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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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March 05, 2021

A three-judge appellate panel is grappling with whether a district court was correct in finding the terms of an EPA-approved variance to stringent numeric water quality standards (WQS) for nutrient in Montana violated the Clean Water Act (CWA), but gave little sign during March 4 oral arguments how it might rule.

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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) is urging Senate environment panel members to oppose President Joe Biden’s nomination of Janet McCabe to be deputy EPA chief because of her role in crafting Obama-era air rules, likely also creating pressure on potential swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to oppose McCabe.

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As EPA weighs “multipollutant” rules limiting greenhouse gases and conventional pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks, environmentalists are ramping up calls for the agency to adopt such measures in an effort aimed at ensuring that 100 percent of new truck sales are zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) by 2040.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is rejecting New Jersey’s challenge to a years-old EPA rule limiting facilities’ Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) recordkeeping and reporting requirements, saying the agency was justified in setting a minimum threshold of emissions below which no reporting is required.

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A federal appeals court has overturned a Clean Water Act (CWA) criminal conviction after finding the trial court jury received faulty instructions, but is rejecting the defendant’s claims that the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) definitions used in the suit are unconstitutionally vague and that a Trump-era definition should apply retroactively.

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Environmentalists and the chemical sector are sparring over whether EPA should endorse interim storage for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as part of its interim guidance on PFAS disposal, with environmentalists warning of major data gaps about disposal but industry claiming that “safe and effective” disposal methods exist.

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March 04, 2021

Following oral argument in environmentalists’ and industry’s wide-ranging suit over EPA’s rule governing methylene chloride paint-strippers, judges ordered all sides to weigh in on a new Supreme Court decision on when agency actions are “final” for open-records purposes, signaling that they could hold that the TSCA rule is not ripe for review.

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A federal district court judge has cut ExxonMobil’s landmark legal penalty for numerous Clean Air Act violations at its Baytown, TX, refinery from a $20 million down to $14.25 million, after an appeals court faulted the original penalty in a suit that had been seen as a major win for citizen enforcement of the air law.

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The Supreme Court has overturned an appellate ruling that would have mandated the release of draft Endangered Species Act (ESA) biological opinions (BiOps) used to craft EPA’s cooling water intake rule, saying the BiOps are not “final” orders with legal effect but framing the outcome as a narrow, case-specific decision.

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading a coalition of 41 industry groups calling on Congress to streamline the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as part of green infrastructure legislation it will consider, while the Biden administration is revoking and reviewing Trump-era efforts to speed project reviews under the landmark law.

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California air board officials are laying out the details of their latest proposed zero-emission truck fleet regulations that will require a variety of public and private trucking fleets to purchase a minimum number of zero-emission models (ZEVs) starting in 2023, amid stiff criticism and pushback from industry sectors.

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A California superior court judge has rejected the state toxics department’s request to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its hazardous waste regulatory exemption for a metal-shredding facility in Oakland, allowing the case to move forward on its merits and potentially paving the way for a broader ruling about other exemptions for such facilities in the state.

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California energy and environmental regulators are exploring different ways to fund the state’s ambitious clean energy and decarbonization programs without continuing to saddle utility customers with more rate hikes, as officials are beginning to acknowledge the state’s electricity rates are already high and are projected to climb significantly in the future.

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As the Biden administration begins to develop climate risk disclosure rules for financial services and other firms, a California state senator is floating strict state legislation that would require large corporations, banks, insurance companies and others to report the financial and other risks they face from climate change and its effects.

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A California bill requiring all autonomous vehicles (AVs) operating on public roads in the state to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) beginning in 2025 faces pushback from companies that produce emitting AVs including commercial or transit vehicles, making it questionable if the measure will make it to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) desk.

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March 03, 2021

John Kerry, President Joe Biden’s special climate envoy, is beefing up his office, tapping Lauren Sanchez, CalEPA’s deputy secretary for climate policy and intergovernmental relations, and Mark Gallogly, a Wall Street veteran and major Democratic party donor, as senior advisors.

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Acting EPA water chief Radhika Fox sees stronger partnerships with state and local governments as an important step in tackling major challenges to improve the nation’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and is highlighting a new infrastructure report card from civil engineers as a guide to future policy discussions.

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Janet McCabe, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be deputy EPA administrator, pledged during her March 3 confirmation hearing to bolster protections for career staff at the agency against unsafe conditions and political interference when working on rules, including potential reforms to scientific integrity policies.

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Brenda Mallory told senators at her March 3 confirmation hearing that if confirmed as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) she will seek ways to speed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) infrastructure permits while reversing Trump-era moves to loosen the environmental review process.

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