Sunday, April 20, 2014
Daily News

CASAC Members Aim To Boost Case For Novel 'Secondary' Ozone NAAQS

Members of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) are trying to bolster the case for the agency to pursue a novel distinct "secondary" ozone standard to protect the environment, highlighting insufficient scientific justification for the separate standard that industry critics could potentially use to fight a secondary limit.

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States Seek To Coordinate Methane Control Plans As EPA Readies Strategy

Facing growing calls to limit methane from the oil and gas sector, state regulators will use their upcoming spring meeting to launch talks on a coordinated interstate approach for curbing releases of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG), an effort that appears likely to echo the administration's upcoming voluntary strategy for limiting the emissions.

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Senate GOP Faults EPA Use Of Water SRF Cuts To Fund Policy Priorities

Senate Republicans are criticizing EPA's proposal to cut its water state revolving funds (SRFs) in fiscal year 2015, saying the agency appears to be taking money from the accounts to pay for other policy priorities and noting that the plan is "disingenuous" because Congress in previous years has reversed EPA's attempts to reduce the SRFs.

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EPA Study On Health Effects Of Climate Change Seen Bolstering Strict Rules

EPA is crafting two studies on the effects of deadly heat waves and potential increases in air pollution from climate change as part of an interagency review of climate-related health impacts aimed at improving local management decisions and quantifying the expected burden from not addressing the issue.

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EPA Limits Drinking Water Considerations In New Affordability Framework

EPA is indicating it will only allow limited consideration of communities' Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) obligations in its upcoming framework for assessing their ability to pay for new infrastructure upgrades needed to comply with Clean Water Act (CWA) mandates, a move that is drawing criticism from municipal officials.

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Industry Fights EPA Bid To Ban Air Toxics From Pressure Relief Devices

Industry groups are fighting EPA's efforts to prohibit air toxics emissions from pressure relief devices (PRDs) -- used to vent excess emissions that might otherwise harm facility operations -- saying the policy change would impose major costs and force facilities to choose between air law compliance or safe operations.

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EPA Plan To Expand CWA Permit Waivers For Farms Fails To Quell Concerns

The Obama administration's just-released plan for exempting dozens of agricultural practices from Clean Water Act (CWA) permit requirements, released alongside its proposed rule clarifying the law's reach over smaller waters, is doing little to quell concerns from farm groups that are leading efforts to block the regulatory package.

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Judges Doubt Suit Over EPA Denial Of Petition Seeking Coal Mine NSPS

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit at oral arguments appeared highly skeptical of environmentalists suit' challenging EPA's decision to deny their petition to regulate coal mine methane emissions due to limited resources, saying the agency has significant discretion on rulemaking petitions.

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EPA Releases CWA Jurisdiction Proposal, Expands Agriculture Waivers

EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have released their long-awaited proposed rule aimed at clarifying the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) over some wetlands and other smaller waters despite significant opposition from industry groups and GOP lawmakers, who fear it will result in default jurisdictional determinations for some unregulated waters.

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Officials Tout Green Infrastructure Incentives As Stormwater Rules Falter

The White House is touting public-private partnerships (P3s) and other financing incentives for municipalities to encourage property owners to install green-infrastructure projects to control stormwater runoff even as EPA indicates that it is dropping plans for a federal stormwater-retention mandate and other regulatory drivers for the technology.

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EPA Aims To Help Cities Overcome Limits On Using Green Infrastructure

EPA has issued a guidance document that aims to help municipalities overcome planning and modeling hurdles to implementing novel green infrastructure controls to address combined sewer overflows (CSOs), but it is unclear whether the guide provides sufficient regulatory certainty on the controls' performance to fully resolve those hurdles.

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EPA Eyes Local Groups For Improving Plant Safety, Skirting IST Debate

Administration officials working to implement President Obama's executive order on improving safety and security at industrial plants are considering strengthening local emergency planning committees (LEPCs) overseen by EPA but are not addressing calls to require controversial new safety requirements at facilities.

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Suit Seeking Jobs Review Of EPA Rules Shows Split On 'Economy' Modeling

Energy companies are suing EPA in a bid to block any new coal sector air rules until the agency analyzes their impact on employment in the industry -- but the companies oppose using "whole economy" modeling for the study, highlighting an ongoing debate over whether the modeling is the best method for reviewing the jobs' impact of EPA policies.

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High Court Lets Stand Ruling Granting EPA Broad Permit Veto Powers

The Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that granted EPA broad authority to veto projects permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers "whenever" the agency finds harm would occur, a move that likely bolsters EPA's power as it weighs whether to take the novel step of vetoing the proposed Pebble Mine project before a permit has been sought.

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Suits Test EPA Bid To Curb High Court Mandate To Respond To Petitions

EPA is asking an appellate court to narrowly interpret the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA that required agencies to respond substantively to regulatory petitions, while preparing for oral argument in another appeal where it is seeking to indefinitely defer such responses -- both questions which appellate courts have not yet addressed in the years since the high court's decision.

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Industry Wins Key Standing Ruling In NEPA Suit But Now Faces Merits Test

Mining and other industry groups have won a novel ruling granting them standing to challenge a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis that would bar their access to uranium mining on public lands near the Grand Canyon, one of the few times industry groups have won such a right in a NEPA case.

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EPA Oil Spill Rule Revisions Could Supersede Suit Seeking Policy Update

EPA's upcoming revisions to its rule for mitigating oil spills in water could supersede a pending suit filed by environmentalists seeking to force the agency to collect data on the appropriate locations and quantities for using chemical dispersants in oil spills, depending on the scope of the agency's rulemaking.

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EPA, State Department Weigh Use Of Air Law To Force Overseas GHG Cuts

EPA and State Department officials are weighing a proposal by California and legal experts to cite a rarely used Clean Air Act provision to force other countries to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the same extent as the United States, arguing the Obama administration could use the section to guide a future international pact on cutting GHGs.

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EPA Rejects Late Call To Codify Climate Assessment Mandate In Sewer Pact

EPA has rejected an 11th-hour request from three Florida mayors to codify commitments government lawyers and county officials made that would have allowed for novel assessments of potential climate risks to sewer upgrades after a federal court had rejected similar requests from environmentalists.

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API Ramps Up RFS Repeal Push, Fearing Time To Approve Bill Narrowing

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is ramping up its push for Congress to approve legislation repealing EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS) by launching a new advertising campaign and lobbying lawmakers, fearing that the timeframe for moving such a bill is shrinking and will end when attention shifts to the November midterm elections.

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