit in which EPA and the LDEQ claimed that Exxon’s manufacturing plants in Texas and Louisiana defied the Clean Air Act (CAA) and state air pollution standards. Pursuant to the settlement, Exxon must carry out “projects…intended to reduce emissions.” The Justice Department, EPA, and the state of Colorado also settled a similar lawsuit against PDC Energy, whose “oil and gas exploration and production operations” failed to comply with the CAA. Like Exxon, PDC must take steps to fix any noncompliance and must pay fines to the U.S. government and Colorado.
  • President Donald Trump signed into law a Congressional Review Act resolution disapproving of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule that banned mandatory arbitration clauses in financial contracts. The director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, urged President Trump to veto the resolution following a 51-50 vote in the U.S. Senate repealing the CFPB rule.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent warning letters to four companies selling marijuana-based products the companies “claim to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.” FDA said it recognizes the potential benefit marijuana-based therapies could provide but noted that “the safest way” to develop such therapies “is through the drug approval process.”
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a final rule prohibiting more than 0.1 percent concentration of phthalates—chemicals used to make plastics more flexible—in children’s toys. The Commission noted that male children exposed to high concentrations of phthalates may suffer from infertility as adults.
  • FDA concluded that it will use information collected by eight European regulators during inspections of drug manufacturers. FDA said that the “unprecedented” plan seeks “to avoid duplication of drug inspections and allows regulators to devote more resources to other manufacturing facilities in countries where there may be greater risk.”
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on whether to authorize the use of “Next Gen TV,” the first “Internet Protocol-based broadcast transmission platform.” Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, said Next Gen TV “holds the promise of delivering better video and audio, advanced emergency alerts, [and] personalized and interactive content” and authorizing its use will put America “at the forefront of innovation in the broadcast sector.”
  • The American Bar Association (ABA) notified the Florida Coastal School of Law that it “is not in compliance” with several of the ABA accreditation standards concerning the quality of the school’s academic program, academic support for its students, and admissions practices. The ABA gave the law school until November 1 to demonstrate compliance with the standards and instructed the law school to appear before the ABA’s Accreditation Committee in March. The Committee will then determine if the law school will maintain its accreditation.