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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the coming year is “the year of water,” where officials will make improving drinking water infrastructure their top priority, while also noting that EPA is “running like crazy” to help states that choose to implement its power plant greenhouse gas (GHG) rule, known as the Clean Power Plan, despite a high court stay of the rule.

EPA is proposing new Clean Water Act (CWA) water quality criteria for copper designed to protect aquatic life in estuary and marine environments from harm from the metal, using a newly developed bioavailability model released in draft form earlier this year that was seen as helping accelerate issuance of the delayed criteria.

Wood, paper and other industries are lamenting what they warn will be significant regulatory uncertainty following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's unanimous decision that vacated some EPA air standards for certain categories of large “major” source boilers and remanded other provisions to the agency.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a pair of rulings issued July 29 is giving EPA mixed results on its air program, vacating or remanding key portions of its boiler rule while rejecting environmentalists' suit over a rule extending deadlines to meet the agency's particulate matter (PM) standards.

EPA is charging its local government advisors with developing recommendations on a range of issues the agency may seek to include in its upcoming National Action Plan for Drinking Water, including ways to strengthen implementation of current lead and copper standards and improved approaches to addressing emerging and unregulated contaminants.

An EPA local government advisory panel is urging EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to communicate more directly with local municipalities on its lead in drinking water contamination directives, arguing many memorandums issued in the wake of the Flint, MI lead crisis were not fully received by all municipalities.

EPA has sent for White House review a proposed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) section 6 rule to ban or restrict the sales or manufacture of trichloroethylene (TCE), the first attempt by the agency to use the section to restrict a chemical since its last effort -- seeking to ban asbestos -- was vacated by a federal appeals court in 1991.