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Daily News

February 24, 2017

President Donald Trump signed Feb. 24 a new executive order (EO) that requires EPA and other agencies to each designate regulatory reform officers and establish a regulatory reform task force with the goal of identifying existing regulations for repeal or modification, expanding his administration's deregulatory architecture given the issue's priority.

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Oil sector divisions are widening over whether EPA should retain or change the “point of obligation” compliance mandate under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) from refiners and importers to fuel blenders, and a split among top Trump administration officials over the future of the RFS makes it unclear which side EPA will take.

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Environmentalists have filed a notice of intent (NOI) threatening to sue EPA over its alleged failure to review the renewable fuel standard's (RFS) environmental impacts, adding to pressure for the agency to undertake new assessments of the program following an oil sector suit trying to force a review of RFS implementing regulations.

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EPA is limiting its review of asbestos under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to the definition of asbestos in the statute, agency staff announced at a recent stakeholders meeting where speakers clashed over which uses EPA should pursue.

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Pesticide sector officials will seek EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's commitment that the Trump administration will follow federal law and sound science in pesticide reviews following industry claims that the Obama EPA's process was inadequate, and they will also press Congress to ensure the agency has adequate resources to process reviews.

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EPA is rejecting health groups' petition seeking a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) ban on drinking water fluoridation after finding it lacked adequate evidence of neurological risks to justify a ban, but the agency is also offering guidance on how to craft petitions to win reviews of potential bans under last year's revised TSCA.

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February 23, 2017

EPA's acting toxics office chief says new agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is “very engaged” on implementing the new rulemaking mandates in the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and how to meet statutory deadlines for issuing the rules, downplaying fears that the Trump EPA might try to slow the law's implementation.

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EPA's waste office is recommending in new guidance that regional offices consider taking early actions at high-risk portions of sediment sites and is re-emphasizing collaboration between Superfund and water programs at such sites, as part of an effort aimed at providing best practices for what are often complex and expensive mega-sites.

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A top California lawmaker is floating legislation that would require state air and water regulators to maintain state standards that are at least as stringent as federal law prior to President Donald Trump taking office, with the measure aimed at countering expected federal efforts to weaken federal climate and other regulations.

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Newly installed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may have to wait months to have his senior leadership team in place as concern grows that he will be running a large federal agency that he does not understand -- and did not attempt to do so ahead of his Feb. 17 Senate confirmation vote, Pruitt's supporters inside and outside the agency say.

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The Trump administration is weighing whether and how hard to target California's authority to implement vehicle greenhouse gas rules, as some outside groups ramp up calls for assaulting the state's special power though it is far from clear whether automakers would welcome such an aggressive attack.

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Members of EPA's Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) are drafting a letter to agency Administrator Scott Pruitt outlining existing water infrastructure programs that they argue should receive funding support if President Donald Trump moves forward with an expected push for Congress to increase infrastructure spending.

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February 22, 2017

Democratic and Republican senators are waging a bipartisan push to preserve the future of EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS) amid doubts over President Donald Trump's plan for the program, given his call for reducing regulatory burdens on fuel producers and new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's prior strong attacks on the RFS.

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Major ethanol industry groups are urging EPA to take additional steps to promote the fuel as part of its proposed rule to “enhance” the market for fuels that qualify for sale under the agency's renewable fuel standard (RFS), warning that some parts of the plan could have the unintended consequence of creating new barriers to ethanol sales.

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Ethanol and oil industry groups are both backing EPA's proposal to reject a request from some refiners to shift the renewable fuel standard “point of obligation” compliance mandate from refiners and importers of fuel to companies that blend renewable fuels into transportation fuel, a rare unified position between the competing sectors.

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Newly released emails from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's time as Oklahoma attorney general (AG) show several examples where he or top officials in his office coordinated with fossil fuel groups to target EPA's climate and air regulations, bolstering critics' claims that the new administrator is too close with industry.

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The Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) is backing the Obama EPA's opposition to a federal district judge's order for EPA to broadly review how its Clean Air Act rules have affected jobs in the coal sector, asking an appellate court to overturn the ruling and defying expectations that the new administration would comply with the order.

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West Virginia Attorney General (AG) Patrick Morrisey (R), one of the most ardent critics of EPA's power plant greenhouse gas rules, hopes that an executive order President Donald Trump is slated to sign will seek a broad rollback of the agency's rules for both new and existing sources, suggesting some uncertainty about the scope of the order.

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Automakers are formally urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to withdraw the agency's decision to retain its light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for model years (MY) 2022-2025, arguing that the agency has ample authority to scrap the determination and “resume” a joint mid-term review of the standards with the Department of Transportation (DOT).

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February 21, 2017

A federal appeals court ruling holding a coal mine liable under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for releasing pollutants that state regulators chose not to limit directly could create permitting uncertainty for many sectors by hindering permit owners' ability to ensure they are in compliance because other courts have signaled that they find the ruling persuasive.

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