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Appellate judges at Feb. 19 oral argument queried EPA and environmentalists over whether federal ethics rules apply to a Trump administration directive barring agency-funded scientists from serving on EPA advisory panels, with two judges appearing divided on the issue while the third judge hearing the case asked few questions.

EPA is proposing to allow operators of coal ash disposal facilities that lack protective “composite” liners to keep operating if they can demonstrate that there is still “no reasonable probability” of significant groundwater contamination, softening a blanket ban on unlined waste sites that it proposed in late 2019 under an appellate court order.

EPA is poised to receive a barrage of comments in the coming days on its planned update to air standards for heavy-duty trucks, including technical arguments that will cite a recent report from emissions control makers finding that the sector is able to achieve steep pollution reductions at low cost.

EPA is urging a federal appeals court to reject a lawsuit over agency guidance that denied renewable fuel standard (RFS) credit for a new method of cellulosic ethanol production, citing the court’s recent ruling in a separate EPA lawsuit that some observers say raised the bar for proving that non-binding guidance can be subject to judicial review.

Fourteen states and a group of former high-ranking federal officials and diplomats are supporting California’s defense against the Trump administration’s constitutional challenge to the Golden State’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program link to Quebec, claiming the pact does not violate the Constitution or interfere with the administration’s foreign policy on GHG regulation.

A novel EPA-issued Clean Water Act (CWA) general permit for New Hampshire’s Great Bay could revive a legal battle over how to set discharge limits on permits, with municipal governments accusing the agency of ignoring science and cost concerns in setting new limits on the total nitrogen that can enter the bay.

Major epidemiological studies are again suggesting early deaths from exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone at levels of pollution below EPA’s current national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for the two criteria pollutants, potentially bolstering calls by environmentalists and others for the agency to tighten the limits.