In Washington – Insider – October 31, 2022

China Remains a Growing Cyber Security Threat According to New Alert  A joint cyber security alert released on October 6 …

China Remains a Growing Cyber Security Threat According to New Alert 

A joint cyber security alert released on October 6 warns that Chinese efforts to hack into U.S. companies continue to be a threat. The National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Cyber Infrastructure Security Agency jointly warned that “PRC state-sponsored cyber actors continue to exploit known vulnerabilities to actively target U.S. and allied networks as well as software and hardware companies to steal intellectual property and develop access into sensitive networks.”  

The report details the known software exploits currently favored by Chinese hackers and includes relevant law enforcement contact information for companies that believe they have been targeted.  The full report is available here 

Labor Department Proposes Repeal of 2021 Independent Contractor Rule 

The U.S. Department of Labor announces a proposed rule for classifying employees and contractors. Read more. The U.S. Department of Labor proposed Oct. 13 (FR notice, press release) to repeal a Trump-era regulation that, when determining if an employee is an independent contractor and therefore exempt from the Fair Labor Practices Act, gives more weight to the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work, and the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss, than to the amount of skill required for the work, the degree of permanence of the working relationship between the worker and the employer, and whether the work is part of an integrated unit of production. DOL is proposing to return to the pre-2021 “totality-of-the-circumstances analysis” under which extra weight is not given to any of the five factors considered. Please contact Dan Neumann for more information. 

Bridge Grants Awardees May be More Interested in Composites 

The Transportation Department recently announced that 23 states, counties and municipalities have received planning grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s (BIL) Bridge Investment Program (award recipients, detailed project descriptions). Learn more. The BIL established the discretionary bridge grant program to fund projects meeting certain criteria including the use of composites and other non-traditional technologies and materials. The planning grant recipients should be open to the use of innovative technologies to increase the likelihood that their subsequent applications for construction grants will be accepted. Please contact John Schweitzer for more information. 

Who’s Your Parent (Company)? EPA Wants to Know 

Beginning with Reporting Year 2023, for forms due by July 1, 2024, the definition of ‘‘parent company’’ within the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting regulations will be the highest-level company with the largest ownership interest in the TRI facility as of December 31 of the reporting year. In the Oct. 21 Federal Register Notice, EPA also adopted a requirement for TRI facilities to identify their highest- level foreign parent company, where applicable.

Permit Applicants Must Complete Community Involvement Assessment 

Beginning Nov. 1, the Texas Council on Environmental Quality will require permit applicants whose projects will impact poor and minority communities to come up with a public involvement plan when applying for permits for new construction or modifications. Read more. Texas is the most recent state to respond to Biden Administration initiatives to address environmental impacts to disadvantaged communities. The TCEQ program aims to satisfy Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.