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Federal courts are likely to weigh in on how to interpret provisions in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform law that requires EPA to consider cost when developing risk management rules for a chemical, observers say, as environmentalists and the chemical sector are expected to have opposing views on how to assess costs.

Democratic senators and environmentalists supportive of EPA are seeking strategies for overcoming what they say is a successful strategy by various industry groups to force “regulatory capture” delaying various agency rules, such as creating a regulatory “watchdog” to target what they see as bias in the rulemaking process.

EPA is floating options for four states to address a federal appeals court ruling that remanded the states' “budgets,” or allowable emissions levels, under the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) to the agency for being too strict, with EPA saying the states can either voluntarily adopt the budgets or resolve the issue on a case-specific basis.

Western states and industry groups are calling on EPA to withdraw and reconsider the agency's draft technical report intended to help states preserve aquatic life and habitat, arguing that the document improperly includes policy recommendations, while environmentalists and some other states are praising the guide's recommendations.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is touting the “groundbreaking” $14.7 billion proposed civil liability settlement with Volkswagen (VW) over its use of “defeat devices” on vehicles to cheat emissions tests, but the agency chief says officials are still working to resolve a series of issues, including civil and criminal penalties under the Clean Air Act.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is preparing to assess the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide worldwide, amid ongoing debate about EPA's process for re-registration of the chemical and following an international body's finding last year that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic.

Automakers are asking EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to conduct a direct final rulemaking to remedy “various inconsistencies” and better align NHTSA's fuel efficiency rules for light duty vehicles and EPA's related greenhouse gas (GHG) program, opening up a possible new chapter in the implementation of the programs.