Thursday, July 24, 2014
Daily News

Industry Urges EPA To Ease NSPS For Gas Plants Tied To Renewables

Some natural gas utilities and turbine producers are urging EPA to set a new, weaker greenhouse gas (GHG) limit for new gas-fired power plants that serve as backup to renewable generation in its proposed new source performance standards (NSPS), arguing that the plants cannot achieve the current proposed limit because those facilities must ramp up and down quickly to fill in when renewable energy is unavailable, boosting emissions.

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Supreme Court Denial Of LCFS Suit Could Boost ESPS' Renewables Focus

The Supreme Court has declined to hear fuel industry groups' appeal of a ruling rejecting their claims that California's low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) violates the Constitution's commerce clause, a decision that could bolster states looking to craft low-carbon renewable energy programs to comply with EPA's utility greenhouse gas (GHG) rule.

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Key Appeals Court Vacates EPA Gasification, Comparable Fuels Rules

A key federal appellate court has vacated two EPA rules that excluded from strict federal waste law mandates fuel produced through gasification of hazardous waste and fuel produced from hazardous waste that the agency argued was comparable to common fossil fuels when burned.

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CASAC Open To EPA Request For Novel Panel To Review NAAQS Costs

EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) says it would form a novel ad hoc panel to review the economic costs and benefits of the agency's national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) if the agency requests it, following criticisms from industry and the GOP that CASAC ignores costs in the NAAQS review process.

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Refiners Fight EPA Plan To Expand RFS 'Pathways' For Cellulosic Biofuels

Refiners are waging an 11th-hour push for the Obama administration to scale back a proposal that would expand the "pathways" for the types of fuels that can qualify as cellulosic biofuels under EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing that the rule lacks a scientific basis and unlawfully tries to revise a statutory definition for cellulosic biofuels.

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Refiners Say CBO Study Bolsters Push To Scale Back EPA's RFS Targets

Refiners say a recent non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS) bolsters their calls to scale back the program's fuel production targets in 2014 and future years, as the analysis echoes an industry study warning that increases in the targets could lead to major fuel cost increases.

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As Democrats Stall Nominees, Water Office Pick Said To Weigh Withdrawal

Senate Democratic leaders are delaying floor votes on pending EPA and other environmental nominees because they lack the votes from vulnerable Democrats who are unwilling to back the nominees so soon before the midterm elections in the face of Republicans' push to make any vote a referendum on agency climate, clean water and other policies, congressional and other sources say.

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New Water Permitting Mandate Tests Precedent On Suing Over EPA Letters

California wastewater utilities are suing EPA to vacate a series of letters to state officials that they say mandate burdensome new toxic testing procedures in Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits -- a suit that could test the reach of a landmark 2013 appellate decision that said agency letters are open to challenge when they set new regulatory mandates.

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EPA Seeks To Reinstate CSAPR, Citing Minimal Harm To States, Utilities

EPA is asking a federal appeals court to lift its stay blocking implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and extend the cap-and-trade emissions program's compliance deadlines by three years, saying it would have minimal adverse impacts on regulated states and utilities as most sources are already in compliance with the rule.

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States Back Coal Company's Novel Suit To Block EPA's Proposed ESPS

Led by West Virginia, a group of nine states is supporting a coal mining firm's novel legal challenge to EPA's proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for the existing power fleet, charging that the proposal is unlawful as a threshold matter since the Clean Air Act bars such regulation if the source category is already subject to air toxics limits.

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High Court Review Of California LCFS May Undercut ESPS' Renewables Plan

The Supreme Court is poised to consider whether to hear a challenge to an appellate decision upholding California's low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) as complying with the Constitution's commerce clause, and some sources say a successful challenge could undercut EPA's greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants which assumes states' use of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that face similar constitutional concerns as the LCFS.

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EPA Suggests Climate As FY16 Budget Priority, Prompting States' Caution

EPA in a memo to top agency officials is suggesting that climate change policies such as its proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing utilities will be a fiscal year 2016 budget priority, prompting caution from state air regulators who are warning against diverting core air program funds to pay for implementing GHG rules.

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Environmentalists Test Scope Of New Logging Roads Permit Exclusion

Environmentalists are seeking to re-start litigation over when stormwater discharges from logging roads require permits in the wake of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that sent the issue back to district court, even though a new EPA rule on the issue, combined with the high court's decision, has dramatically reduced the number of roads that could be subject to permit limits.

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High Court's UARG Ruling Leaves Open Questions On GHG Permit Threshold

The Supreme Court's recent ruling upholding most of the agency's greenhouse gas (GHG) permit program is raising a host of questions on how the agency should set a new de minimis threshold to exempt some major sources from GHG requirements after the court effectively vacated the agency's "tailoring" rule, which had sought to ease statutory thresholds intended for conventional pollutants.

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In Latest Action, EPA Poised To Expand List Of 'Climate Safe' Chemicals

EPA is poised to release in the coming days a rule to expand a list of alternatives to ozone-depleting refrigerants and other chemicals, in an effort to move away from materials once touted as ozone friendly but which act as powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs), the latest action intended to implement the administration's year-old Climate Action Plan.

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SAB Panel Struggles To Agree On Scope Of EPA's Risk Review For TMBs

EPA advisors are at odds on whether the agency should expand its draft risk assessment of trimethylbenzenes (TMBs), chemicals derived largely from vehicle exhaust, beyond the three chemicals the agency has assessed or whether to include industry data on a broader group of substances, which could lead to weaker risk values than EPA proposed.

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EPA Delays Long-Running Libby Asbestos IRIS Assessment Until October

EPA is delaying its long-pending assessment of the human health risks of Libby amphibole asbestos (LAA), which had been scheduled for release this summer but has now been moved back until October or later, according to documents the agency recently filed in its defense of a lawsuit brought by the law firm representing the company that mined the toxic contaminant for decades.

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CASAC Seeks Consultation With EPA On Fate Of SO2 NAAQS Risk Review

EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) is urging the agency to formally consult with the full panel on whether to conduct a broad risk and exposure assessment (REA) for its review of the sulfur dioxide (SO2) ambient air standard, after EPA suggested a narrower consultation with individual CASAC members.

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EPA Delays Water Standards Rule To 2015 In New Rulemaking Agenda

EPA has delayed by a year its self-imposed target for finalizing the long-awaited rule governing state water quality standards, along with shorter delays to a series of pending and planned regulatory actions from the Office of Water, according to the Obama administration's latest unified rulemaking agenda.

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Biodiesel Advocates Wage Legal Bid To Limit Future Suits Over EPA's RFS

Biodiesel advocates are waging a legal bid to try and limit refiners' ability to file future suits over EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS), asking a federal appeals court to rehear its decision rejecting on the merits a refining company's lawsuit over the 2013 RFS and instead urging a ruling that limits refiners' standing to file such suits.

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