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Daily News

December 23, 2021

EPA’s final evaluation of the solvent n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) greatly expands the list of industrial uses that pose unreasonable risks compared to the draft version, though the final analysis also narrows the consumer uses that pose such risks and maintains the Trump-era policy of not considering risks that could be addressed under other laws.

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May 17, 2021

EPA is backing a call from scientific groups to ensure greater diversity in membership of federal advisory panels and is urging the White House to promote partnerships similar to programs the agency has adopted for recruiting its federal workforce that actively seek minority scientists and other experts.

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EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) is asking the agency’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) for recommendations on how the agency can help expand small manufacturing facilities’ access to financing options that can be used for pollution prevention activities.

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EPA is finalizing a long-pending proposal to implement federal requirements to curb methane emissions from hundreds of existing landfills, with the move coming just weeks after an appellate court vacated the Trump administration’s rule significantly extending deadlines for states to comply with the Obama-era standards.

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Environmental lawyers say EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) should pursue criminal enforcement actions against industry focusing on environmental justice (EJ) areas as a way to send a “powerful deterrent” to companies from activity that harms such communities, in line with the Biden administration’s priority of promoting EJ.

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The Supreme Court is backing oil industry arguments on the scope of its appeals challenging a slew of federal district court rulings in climate nuisance suits filed by local and state governments, a decision that likely makes it easier for the industry to keep such suits in federal courts that they view as a favorable venue.

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The Supreme Court is backing oil industry arguments on the scope of its appeals challenging a slew of federal district court rulings in climate nuisance suits filed by local and state governments, a decision that likely makes it easier for the industry to keep such suits in federal courts that they view as a favorable venue.

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May 14, 2021

A divided federal appellate panel is ordering EPA to overhaul a suite of hazard standards that the Trump administration set in 2019 for lead paint and its dust, in a ruling that is a win for environmentalists while handing Biden officials an opportunity to strengthen the policies.

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EPA says in a new court filing that it intends to drop the Trump-era practice of making separate risk findings for each condition of use it reviewed in the TSCA evaluation of methylene chloride, and to instead craft a single “binary” determination for the chemical, with EPA seeking a remand of the evaluation to rework it under that model.

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States, chemical users and manufacturers, and environmental groups are raising varied concerns over EPA’s proposed rule to require utilities to monitor for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium, including staking opposing positions on whether the agency is correct in limiting the rule to 29 PFAS.

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Drinking water utilities are providing a mixed reaction to EPA’s proposed rule to require utilities to monitor for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium, concurring with some of the proposal’s provisions but raising concerns about others such as data collection efforts they say are burdensome and unnecessary.

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EPA’s top environmental justice (EJ) official Matthew Tejeda says the Biden administration’s focus on a government-wide priority of elevating equity in decision-making is spurring the greatest-ever momentum for EJ, while cautioning that agencies must be held accountable on delivering tangible results in the near future.

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House lawmakers sparred at a May 13 hearing over Democrats’ efforts to speed cleanups of Superfund sites vulnerable to climate change, with the majority pushing measures in a major climate bill that would limit industry liability defenses for climate-related releases, mandate financial assurances and prioritize cleanup of vulnerable sites.

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May 13, 2021

The White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) has approved three key workgroup recommendations on measures aimed at advancing core parts of the Biden EJ agenda, including definitions related to its Justice40 initiative to ensure benefits flow to underserved communities; changes to a Clinton-era EJ executive order (EO) and what should be included in a climate and EJ screening tool.

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Attorneys general (AGs) from six states are urging the Army Corps of Engineers to “change course and engage with” states to solve a dispute over states’ role in issuing Clean Water Act (CWA) water quality certifications for a slew of Corps-issued dredge-and-fill general permits, saying the states and EPA have proposed possible resolutions.

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EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is warning that a steady decline in agency enforcement activities “may expose the public and the environment to undetected harmful pollutants,” in a sharply critical report that finds the downward trend was found on a statute-by-statute bases and at EPA headquarters and in each of the agency’s 10 regions.

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Despite growing in-state generation, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is warning that unusually low levels of hydroelectricity and a potentially limited supply of imported energy could lead to more power outages in the Golden State this summer if there is another extreme regional heat wave like the one experienced last August.

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The Los Angeles-area air district has passed a landmark warehouse “indirect source rule” (ISR) that requires warehouse operators to reduce truck trip pollution that can disproportionately impact the health of disadvantaged communities, but the board may face a lawsuit from business and tax groups that claim a fee compliance option is an illegal tax.

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Even as East Coast states eye surging prospects for offshore wind power projects, the potential for major California projects being pursued anytime soon continue to look bleak due to the state’s lengthy environmental review and permitting processes, greater ocean depths and prohibitive costs, experts say.

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The California state Senate is proposing to spend $1 billion on low-carbon transportation and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) subsidy programs over the next two fiscal years, a plan that reflects higher-than-expected revenue from the state’s greenhouse gas allowance auctions and that will compete with an imminent revised budget proposal from Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) for fiscal year 2021-22.

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