Friday, September 19, 2014
Inside EPA - 05/06/2011

Nationwide Permits May Be Early Test For CWA Jurisdiction Guide's Scope

Industry and environmental groups are sparring over the reach of new conditions in recent Clean Water Act (CWA) nationwide permits (NWPs) setting default pollution limits for intermittent or ephemeral streams, which may provide an early test for the scope of EPA's guidance that is seen as expanding the water law's reach to such streams.1210 words

Utilities' Switch To Natural Gas Due To Low Prices Prompts Key Concerns

Key consulting firms are revising their analyses of EPA power sector rules to account for falling natural gas prices they say will boost the number of utilities that shutter coal-fired plants and transition to gas due to the cost of the rules, prompting concerns about the need for increased hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to meet higher gas demand and whether existing infrastructure can handle a large switch to gas.1499 words

EPA, White House Shift Toward Strict Fracking Rules Faces Major Hurdles

EPA and the White House appear to be shifting toward seeing a need for stricter regulation of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to address rising public concerns about fracking's potential health and environmental risks, but the effort faces major hurdles including a lack of data, political uncertainties and an industry split on the need for strict rules.1849 words

Activists Urge EPA To Oppose First GHG Permit For Failing To Meet BACT

Environmentalists are urging EPA to object to the first Clean Air Act permit to include greenhouse gas (GHG) limits due to concerns that the landmark permit fails to meet best available control technology (BACT) requirements, creating a test for the agency, which raised its own concerns that mirror the activists' criticisms.1313 words

EPA Grants First 'Exceptional' Exemption For Exceeding Ozone NAAQS

EPA Region IX has granted the agency's first-ever "exceptional events" exemption for exceeding its ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS), after finding that ozone spikes associated with deadly 2008 California wildfires should not count toward compliance with the agency's ozone air standard.520 words

Court Cites EPA Rules In Rejecting Auto Dealers' GHG Vehicle Waiver Suit

A federal appeals court has rejected auto dealers' long-pending lawsuit challenging EPA's approval in 2010 for a Clean Air Act waiver allowing California to craft first-time greenhouse gas (GHG) limits for vehicles, finding that subsequent federal GHG vehicle rules that California endorsed effectively displace industry's lawsuit.411 words

Lawmakers Urge Halt To EPA Pesticide Consultations Prior To NAS Study

Key House lawmakers are urging EPA to halt further inter-agency consultations on the risks pesticides might pose to endangered species until the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issues a study on streamlining the process, while saying that the consultation process should be modified to consider the economic impacts of limits on pesticide use.1364 words

Draft Senate Bill Pushes Fuel-Switching Instead Of Weakened EPA Rules

Draft Senate legislation aims to solve what EPA critics say is a "train wreck" of pending rules for the power sector that could shutter some facilities by proposing to weaken the rules, or alternatively exempting plants from the new weakened agency rules if they transition from coal to other fuel sources.705 words

Industry Challenges EPA To Redo Non-Cancer Methanol Risk Assessment

Industry is calling on EPA to withdraw and redo its recently released draft assessment of methanol's non-cancer risks, arguing that the document does not account for natural levels of methanol in the human body, ignores industry-funded studies published just last year, and is based on an inappropriate animal model.909 words

Under Pressure, EPA To Convene Small Business Reviews For Air Rules

EPA is convening two new panels to assess the potential impacts on small businesses of its upcoming new source performance standard (NSPS) to cut refineries' greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a major vehicle engine and fuel rule, a move one source says responds to criticism that EPA's rules are harming the economic recovery.1111 words

State Groups Question EPA Plan To Weigh Environmental Justice In Permits

State officials are questioning EPA's draft plan to incorporate environmental justice into agency permitting programs and other actions, noting uncertainty in how to define an environmental justice community and doubting EPA's ability to reach its goal of addressing cumulative impacts on equity communities from multiple pollution sources.1008 words

States Query EPA Plan For 'Flexibility' In Setting Numeric Nutrient Criteria

States are urging EPA to provide greater clarity on the agency's plan to allow states "flexibility" in controlling nutrient pollution through numeric limits if states are making progress in cleaning up impaired waters, following emerging struggles between states and EPA over how best to address nutrient pollution.1248 words

NRC Criticizes EPA Ability To Measure Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Progress

The National Research Council (NRC) in a just-released report on EPA's landmark cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay is criticizing the agency's ability to track pollution reductions, analyze data and undertake true "adaptive management" that the agency hopes to use to modify and improve the plan.1431 words

EPA 'Roadmap' Aims To Boost Inclusion Of Renewable Programs In SIPs

EPA is circulating a "roadmap" outlining how states can incorporate low-carbon energy efficiency and renewable energy programs into state implementation plans (SIPs) for complying with EPA air standards, in an effort to increase state participation in the programs and in some cases make the programs federally enforceable.554 words

EPA Faces Additional Industry, State Concerns Over Cleanup Policy Initiative

The Obama EPA continues to face criticism from industry groups and state regulators over its controversial plan to accelerate the cleanup of contaminated sites, with industry arguing the effort actually will slow cleanups rather than speed them and some New England states raising concerns that portions of the plan would make cleanups less efficient.984 words

EPA-Backed Research Renews Debate Over Economic Benefits Of Superfund

Recent EPA-backed research suggesting that Superfund cleanups may have some positive impact on nearby property values is rekindling the debate over whether EPA's Superfund program creates economic benefits and whether the agency should be using its resources to quantify such benefits.854 words

Shell Meets With EPA, White House To Address Arctic Air Permit Concerns

Shell representatives are meeting with EPA and White House officials to address Clean Air Act permitting issues that have stalled the company's plans to drill exploratory wells in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), which could help address whether plans to drill in 2012 and 2013 must meet strict nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and climate rules.793 words

Industry Challenges To 'Fracking' Health Study Could Hinder Use As Model

Industry is raising legal and scientific questions over a draft health study finding potential adverse health effects from a planned gas "fracking" facility in Colorado, raising fresh doubts about EPA's potential adoption of the study as a model for evaluating potential drilling impacts after county officials cut funding for the draft assessment.1096 words

Activists Prepare Bid For TSCA Rules On 'Fracking' Chemicals Disclosure

Environmentalists are seeking supporters for a petition urging EPA to issue first-time Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) rules on disclosure and toxicity testing for chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," echoing calls by House Democrats for similar rules to address concerns about potential health risks from the substances.802 words

SAB Call For Narrow Fracking Study Could Address Key Permit Questions

EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) is urging the agency to narrow the scope of its study into the potential water impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to focus on waste discharges, which could provide key information to help resolve lingering EPA uncertainty about how to develop permitting and treatment policies for the waste.497 words

EPA Eyes Scientific Integrity Policy Amid Industry Doubts On Assessments

EPA is developing an agency-wide policy on scientific integrity that includes the appointment of a senior official to lead the effort and self-imposed deadlines for steps to ensure agency science is "free of political interference," amid growing industry criticism of flaws in EPA science underpinning its risk assessments and regulations.1315 words

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