Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Daily News

State Discretion On 'New Gas' As ESPS Compliance Tool May Impact Markets

EPA's plan to limit greenhouse gases (GHGs) from existing power plants gives states the option of whether to count emissions from new natural gas combined-cycle (NGCC) units as a mechanism to achieve their targets, opening the door to a patchwork approach that sources say could have market impacts, such as decisions on where to site new gas units.

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Advocates Fear EPA Cleanup Plan Shows 'Backsliding' On Dioxin Standard

Environmentalists fear that EPA's proposed cleanup plan for a Michigan river floodplain shows the agency "backsliding" from its strict 2012 non-cancer risk values for dioxin, saying the site-specific plan floats significantly weaker cleanup standards than the 2012 estimates that industry groups have claimed are flawed and overly stringent.

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EPA Clarity On Ozone Precursor Air Limits May Ease Permitting Process

EPA in a new filing with the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) is clarifying that it uses air permit best available control technology (BACT) reviews for ozone-forming pollutants individually rather than aggregating them, and the statement could ease industry's ability to avoid limits on certain ozone precursors in future permits.

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9th Circuit Rejects Novel Request To Regulate Diesel PM Under Waste Law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in a unanimous opinion has rejected environmentalists' novel push for states and EPA to regulate diesel particulate matter (DPM) from locomotives under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), saying emissions of DPM do not constitute "disposal" of solid waste subject to regulation under the waste law.

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EPA Asks Court To Let Pebble Mine Permit Veto Review Proceed During Suit

EPA and environmentalists are asking a federal district court to allow the agency to proceed with its consideration of a novel preemptive Clean Water Act (CWA) veto of disposal sites for the planned Pebble Mine in Alaska during existing litigation over the veto process, saying industry has failed to provide justification to stay the veto review.

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EPA Rejects Industry Criticisms Of Strict Ethylene Oxide Risk Assessment

EPA in a third draft of its risk assessment for the sterilizing chemical ethylene oxide (EtO) is rejecting industry criticisms that the agency's approach for the assessment is flawed and leads to overly stringent risk estimates, using the latest version of the analysis to further explain its approach while retaining its strict overall cancer risk value.

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Peer Reviewers At Odds On EPA Methane Papers But Seek Better GHG Data

Peer reviewers charged with commenting on EPA white papers examining sources of methane emissions from energy production are largely split on any policy outcomes and a host of other issues but they agree that the agency needs to improve its data, including by making greater use of data from its greenhouse gas reporting (GHG) program.

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Hastings Criticizes Novel Pact Requiring CWA Permits For Hydropower Dams

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), chair of the Natural Resources Committee, is criticizing a novel proposed consent decree by the Army Corps of Engineers and environmentalists that would require Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for major hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest, fearing it sets a precedent for thousands of similar dams.

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Appeals Court Seeks New Briefs In Camp Lejeune Water Pollution Tort Case

A federal appeals court is asking the Justice Department (DOJ) and former residents of a Marine Corps base in North Carolina to provide supplemental briefs in a high-profile environmental tort case on whether a recent state law clarifying when such suits may be filed applies retroactively to the pending litigation.

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Court Backs EPA Veto Of State Water Limit, Teeing Up 'Deference' Review

A federal appellate court has backed EPA's authority to reject state water quality criteria in a ruling that defers to the agency's interpretation of its own rules but opening the door for unsuccessful industry litigants to take the question to the Supreme Court -- where key justices have invited parties to bring a case that will allow them to end such deference.

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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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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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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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