Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Daily News

To Block ESPS Rulemaking, States Target EPA's Deadline Settlement Pact

A dozen states are asking a key appellate court to block EPA from developing its rule limiting greenhouse gases (GHGs) from existing power plants, charging in a novel suit that agency officials were not within their right to agree to the settlement driving the rule's development because it violates the Clean Air Act.

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Senate's EPA FY15 Bill Rejects Water SRF Cuts, Avoids Policy Restrictions

Senate appropriators have released draft fiscal year 2015 funding bill that roughly retains the agency's existing $8.2 billion funding level and rejects the Obama administration's proposed cuts to water infrastructure funding, and does not include provisions in a House FY15 bill that would block major EPA climate, air and other regulations.

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Advocates File Dual Suits To Force Retroactive Use Of Strict SIP PM Rules

Environmentalists are pursuing two lawsuits aiming to force EPA to retroactively implement rules requiring stricter implementation measures in states' compliance plans for the agency's fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standards, after EPA required the stricter approach in new plans but rejected calls to retroactively apply it to existing plans.

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Utilities, Several States Oppose EPA Bid For Court To Lift Stay Of CSAPR

Utility industry groups and several states are fighting EPA's request for an appellate court to lift its stay on implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program, fearing major regulatory burdens if the rule takes effect because the court might scrap CSAPR when it resolves pending litigation.

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Senate Democrats Join Critics Of EPA's Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Rule

Key Senate Democrats are joining critics who have asked EPA to revise its regulatory package seeking to clarify the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA), in a new letter that calls on the agency to clarify key terms in the regulation while also taking aim at the controversial "interpretive rule" exempting many farming practices from permit requirements.

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EPA Cites FDA Ruling In New Bid To Dismiss Mississippi Nutrient Petition

EPA is touting a novel appellate decision that narrowly reads the Supreme Court's landmark 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA requiring agencies to respond substantively to petitions, hoping to use the new decision -- which deals with livestock feed rules -- to support its dismissal of environmentalists' petition seeking stronger nutrient rules in the Mississippi River Basin.

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USDA's New GHG Measures Could Help EPA Craft Stalled Biomass Rule

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a new report with first time "uniform scientific methods" for quantifying carbon sequestration and other changes in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture and forestry practices, an effort that could inform stalled EPA efforts to measure GHGs from biomass used as an energy source.

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Advocates' Suit Could Set Precedent On Stringency Of BART In Haze Plans

Environmentalists' lawsuit challenging EPA's approval of what they say are insufficiently strict best available retrofit technology (BART) emissions control requirements at 33 Pennsylvania power plants could ultimately set a legal precedent on the stringency of BART mandates in states' plans for reducing haze levels, advocates say.

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Appeals Court Rejects Review Of CWA Jurisdictional Finding Despite Sackett

A federal appeals court has rejected industry's attempt to extend the landmark Supreme Court ruling requiring pre-enforcement review of some agency actions to include determinations that waterbodies are "jurisdictional" and subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation, a decision that could soon return the issue to the high court.

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EAB Ruling May Pressure EPA To Better Justify Waste Permit Review Data

EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) in a new ruling says EPA needs to better justify its decision to impose stricter pollution limits than federal rules require following a site-specific risk assessment (SSRA) of a waste combustion unit, which could pressure the agency to craft more detailed explanations for other SSRAs in the future.

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Faulting States, Advocates Seek Fugitive Dust Limit In EPA Coal Ash Rule

Environmentalists are renewing their past calls for EPA to at least retain its proposed fugitive dust emissions standard when the agency promulgates a final Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) rule governing coal ash disposal later this year, issuing a report that highlights the need for the federal standard to drive state controls.

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EPA Rejects GOP Call To Ease GHG, 'Waters' Rules But Seeks To End Strife

Departing EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe is rejecting calls from House Republicans to address small business concerns over the agency's controversial rules defining the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and limiting greenhouse gases (GHGs) from both new and existing power plants.

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Obama Administration Touts Climate ESPS In Global Talks On GHG Cuts

The Obama administration is touting EPA's proposed climate existing source performance standards (ESPS) for utilities as part of talks with other countries on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals ahead of international climate negotiations slated for 2015, saying the rule shows the United States' commitment to cutting GHGs.

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Attorney Questions Utility Of Toxic Substances Control Act Reform Efforts

A prominent Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) attorney is questioning whether Congress and stakeholders should continue pushing long-stalled efforts to reform the 38-year-old statute, which many have long criticized for failing to adequately control industrial chemicals or instill confidence in its controls.

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Georgia High Court Rejects Easing Class-Action Status In Toxic Tort Suits

Georgia's Supreme Court has overturned a lower state court decision that certified an environmental tort suit over hydrogen sulfide gas exposure as a class action, easing fears from national business groups that Georgia would break with federal and other states' precedent by reducing barriers for plaintiffs to pursue such cases.

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Advocates Expand FOIA Efforts To EPA In Bid For Data To Fight Utility ELG

Environmentalists are expanding their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation against several agencies to include EPA, hoping to obtain documents they believe will show the administration weakened EPA's proposed utility effluent rule following industry pressure and bolster a likely suit over the rule if the agency finalizes it as proposed.

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Senate Democrats Seek To Expand Superfund Tax To Tar Sands, Shale Oil

A group of Senate Democrats is seeking to reinstate and expand the long-expired Superfund taxes by subjecting newer oil types, such as tar sands and shale oil, to the tax requirement in a just-introduced bill that also seeks to index any new taxes to inflation and revise the process for making the trust fund balances more readily available to EPA.

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Facing Cost Fears, Key Democrat Floats New Carbon Cap & Dividend Bill

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, is floating revised legislation that would cap carbon emissions and rebate the resulting revenues to consumers, a sign that Democrats are strengthening their economic defense of climate change policies amid public concerns over the economic impact of EPA's rules ahead of the November elections.

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Wisconsin Poised To Seek EPA Approval On Novel Nutrient 'Fee' Variance

Wisconsin policymakers are preparing to seek EPA approval on a potentially precedent-setting variance from its strict phosphorous limits, which requires point source dischargers that qualify for the waiver to pay fees to finance local county conservation programs aimed at reducing nutrient loads from nonpoint sources.

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Industry Charges Study Errors Bolster Challenge To TCE Assessments

As EPA holds two days of hearings on its latest assessments of trichloroethylene (TCE), the chemical industry is pointing to newly acknowledged errors in a controversial study of the substance to bolster its opposition to two assessments, charging that the errors preclude adequate analysis and interpretation of study results needed to support a cardiac birth defects risk for TCE.

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