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Environmentalists are suing EPA over its failure to ban paint-stripping uses of methylene chloride after finding that it does not meet the Toxic Substances Control Act's (TSCA) risk standard, marking one of the first legal tests of the agency's responsibilities to regulate toxic substances under the law since Congress revised it in 2016.

EPA, backed by industry groups and Texas, is fighting environmentalists' lawsuit that claims the agency has raised the bar for challenging Clean Air Act Title V permits by finding that objections to the permits cannot target other permits, defending its policy in an appellate court case similar to at least two other pending lawsuits.

A federal appellate court has upheld Virginia's Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 certification approving a federally permitted natural gas pipeline and emphasized states' “broad discretion when developing the criteria” for such certifications, a ruling that could undermine efforts by GOP policymakers to limit states' discretion.

Observers are increasingly expecting that any deal on changes to vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards is unlikely before the Trump administration finalizes an aggressive rollback of the rules, suggesting debate over the issue will only get more acrimonious -- not less -- in the coming months.

Environmentalists are pushing back against EPA's efforts to stay all regulatory challenges and other litigation where the agency is a party until the government shutdown ends, arguing officials including Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys have authority to keep working on any case where a judge orders proceedings to continue.

EPA is considering easing limits on municipal solid waste landfills to allow for the addition of liquids to so-called wet and bioreactor landfills as a way of speeding waste degradation, but the agency is grappling with how to deal with increases in the emissions rate of methane, the potent greenhouse gas, and other landfill gases that would also result.

Senate Democrats are blasting EPA's use of staffing resources during the government shutdown to prepare for acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler's imminent Senate confirmation hearing, charging that the move could be unlawful and conflicts with the agency's formal shutdown contingency plan.