Showing posts from April, 2010

Safe Chemicals Act of 2010

One of the reasons I am a lawyer and not, say, a medical doctor or research scientist is that my skill with chemistry peaked out right around learning Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 10^23). When it came to balancing equations, things started to break poorly. But, I am one of those non-scientist science geeks that likes to toss around words like "valence number" and "entropy" whenever possible. Entropy is a good one that I use as an excuse for not putting my laundry where it belongs. Despite my lack of bona fides in the field, I do help companies import and export chemicals. Hence, I was interested to see the introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010. This is essentially a re-write of the current Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The proposed law flips much of the responsibility for proving chemicals to be safe from the current EPA to the companies involved in the production or sale of the merchandise. Rather than regurgitate (also a nice technical term) my

Major Overhaul of Export Controls Proposed

Yes, I do exports too, although not often here. But, this is important news, so I am passing it along. In a policy speech yesterday , Defense Secretary Gates proposed a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. export control process. Under the current bifurcated system, the State Department controls the exports of munitions and the Commerce Department controls the exports of dual-use technology. According to the proposal, following a three-phase retooling, there will be a single agency charged with licensing and enforcement and a single list to check for licensing requirements. According to the White House press release, implantation will go like this: Phase I makes significant and immediate improvements to the existing system and establishes the framework necessary to create the new system, including making preparations for any legislative proposals. This phase includes implementing specific reform actions already in process and initiating review of new ones. Control List – refine, under


From past off-topic posts, you may know that I am a fan of the blog Cryptomundo on which Loren Coleman and others report on the science and pseudo-science (generally in the comments more than the posts) of searching for hidden animals. You know, hunting for Bigfoot, Nessie, and their ilk. One such creature is the Steller Sea Cow . Unlike other cryptids, the SSC was a species known to science. It was, however, hunted to extinction by the end of the 18th century. Despite that, there appears to be hope in some quarters that the SSC, like the alleged Congolese sauropod Mokele-Mbembe and lingering Tasmanian thylacines , may still survive in isolated populations. Why am I bringing this up here? Because everyday (more or less), I check the Federal Register for any tidbits that might be useful or interesting for my work or for you. Today, I was shocked to see a notice from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration issuing a letter of authorization for the taking of Steller

It's My Blogaversary

I have been at this blog for five years today. That outstrips the average blog life by a significant factor. I believe I read somewhere that the typical law-related blog (i.e., "blawg") has a life expectancy of three years, so I feel like I have accomplished something. I recognize (and regret) that things have been slow here on the blog. That is true for a number of reasons that do not include any waning interest on my part. I have not been doing much off-topic posting, though. That means I post when customs-related things happen. And, I tend to focus on the bigger-picture items or the items that strike me a legally significant. That's why you don't find a lot of broker and logistics related information here. I assume you guys have worked out the details of how to transfer your ISF data, for example. I am hopeful that the appointment of Commissioner Bersin will shake lose some policy changes and I am always watching the Court of International Trade and the Court of