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Daily News

July 19, 2019

Midwestern industry groups and states are pushing back hard against New York’s petition for EPA to regulate ozone pollution from hundreds of power plants and other facilities in upwind states, fearing it would set a precedent that could allow regulation of sources on a scale previously unseen and in sectors previously unaffected by such petitions.

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The Democratic attorneys general (AGs) of New York and New Jersey, along with New York City, are indicating their willingness to sue EPA if the agency follows through on plans to deny the Empire State’s landmark Clean Air Act section 126 petition seeking regulation of hundreds of upwind pollution sources, opening the door to a legal battle on the reach of the agency’s power.

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A federal appeals court has rejected environmentalists’ lawsuit attempting to force EPA to set first-time Superfund financial assurance rules for the hardrock mining sector after the agency declined to do so, with the court applying the Chevron deference standard to uphold EPA’s decision.

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A long-stayed constitutional challenge to California rules requiring cancer warnings for glyphosate pesticide products could be poised to proceed following federal appellate rulings on similar issues that the state was waiting on when it asked the court to delay imposing a preliminary injunction on its labeling rule in 2018.

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As large swaths of the country face a record-breaking heat wave, environmentalists are warning that unchecked climate change will cause extreme and deadly heat across the country and bring “unprecedented” health risks, underscoring their calls for deep cuts in carbon emissions as well as to take major steps to adapt to the threat.

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July 18, 2019

EPA is formally denying environmentalists’ objections to the Trump administration’s decision to overturn an Obama EPA ban on agricultural uses of the widely-used and controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos, meeting a court-ordered deadline for a final decision that clears the way for a legal challenge on the merits of the reversal.

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Academic and other researchers are questioning major assumptions in EPA’s final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule to limit power sector greenhouse gas emissions, finding that the rule is likely to have greater adverse air quality and health effects than EPA projected, largely due to emission “rebound” effects that the agency downplays.

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Democrats, mainstream environmental groups and equity organizations are redoubling their efforts to bridge long-standing divisions that seek to address both environmental justice concerns and climate change policy ahead of the 2020 election and possible legislation that could be advanced afterward.

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A federal judge in Oregon has granted an agriculture group’s request to stay implementation of the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule in the state, agreeing that the members of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association would be irreparably harmed by the rule and increasing to 27 the number of states where the rule has been blocked completely.

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The trucking industry is aiming to limit the frequency and type of smog checks they will be subject to under California’s first-time heavy-duty diesel truck inspection and maintenance (I/M) program, raising concerns that they could face exorbitant compliance costs.

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California toxics department officials are planning to make further changes to their controversial draft proposal to establish first-time universal waste (UW) rules for the disposal of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, based on extensive written comments that were filed last month by numerous entities that manufacture, install, manage and recycle the panels.

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Despite further relaxing some key requirements, California waste regulators continue to face overwhelming opposition from the waste management industry to their proposed first-time regulations to dramatically reduce organic waste disposal levels and associated emissions of methane and other potent greenhouse gases.

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Environmentalists are urging California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to halt permitting for new oil and gas hydraulic fracturing and other production after the governor fired the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency chief based on an investigation showing that eight top agency officials own stock in petroleum companies.

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A long-stayed industry challenge to California rules requiring cancer warnings for glyphosate pesticide products could be poised to proceed following federal appellate rulings on similar issues that the state was waiting on when it asked the court to delay imposing a preliminary injunction on its labeling rule in 2018.

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July 17, 2019

The latest EPA air quality trends report is providing a vehicle for the Trump administration to cite decades of air quality improvements predating its tenure as a political antidote to criticism of its deregulatory agenda, even as observers are citing a number of details in the report itself that point to some more troubling recent pollution trends.

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House Republicans are showing little interest in supporting a bill being crafted by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) that seeks to codify scientific integrity requirements at EPA and other agencies, accusing Democrats of “weaponizing” the debate over federal science and faulting the bill for its failure to sufficiently address “research misconduct” and other issues.

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A free-market group is urging the Energy Department (DOE) to drop its use of the social cost of carbon (SCC) when developing appliance efficiency standards, though opponents of the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda are already fighting agencies’ use of a narrowed approach to the SCC in court.

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and other administration officials say they will step up their deregulatory agendas in 2020 even after completing work on their top-priority rollbacks, with EPA moving on to “tier 2” rulemakings in addition to branch-wide “structural” changes aimed at making recent policy shifts more durable.

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The biomass industry appears unlikely to challenge EPA’s decision in its Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule to remove co-firing with biomass as a compliance mechanism, even though the agency proposed to allow it and industry strongly supported it.

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July 16, 2019

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has not yet decided how to respond to agency science advisers’ call to reconstitute an expert panel to assist with oversight of EPA’s review of federal particulate matter (PM) standards, throwing into doubt both the speed and quality of the agency’s review, House Democrats say.

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