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EPA has issued revised data on interstate transport of ozone that sources say raises significant questions about how the agency will use the information to craft a “backstop” rule to ensure states meet a Clean Air Act duty to curb ozone transport, including potential data flaws that could lead to an unnecessarily stringent rule.

Industry groups, environmentalists and others are ramping up lobbying on whether EPA should follow through with its proposed stricter existing ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), as the agency prepares to send the final rule for mandatory White House review in order to meet an Oct. 1 legal deadline for issuing the rule.

EPA is defending its decision to continue studying whether revised wastewater discharge limits are needed for two areas of the oil and gas industry, reiterating in a response to comments document accompanying the agency's final 2014 effluent limitation guidelines (ELG) plan its concerns about the environmental impacts of discharges from centralized waste treatment plants (CWTs) and petroleum refineries.

EPA is deferring specific decisions on what types of biomass are carbon neutral and can be used as a compliance mechanism under its newly finalized greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants, punting a tricky issue until after its Science Advisory Board (SAB) has completed a review of the agency's methods for estimating emissions.

EPA is already facing litigation invoking recent Supreme Court decisions that denied judicial deference to the administration's positions on power plant air emissions standards and on health care to bolster claims that lower courts should not defer to the agency's other rules, beginning with its Clean Water Act (CWA) policy on water transfers.

EPA is continuing to move forward with the hiring process to staff its new Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Financing Center and will use fiscal year 2015 funds to stand up the center this year despite concerns from some about whether it has the authority to do so, sources say.