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Appellate judges at Feb. 11 oral arguments in litigation over EPA's vehicle emissions model grappled with whether the model qualifies as a judicially reviewable agency action and whether groups suing over it can prove injury from use of the model -- threshold questions that will determine whether the court also weighs the model's merits.

The White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) is reviewing EPA's draft formal response to Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticisms that the agency violated legal restrictions on use of appropriations in how it promoted its Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Utilities and environmentalists are raising competing criticisms over EPA's proposed Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program update for power plants, with utilities doubting the need for the rule and fearing a possible expansion to other sectors while advocates claim the rule will fail to adequately protect public health.

A metals company's lawsuit over an EPA total maximum daily load (TMDL) for streams within a Southwestern Pennsylvania watershed impaired due to pollutants from acid mine drainage (AMD) could set a precedent on whether the agency's use of TMDL limits in Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits exceeds EPA's authority.

State regulators' threat to terminate their programs for certifying pesticide applicators, unless EPA significantly revises its proposed rule updating training requirements for applicators, could delay the final rule beyond the end of Obama's term, an observer says, noting the agency likely will have to address the states' concerns in a final rule.

Despite the Supreme Court stay of EPA's existing power plant greenhouse gas standards, a top official says the agency will continue to develop the rule's policy framework and work with businesses and states that continue compliance planning, while also promising to step up efforts to adopt several other pending climate rules before President Obama leaves office.