Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Daily News

EPA Faces Battle Over 'Grandfather' Provision In Dental Amalgam Rule

As the White House reviews EPA's proposed rule setting pretreatment standards for dental amalgam, environmentalists and industry groups are battling over the extent to which the agency should "grandfather" existing state programs, including a Michigan program over which advocates have raised concerns because it preempts stricter local standards.

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EPA Seeks To Downplay Impact Of 'Waters' Proposal On Green Infrastructure

EPA is seeking to assure local regulators that its proposed rule to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) will not subject stormwater channels and green infrastructure features, which the agency has been encouraging municipalities to install, to regulation.

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In Latest Test, Court Rejects Exxon Bid To Limit CWA Jurisdiction For Spills

In what appears to be the latest test of the Clean Water Act's (CWA) reach over oil spills, a federal court in Arkansas has rejected claims by energy giant Exxon that the law's spill provisions rely on a narrower definition of jurisdictional waters than other sections of the law, such as its dredge-and-fill and discharge permit provisions.

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Bucking Industry, Exelon Urges EPA To Strengthen Gas Standard In NSPS

Exelon Corp., one of the nation's largest utilities, is breaking from other players in the industry to urge EPA to tighten its proposed limit for new natural gas plants in its new source performance standard (NSPS) earlier this year, aligning itself with environmental groups also seeking a stricter limit than what the agency proposed.

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Toledo Water Ban Drives New Calls For EPA To Curb Nutrient Releases

Environmentalists and other groups are stepping up calls for regulators to clamp down on phosphorous releases from agriculture operations and other sources after local officials in Toledo, OH, were forced to issue a drinking water ban due to high levels of a toxin stemming from algal blooms that are stimulated by the nutrients.

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EPA Preparing To Gather More Commercial Building Lead Paint Data

EPA is moving ahead with plans to gather extensive data on potential risks to the public from lead paint during renovation and maintenance of public and commercial buildings (P&CBs) -- despite industry arguments that such action is unnecessary -- and is asking the White House to approve an Information Collection Request (ICR) that could support a decision to regulate such activities.

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Agencies' Voluntary Methane Plans Renew Calls For EPA Gas Sector Rules

Recent steps by the Obama administration to encourage voluntary reductions of methane from the downstream natural gas sector, including recent Energy Department (DOE) measures aimed at curbing leakage along the supply chain, are failing to satisfy environmentalists who are intensifying calls for EPA to regulate releases of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG), especially in the natural gas distribution system.

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EPA Defends Waste Classification Rule As Reasonable Use Of Discretion

EPA is defending as a reasonable use of rulemaking discretion its rule for determining when material burned in combustion units is a "waste" subject to strict incinerator emission controls or a "fuel" subject to less-stringent boiler requirements, urging a federal appeals court to reject industry and environmentalist litigation claiming the rule is unlawful.

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States' Novel Suit Over ESPS Settlement Faces Procedural Challenges

The recent suit filed by a dozen states to block EPA's climate rules for existing power plants by challenging the settlement that launched the regulation likely faces a host of procedural challenges that will stymie the suit, a former government lawyer says, though the source says states may be able to address concerns about the timing of the suit.

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EPA Planning Rule To Clarify 'Assumable' Waters For State 404 Programs

EPA is planning to craft a rule to clarify what types of waters are "assumable" under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in response to calls from states that clarity is needed for states to win authority to issue section 404 dredge-and-fill permits and to protect existing programs, particularly given confusion created by the agency's pending CWA jurisdiction rule.

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EPA Advisors, Staff Still Split On Form Of Risk Analysis For Equity Guide

Agency science advisors remain split over the challenging question of whether EPA's existing risk-based decision making framework can be modified to incorporate environmental justice (EJ) considerations or whether the agency should instead shift to a newer framework, an approach that EPA staff is questioning.

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Army Rejects EPA RCRA Order Requiring Propellant Cleanup In Louisiana

The Army is rejecting EPA's recently finalized order under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) to clean up an "imminent" hazard caused by the improper storage of military propellant by an Army contractor at a Louisiana site, with the military arguing it lacks the authority and appropriated funding to take the actions ordered by regulators.

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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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