Friday, August 29, 2014
Daily News
08-19-2014

Seeking To Clear Procedural Hurdle, Coal Firm Files New Suit Over ESPS

Coal mining firm Murray Energy has filed a second suit seeking to prove that EPA lacks authority to issue its proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants, charging in its most recent petition that the plan's publication is a "final action" eligible for review so the court can address its underlying charge about EPA's authority.

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EPA Advisors Suggest Expanding 'Waters' Rule To Oversee Groundwater

Some members of a Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel are urging EPA to expand its controversial proposal clarifying when waters are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) oversight to indicate that groundwater in many cases should be considered jurisdictional and subject to regulation, a plan that if adopted would increase opposition to the plan.

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EPA Sees Weight Cuts From Light Trucks, Aiding Vehicle GHG Rule Defense

Preliminary findings from an upcoming EPA study suggest automakers could significantly reduce light truck weight -- though at a cost -- while more modest weight reductions could actually save manufacturers money, conclusions that could help the agency defend its vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) rules during an upcoming mid-term review.

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Judge Rejects Majority Of Pesticide 'Mega' Suit Challenges As Time-Barred

A federal district court judge has rejected as time-barred the majority of claims in environmentalists' "mega" suit seeking to force EPA to review the effects of scores of pesticides on more than 100 endangered species, although the judge could allow some claims to proceed if the plaintiffs provide additional justification for them.

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08-18-2014

EPA Eyes Greater Use Of 'Probabilistic' Risk To Improve Policy Decisions

EPA is looking to greater use of "probabilistic" risk assessment (PRA) methods -- which can create ranges of potential risk compared to the traditional approach of a single point risk estimate -- as a way to improve the quality of the risk data it uses as the basis for a slew of agency decisions on air, water, waste and other pollution policies.

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EPA Cites Lack Of Data In Bid To Block Suit Over Waters' CO2 Impairment

EPA is seeking to block environmentalists' suit to force the agency to list waters off the coasts of Washington and Oregon as impaired due to ocean acidification, a suit that if successful could lead to a novel use of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to control carbon dioxide (CO2) that advocates say is increasing pH and harming oysters and other shellfish.

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EPA Eyes Mine Site Strategy To Improve Costs, Effectiveness Of Cleanups

EPA plans to develop a Superfund strategy for addressing contaminated mining sites to improve the effectiveness of those cleanups and lower costs such as through innovative treatment methods, due to the agency's continuing long-term costs at mining sites that are undercutting its limited Superfund budget, according to a key EPA Superfund official.

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Industry, States Looks To SAB To Apply Method For Grading Waters' 'Nexus'

Industry and some states are hoping that EPA advisors will use their upcoming review of the agency's proposed rule clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to help apply its call for the agency to adopt a "graded" approach for determining if smaller isolated waters have a "significant" nexus to larger waters, an effort the sources hope will narrow the proposal's reach.

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EPRI Protocol Could Bolster Agricultural Sector's Pursuit Of GHG 'Offsets'

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is touting a greenhouse gas (GHG) validation and verification methodology it developed that it says allowed a novel GHG "offset" transaction for agricultural emissions, which could clear the path for the sector to ramp up participation in carbon markets and other GHG reduction programs.

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08-15-2014

DOE Sees Drilling For LNG Harming Air Quality But Climate Effects Uncertain

The Department of Energy (DOE), in its final review of environmental impacts associated with increased production due to liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, is identifying emissions of conventional air pollutants as a potential human health concern but the department says it is unable to quantify the adverse global climate impacts from methane releases.

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EPA Fights Novel Bid For Full D.C. Circuit To Hear Call For Stricter MACTs

EPA is fighting environmentalists' request for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hold a novel full panel hearing of their lawsuit urging the court to reverse a precedent established in at least two prior rulings that advocates criticize as wrongly decided and that they say has led to insufficiently strict air toxics rules.

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Suit Tests 'Due Process' Claim Against CWA Jurisdiction Determinations

Industry plaintiffs are preparing to file a new complaint in an ongoing suit where a federal judge will consider claims that the Due Process Clause of the Constitution allows pre-enforcement review of administrative determinations that waterbodies are "jurisdictional" and subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA) -- an argument courts, including the Supreme Court, have thus far sidestepped.

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Novel Suit Could Set Precedent On Using Species Act To Fight Air Permits

A federal court is ordering EPA to respond to a claim by California environmentalists trying to block issuance of a Clean Air Act permit for a power plant they say will endanger the future of a rare butterfly species -- a novel use of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to try and block an air permit, which could set a precedent if it succeeds.

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Conservative Group Says EPA Must Review Climate ESPS' Species Impacts

A conservative legal group is warning EPA that it must pursue a formal consultation with other agencies on the potential endangered species impacts of its proposed climate existing source performance standards (ESPS) for utilities, saying the rule is likely to encourage more solar and wind power that could harm listed species and habitats.

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08-14-2014

At Argument, Judges Seem Likely To Narrow CWA General Permit 'Shield'

Appellate judges appeared to side with environmentalists and EPA at recent oral arguments in a closely watched case that could narrow the "shield" that protects holders of Clean Water Act (CWA) general permits from liability for their discharges, raising questions over whether such permits can implicitly allow discharges not mentioned in the text or the permit-holder's filings.

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Long-Awaited Suit Seeks To Block EPA's Wastewater 'Blending' Ban

EPA is facing a new suit that could force it to broadly apply a 2013 appellate decision striking down its Clean Water Act (CWA) policy barring "blending" of partially and fully treated wastewater in wet weather events -- a long-expected move after the agency announced that it would only consider the ruling binding within the circuit where it was issued.

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EPA Faces Competing Calls For Revisions To Radiation Protection Rules

EPA is facing competing calls for revisions to its decades-old health and environmental protections for limiting exposure to radiation from commercial nuclear waste with environmentalists calling for strengthened protections through a risk-based standard while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and industry are pushing EPA to retain a dose-based standard.

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EPA Faces New Call To Craft NAAQS For GHGs, Raising Doubt On ESPS

EPA might be legally obliged to create a national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for greenhouse gases (GHGs) and be precluded from its plan to issue GHG performance standards for utilities because climate rules EPA has already issued satisfy the criteria for setting a NAAQS, a North Carolina official says.

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New York, Utilities Signal Competing Challenges To EPA Cooling Water Rule

New York state is signaling in new comments that it may join environmentalists in a likely suit against EPA over the recently finalized Clean Water Act (CWA) rule for cooling water intake structures at power plants and other industrial facilities -- action that could come soon as the agency is poised to publish the rule in the Federal Register Aug. 15.

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Refiners, Environmentalists Spar Over EPA Bid To Revise Sector Air Rules

Refiners, environmentalists and others are sparring over EPA's plan to revise and tighten emissions standards for the sector, with the oil sector and a Democratic lawmaker saying stricter rules are unnecessary and would impose major costs, while advocates and some state officials argue the agency should set even more stringent standards.

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