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Environmentalists are threatening to sue EPA if its imminent Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) coal ash disposal rule regulates the material as solid waste but does not impose requirements to minimize the risk of ash leaks from unused “legacy” disposal sites, saying RCRA's language mandates that EPA impose such controls.

EPA is blaming resource constraints due to budget cuts and the government shutdown as major reasons for why the bulk of its fiscal year 2014 enforcement results are significantly lower than FY13, saying the funding reductions and agency closure meant fewer facility inspections that in turn explains some of the drops in enforcement cases.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has issued new draft guidance for assessing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), adding first-time language that requires the analyses to also include the impact of climate change on projects -- a measure that is being welcomed by advocates, who are also pressing CEQ to finalize the long-delayed NEPA GHG guide.

The Supreme Court's decision to hear an appeal from the power sector and several states challenging EPA's utility maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule is prompting regulatory uncertainty, sources say, as the court could scrap the rule entirely or require a comprehensive new review of whether it is cost effective.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has granted environmentalists' request to transfer to the 2nd Circuit litigation over EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) cooling water intake rule over objections from EPA and industry, an early win for advocates who say prior 2nd Circuit rulings mean the court may be more favorable to their suit.

EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), which peer reviews scientific research for the agency's toxics office, gave enthusiastic support to the general approach agency scientists presented for prioritizing chemicals to undergo endocrine disruptor screening using high-throughput and computational tools, but are seeking further work and validation of aspects of the approach.