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A top Energy Department (DOE) official is highlighting a broad array of regulations that could curb methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, even as environmentalists continue to urge EPA to directly regulate emissions of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG) from the sector to ensure a “level playing field” for industry.

EPA during the next several months plans to draft a clearer proposal on how it plans to incorporate environmental justice (EJ) analysis into permitting, delivering that guidance to an EJ advisory panel that is weighing recommendations to EPA on the issue but sought more clarity from the agency to inform its advice.

In the meantime, EPA's acting air chief has put the panel on hiatus, pending the EPA proposal, according to presentations made at the Oct. 1 meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) in Arlington, VA.

States are calling for clarity on how to implement EPA's draft water quality criteria for selenium that relies partially on fish-tissue concentrations for assessing adverse effects to aquatic life, suggesting that monitoring costs could strain already tight state budgets, even as two states are pursuing studies that could address some of the concerns.

EPA's first ever Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) permits for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) injections, which the agency issued last month for the planned FutureGen power plant, are drawing an early legal challenge from local landowners who charge that monitoring and financial assurance requirements are inadequate to protect drinking water.

EPA is receiving conflicting comments on its proposed revisions to its worker protection standards (WPS) for agricultural pesticides, with House Democrats and some state health officials urging stronger protections while the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and state agriculture departments are calling on EPA to overhaul the costly rule.

Environmentalists say a new EPA analysis that finds negligible benefits for soybean production from the use of controversial neonicotinoid pesticides could boost calls for prohibition of the substances that advocates blame for harming pollinators, though the agency cautions that the study is only part of an ongoing review of neonicotinoids.