Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Daily News

EPA Defends Request For Temporary Remand Of Combustion Air Rules

EPA is defending its request for an appellate court to temporarily remand the agency's package of combustion air rules so it can better explain its use of a contested statistical method, rejecting environmentalists' claims that the agency is trying to revise the rule without public comment and opposing a paper industry call to vacate some of the standards.

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EPA Weighs New 'Ultrafine' Particle Air Standard Ahead Of NAAQS Review

EPA plans to revisit the question of whether to set a first-time national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for "ultrafine" particles (UFP) as part of its upcoming review of its existing particulate matter (PM) NAAQS, which could lead to stricter air limits than the current fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and large particle (PM10) standards.

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Judges Ask Tough Questions Of EPA, Refiners In Lawsuit Over 2013 RFS

Appellate judges at April 7 oral arguments asked tough questions to EPA over its delays in developing the 2013 renewable fuel standard (RFS) and the problems that causes for refiners in meeting the rule, but at least one judge also pressed one refining company to justify its claim of massive costs it faces in complying with the RFS.

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Groups Float Competing Proposals To Achieve RFS' GHG Reduction Goal

Low-carbon fuel supporters and biofuel advocates are floating competing ideas for how to achieve EPA's renewable fuel standard's (RFS) greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals, with low-carbon fuel advocates pushing a climate cap-and-trade program to boost the RFS while biofuel groups say the best option is to ramp up the RFS' fuel targets.

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EPA's CWA Rule May Defeat 'Facial' Suits But Key Terms Face Challenges

Industry and other critics of EPA's recently released proposal for clarifying the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) say the measure appears likely to overcome "facial" challenges alleging constitutional or statutory violations, but they say that legal uncertainty about the definition of a host of key terms will likely drive site-specific, as-applied challenges.

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GOP Presses EPA To Codify Narrow 'Scalia' Test In CWA Jurisdiction Rule

A group of GOP senators is urging EPA to codify the narrow test crafted by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for determining whether waters are subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA) as it crafts a rule clarifying which waters are jurisdictional, in addition to the broader test advanced by Justice Anthony Kennedy that EPA is proposing to adopt.

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OTC Floats Daily NOx Utility Limits As Model For EPA Rule To Curb Ozone

The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states is floating a draft plan for daily and hourly nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions limits on power plants as a model for a future EPA rule to reduce ozone-forming NOx emissions and help states achieve a potentially stricter ozone standard that the agency is considering.

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With Appeal On Hold, North Carolina Suit Marks New Test For CAFO Permits

A North Carolina farm is asking a federal district court to block state regulators from permitting air emissions from livestock operations under the Clean Water Act (CWA), opening a new legal front on the issue just as a landmark appellate case that had been expected to test the issue is delayed as the court grapples with procedural questions.

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EPA's SRF Cuts Draw Criticism But Open Door To New Water Funding Pilot

EPA is drawing bipartisan criticism over its proposal to cut its state revolving funds (SRFs) in fiscal year 2015, but a key House appropriator says the move could ease Congress' path as lawmakers weigh alternate funding approaches, which sources say could include a new pilot EPA water infrastructure loan program, thanks to the proposed cuts.

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Industry To Challenge California's First Green Chemistry 'Priority Products'

Chemical industry officials and consumer product manufacturers plan to challenge California's selection of the first three consumer products to be targeted for state regulation under its landmark green chemistry program, claiming the plan duplicates an ongoing EPA review for at least one of the chemicals and products chosen.

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In Reversal, DOJ Backs Environmentalists' Standing In NEPA Climate Suit

The Obama administration is dropping its opposition to environmentalists' ability to challenge the adequacy of environmental assessments conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on climate change grounds after a federal appellate court ruled last year that plaintiffs have standing to sue over inadequate assessment of an action's greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts even if they are only able to show local harms stemming from other adverse impacts.

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Despite EPA Rejection, Region I Continues Use Of Stormwater Retrofit Rules

EPA Region I appears to be taking the lead among the agency's regions in its willingness to use novel Clean Water Act (CWA) powers to selectively subject existing commercial and industrial facilities to stormwater retrofit control requirements after several regions recently rejected environmentalists' calls to broadly exercise the authority.

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McCarthy Downplays Agency's GHG Concerns Over LNG Export Project

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is downplaying comments the agency raised about a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal expansion, arguing the agency is not seeking to block the project because federal regulators did not analyze the potential direct and indirect increases of the greenhouse gas (GHG) methane.

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Senators Narrow Spill Bill's Reach, Allowing For Broad Bipartisan Deal

The Senate environment committee has unanimously approved a bill creating a new EPA drinking water law program to prevent chemical releases from above ground storage tanks after senators agreed to give states the option of participating in the program and also narrowed the universe of facilities that would be subject to any new requirements.

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EPA Claims Broad Authority To Implement Landmark Chesapeake TMDL

EPA is asking a federal appellate court to affirm that it has broad authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to set load limits for nonpoint sources and to enforce states' implementation plans as part of its novel multi-state total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay in a case that marks a test of the agency's powers to address large watersheds, including the Mississippi River basin.

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NAS Urges EPA, NHTSA To Set Separate Natural Gas Truck GHG Standard

The National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) National Research Council (NRC) is urging the Obama administration to set a first-time greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel economy limit for natural gas-fueled trucks distinct from limits for diesel and gasoline-fueled trucks, in order to better acknowledge the abundance of natural gas fuel and its GHG benefits.

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EPA Doubts Enforcement Power To Address Coal Ash Under Subtitle D

SAUSALITO, CA -- Top EPA officials are raising doubts on whether the agency has authority to bring enforcement actions at coal ash disposal sites in the event the agency's upcoming coal ash waste rule delegates authority to states to implement disposal standards under the weaker "solid" waste provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which most states and industry groups favor.

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Potential Settlement In Coal Ash Enforcement Suit May Preview EPA Rule

EPA's vow to join North Carolina in a waste and water law enforcement suit against Duke Energy for a coal ash spill has the potential to result in a settlement previewing EPA's pending coal ash waste rule, sources say, as any control requirements in such a pact would likely mirror what will be in the rule.

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States Soften Bills Aiming For Lenient Implementation Of EPA Utility NSPS

Several states appear to be softening pending bills designed to provide for more lenient implementation of EPA's pending greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants, which observers say might be due to push-back from some utilities and others fearful the legislation could unintentionally create new regulatory burdens for facilities.

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Advocates Urge EPA To Strengthen Air Permit Mandates For Biomass Plants

Environmentalists are urging EPA to strictly regulate biomass-fired power plants as "major sources" subject to strict Clean Air Act permit requirements after finding that the facilities emit more greenhouse gases (GHGs) and conventional pollutants than coal plants, yet are able to bypass the permit mandates and are subject to less stringent emission limits.

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