Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Daily News

EPA Update To Grain Elevator NSPS Falls Short Of Industry Bid For Repeal

EPA is updating its new source performance standards (NSPS) air rule for grain elevators -- used for storing massive amounts of corn produced to make ethanol fuel -- to clarify emissions control requirements for permanent and temporary facilities, but the revisions fall far short of the agriculture industry's push for repeal of the NSPS.

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New Report Finds States Have Tools To Limit ESPS Compliance Costs

DALLAS – States have a wide range of tools to constrain compliance costs under EPA's proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants, according to a new report from a group of energy consultants, who cite long-held state energy regulatory mechanisms, low-income assistance programs and the experience of Northeast states' cap-and-trade program.

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Appeals Court Narrows CWA Permit Shield To Prevent 'Hole' In Water Law

A federal appeals court has ruled to narrow the "shield" that protects holders of Clean Water Act (CWA) permits from liability for their discharges, finding that mining industry arguments that the shield extend to selenium discharges not disclosed or discussed in its permit application would "tear a large hole" in the water law.

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Environmentalists Urge D.C. Circuit To 'Promptly' Reinstate EPA's CSAPR

Environmentalists and public health advocates are urging a federal appeals court to "promptly" lift a stay on EPA implementing its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and for the agency to push ahead with the rule's existing compliance timetable, fighting EPA's bid to lift the stay but extend the rule's deadlines by three years.

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D.C. Circuit Backs EPA's Mountaintop Mining Guides But Limits Application

A federal appellate court has upheld controversial EPA policies for permitting mountaintop mining operations, though the three-judge panel, in its unanimous ruling, limited the policies' application, saying state permit writers are "free to ignore" the agency's advice when crafting discharge permits and EPA may not use the policies to justify enforcement actions.

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EPA Urged To Seek New Data On Regulating Additional Drilling Air Toxics

Environmentalists are urging EPA to pursue a formal data collection on air toxics from oil and gas drilling that they say could inform stricter pollution limits for the sector on several hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) such as benzene, and also help justify first-time limits on unregulated drilling HAPs such as trichloroethane and vinyl chloride.

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Cities Urged To Tighten Stormwater Controls To Address Climate Change

Local governments will be especially at risk of increased tort litigation over increased flooding and other climate change effects in the coming years unless they begin to reflect such anticipated changes in their stormwater and floodplain policies and programs, according to a new draft report from the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM).

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McCarthy Suggests Dropping Controversial CWA Permit Waivers For Farms

Facing mounting criticism from many quarters, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency is open to dropping the administration's controversial interpretive rule that seeks to exempt dozens of agricultural practices from Clean Water Act (CWA) dredge-and-fill permit requirements and is working with critics on an alternative approach.

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Advocates Aim To Expand Carbon 'Cost' Review Ruling For Energy Leases

Environmentalists are pushing to expand the reach of a recent district court ruling that suggests federal agencies must consider use of social cost of carbon (SCC) estimates when reviewing the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of coal extraction leases, seeking SCC analyses in other leasing reviews for fossil fuel energy sources.

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Environmentalists Urge Court to Reinstate CAFO Reporting Rulemaking

Environmentalists are urging a federal court to rule on their complaint seeking to reinstate EPA's abandoned Clean Water Act (CWA) rulemaking requiring livestock facilities to report discharge and other data, arguing in a recently filed summary judgment motion that the agency's withdrawal of the proposal was arbitrary and capricious because it was not justified by the record.

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EEI Identifies Dozens Of Issues For EPA To Address In Proposed ESPS

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which represents investor-owned utilities, is urging EPA to correct dozens of potential inconsistencies, errors and areas in need of clarification in the agency's proposed existing source performance standards (ESPS) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants.

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Courts Find Bankruptcy Settlement Triggers CERCLA Limitation Period

Appellate courts have found for the first time that the Superfund law's statute of limitations for bankrupt companies seeking contribution claims begins to run as soon as a bankruptcy court has approved the agreement settling a government entity's cleanup claims, and not at later dates, such as when the company's reorganization plan becomes effective.

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Former EPA Air Chief Holmstead Faces DOJ 'Conflict' Charge In NSR Case

The Justice Department (DOJ) is seeking to rebut expert testimony that former Bush-era EPA air chief Jeff Holmstead has provided in defense of a Missouri power company for alleged new source review (NSR) violations, charging the former official has a conflict of interest because he is relying on privileged information he received while serving at EPA.

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GOP Eyes FY15 Omnibus Bill To Resolve Fight Over EPA Funding, Policies

House Republicans are pushing ahead with approving fiscal year 2015 funding bills for EPA and other agencies in order to trigger conference negotiations with the Senate on an omnibus spending package, which could be the vehicle for resolving fights over whether to cut EPA's budget and provisions that would block key agency policies.

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EAB Backs Idaho Water Permit Without Strict 'Daily' Limits To Meet TMDL

EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has rejected a novel permit challenge brought by environmentalists that sought to impose strict "daily" discharge limits in an Idaho wastewater plant's permit in order to comply with mandatory daily limits in the receiving water's cleanup plan, after it determined that the permit was consistent with the cleanup requirements.

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Facing Cleanup Costs, Grace Seeks To Soften EPA's Asbestos Analysis

Chemical conglomerate W.R. Grace is pressing EPA to incorporate a trio of new studies the company funded into its ongoing assessment of Libby amphibole asbestos' (LAA) human health risks in an effort to get the agency to select a different health endpoint and ease its proposed risk value that is expected to drive costly cleanups around the country.

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EPA Will Speed Selection, Monitoring Of SDWA Contaminants In New Rule

EPA is considering shorter monitoring periods and more selective criteria for selecting contaminants in the next iteration of its unregulated contaminant monitoring rule (UCMR) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), and has added new contaminants to the list of contaminants under consideration for the new regulation.

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Conservation Districts Seek General Permit Over Waiver For Farm Practices

Conservation districts are urging EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider crafting a Clean Water Act (CWA) general permit to cover agriculture conservation practices without farmers having to seek Corps' approval -- an alternative approach to the administration's waiver exempting more than 50 such practices from CWA dredge-and-fill permits.

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McCarthy Vows To Address Farmers' 'Legitimate' Concerns Over CWA Plan

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is acknowledging what she says are "legitimate" concerns that the agriculture sector is raising over the administration's proposed plan to clarify the scope of Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction, saying the agency will work to address fears that portions of the plan will unintentionally narrow some permit waivers.

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Federal Court Ruling Highlights Need For Clarity In Groundwater CWA Suits

A recent federal court ruling finding that a Hawaii wastewater reclamation plant discharged pollutants into the Pacific Ocean via underground springs is highlighting the need for courts to clarify how Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdictional claims via groundwater connections are decided -- a key question emerging from EPA's proposed jurisdiction rule.

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