Friday, April 25, 2014
Daily News

EPA, State Air Officials Agree On Plan To Overhaul, Streamline SIP Process

SAUSALITO, CA -- EPA and state officials have agreed on a framework plan for using existing Clean Air Act authority to overhaul and streamline the state implementation plan (SIP) process for attaining air quality standards while also committing the agency to clear the existing backlog of SIPs by the end of 2017.

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Florida, Utilities Fight Suit For Strict Antidegradation Limits On Nutrients

Florida officials and regulated entities are seeking to block environmentalists' novel suit aimed at forcing EPA to strengthen antidegradation rules as a way to more strictly enforce the state's landmark nutrient limits, filing motions to intervene in the ongoing suit in part because they fear EPA could agree to a settlement that tightens permit limits.

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Army Dispute Tests EPA's Cleanup Approach For Perchlorate Absent MCL

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is weighing a request from the Army to use a now abandoned state screening level for cleaning up perchlorate contaminated groundwater at a facility in Texas in a case that could test how strictly the agency will regulate scores of cleanups while officials struggle to craft a first-time enforceable drinking water standard for the contaminant.

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EPA Budget Proposal Leaves Fate Of Key Air Toxics Assessment In Doubt

EPA's fiscal year 2015 budget proposal leaves the fate of the agency's major nationwide assessment of risks from air toxics in doubt due to uncertainty over funding for the program, which could potentially mean another delay for EPA's latest version of the assessment after scrapping a planned update last year due to resource constraints.

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EPA FY15 Proposal Boosts Funds For States To Implement Climate Rules

President Obama's fiscal year 2015 budget proposal for EPA would significantly boost funding for climate programs including states' efforts to implement the agency's greenhouse gas (GHG) regulatory agenda, which may help alleviate states' fears of resource burdens in crafting plans to comply with EPA's GHG rule for existing utilities.

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EPA Details Guide For Sustaining Laboratories' Functions For NAS Review

EPA has outlined a series of guidelines that it is using as it assesses whether and how to sustain its laboratories' "science functions" while also making the labs more efficient and able to address future needs, according to documents recently released by a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee reviewing the issue.

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Toxicologists Urge Shimkus To Define 'Best Available Science' In TSCA Bill

A subcommittee of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) is urging Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) to better define the requirement contained in his draft bill reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), that EPA use "best available science" when conducting regulatory testing and risk assessment of industrial chemicals.

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Advocates Advance Novel Suits On Clean Water Permits For Coal Trains

Environmentalists are weighing whether to consolidate two novel cases testing whether train cars carrying coal and other pollutants are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits because they are "point sources" of pollution, litigation they hope will help them curb industry plans to construct new coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest.

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Facing Deadline Fears, EPA Weighs Two-Step Option For State GHG Plans

EPA is considering allowing states to use a two-step process for crafting plans to comply with its pending new source performance standards (NSPS) to curb greenhouse gases (GHG) at existing power plants as it faces heated criticism from officials that the proposed one-year deadline to submit the plans is too ambitious.

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Judge Vacates EPA's Water Transfer Rule, Opening Door To Permit Mandate

In a stinging decision, a federal judge has overturned EPA's rule exempting some water transfers from Clean Water Act (CWA) permit requirements because the agency misinterpreted the law's requirements, a ruling that if not stayed could require new and ongoing transfer operations to seek permits or face enforcement actions.

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Despite State Fears, Key Senators Back SDWA For New EPA Spill Program

Democratic senators on the environment committee are poised to mark up a bill later this week creating a new EPA drinking water law program governing chemical releases from above ground storage tanks, despite fears from state drinking water regulators that they lack the resources and expertise to implement the bill's mandates, sources say.

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Advocates Eye Suit Over EPA Failure To Consult On Pesticide Registration

Environmental and food safety groups are threatening to sue EPA over the agency's decision to register a new pesticide without first consulting with federal wildlife officials on the product's risks to endangered species, signaling that advocates plan to fight to ensure that the agency's new assessment process should apply to new substances as well as existing chemicals.

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EPA To Review Options For Regulating Oil And Gas Methane Emissions

EPA is launching a formal review of oil and gas industry sources of the greenhouse gas (GHG) methane to help it decide by this fall on how to best control such releases, a key part of President Obama's just-released plan to curb methane emissions and which could result in first-time regulations of the pollutant for the energy sector.

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SEAB Seeks Broader Disclosure Of Fracking Chemicals Despite Trade Secret Fears

An Energy Department (DOE) advisory panel has unanimously approved a draft report urging regulators to strengthen disclosure requirements for chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations, brushing aside industry concerns that the panel's advice would violate trade secret protections contained in federal environmental laws.

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CASAC Eyes Stricter Ozone Limit As Critics Raise Legal Doubts On Review

EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) members appear to be supporting a tightening of the existing ozone ambient air standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to an unspecified limit below 70 ppb, though GOP and industry critics of a stricter level are raising legal doubts over the process of CASAC's ozone review.

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EPA Touts Success Of Staff Buyouts To Lift Freeze On Hiring Employees

EPA says the success of its recent controversial round of headquarters and regional staff buyouts means the agency can now eliminate an existing freeze on hiring new employees and give program offices more flexibility on how to make new hires, though some EPA union sources still fear the agency is preparing a second round of buyouts.

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Novel Suit Seeks To Mandate EPA Review Of Seismic Risks For UIC Permits

Residents and officials in Brady Township, PA, are challenging an EPA underground injection control (UIC) permit in a novel administrative suit that could provide a new legal basis to require the agency to consider potential seismic risks when permitting disposal of oil and gas wastewater on the grounds that it may threaten drinking water sources.

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Environmentalists Seek Broad Court Remand Of EPA Combustion Air Rules

Environmentalists are urging a federal appeals court to grant a broad remand of EPA's boiler and incinerator emissions rules and require the agency to take notice and comment on a host of provisions that relied on a controversial statistical approach the court has doubted, pushing back on the agency' bid for a much narrower remand.

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Advocates Fault EPA Use Of Data Notice In RCRA Waste Gasification Rule

Environmentalists are criticizing EPA's reliance on a 1998 data notice to help justify a contested 2008 rule excluding some fuel produced through gasification of hazardous waste from strict Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) mandates, saying the notice fails to provide an adequate legal basis for the rule as the agency is claiming.

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Republicans Detail Legal, Legislative Challenges To CWA Jurisdiction Rule

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) is signaling that EPA's newly proposed rule on the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) will face both legal and legislative challenges focused on its definition of streams and "ephemeral" waters as well as officials' decision to advance the plan before completing a supporting study from its science advisors.

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