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Inside Compliance (Aug 14th, 2019)

1. New York, California and 20 other states and seven local governments are suing the Trump adminstration for weakening rules on emissions from power plants. The plaintiffs argue that Trump's new rules approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in June violate the Clean Air Act. “President Trump’s attempt to gut our nation’s Clean Power Plan is foolish. It’s also unlawful,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. An EPA spokesperson declined to comment on the particulars of the case, citing pending legislation. Under former President Obama, the Clean Power Plan was also held up by lawsuits. In that case, many states and industry groups opposed the Obama plan for curbing emissions. - WALL STREET JOURNAL

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2. After years of environmental violations, fines and Justice Department-ordered probation, Carnival has appointed Peter Anderson to the newly created position of chief ethics and compliance officer. The cruise company was fined $40 million in 2017 for illegal dumping into the ocean and fined an additional $20 million in 2019, while under probation. Anderson, a former federal prosecutor, has twenty years of compliance experience, including working at Volkswagen after the car company's emissions scandal. “Our strategic plan involves goals and key actions to build a strong and proactive compliance culture that is based on open communications -- both listening and responding -- as well as adequate resources and improved tools,” Anderson said - COMPLIANCE WEEK

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3. British consultancy company KPMG fired the head of its financial services division, Tim Howarth, after a probe into his allegedly improper WhatsApp messages. Howarth told The Financial Times that he had already resigned from the KPMG partnership. "I am surprised by the KPMG announcement of the outcome of a disciplinary panel, which is bizarre as the decision is under appeal," he said. KPMG has seen its reputation hit in recent years for unrelated auditing scandals, for which it has been fined millions of dollars. - YAHOO FINANCE

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4. U.S. regulators are circulating a new draft of the "Volcker Rule" that goes a long way toward pleasing Wall Street. The rule, enacted after the financial crisis, banned banks from short-term speculate trading. But Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have argued the rule is too subjective and complex, making compliance onerous. The new draft modifies this rule and also drops an accounting test that would have determined if trades were speculative. The final rule must be approved by the Federal Reserve and several other federal financial agencies. - REUTERS

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5. It's not getting any better for CannTrust, the Canadian cannabis company that has been stung by compliance issues. The company had already been dinged for illegal grows in its facilities, but regulators revealed that in their latest inspection, in July, the company had converted areas from operational to storage without permission and constructed new areas without approval. In the past few months, the stock has fallen from ten dollars per share to slightly over two dollars per share. - THE STREET

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6. The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has introduced two new tools for government contractors to meet equal employment regulations. The first is an online help desk through which companies can ask questions directly to the agency about a wide range of compliance issues. The OFCCP also appointed an ombudsman to work with federal contractors and subcontractors, industry groups and worker rights organization. “The Ombudsman fits squarely within the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ broader initiative to improve transparency in our compliance evaluation and compliance assistance activities,” said OFCCP Director Craig E. Leen. - NEXTGOV.COM

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7. Less than two weeks after two United pilots were arrested under suspicion of drinking on the job, the airline has introduced a new rule concerning its alcohol policy for pilots. Under the new policy, pilots must abstain from drinking for at least 12 hours before a flight, rather than eight hours as previously specified. "This policy is being changed to help assure pilot compliance with standards established by the United States and individual states where United operates around the world," according to a United bulletin announcing the change. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

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9. Goldman Sachs seeks a compliance associate. The associate will help design and monitor the company's compliance risk assessment program and conduct quality control reviews. Candidates should have 2-4 years experience in financial services, compliance, legal or audit.

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10. The University of California-Santa Cruz seeks a director of the office of research compliance administration. The director oversees compliance issues concerning human and animal subjects as well as conflict of interest and export control. Also, the director will work with other University of California campuses on system-wide compliance issues.

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Paul Wachter is a California-based journalist who has written for The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, ESPN, and other publications. 

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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