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Appellate judges at Oct. 21 oral arguments raised broad questions over EPA's policies for designating areas as either in attainment or nonattainment with the agency's 2008 ozone ambient air standard, and their eventual ruling could set a precedent on the validity of EPA's approaches, including the scope of which areas to label nonattainment.

EPA and its state and industry opponents are clashing over how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit should address litigation over the agency's greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting program in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling narrowing the agency's permit policies.

In competing briefs filed Oct. 21, EPA urged the appellate court to issue a narrow remedy that would allow the agency to amend its existing rules consistent with the high court's holding.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a case on whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) preempts states from seeking damages under state law for harm from oil spills, letting stand an appellate ruling that rejected Louisiana's bid to recoup civil penalties from companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon explosion for harm to fish and birds.

The director of EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) is outlining his desire to go beyond already announced plans to improve the long-controversial Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program, stressing the need for long-term planning, process improvements and broadening the public input the agency receives on its analyses.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected an oil and engine sector lawsuit that claimed EPA's rule to protect against misfueling of vehicles with ethanol blends up to 15 percent (E15) failed to ensure against misfueling, saying the industry groups lack standing to sue as they can show no harm from the rule.

EPA is expanding its list of refrigerant chemicals that pose a lower global warming risk than those that are currently approved under its significant new alternative policies (SNAP) program.