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Daily News

March 29, 2017

EPA is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to halt suits over the agency's climate rules for new and existing power plants, saying President Donald Trump's energy executive order (EO) means the agency will overhaul the rules and those changes could significantly alter the outcome of the suits.

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The American Chemistry Council is pressing EPA to restrict the scope of chemical "uses" it considers for the first 10 substance reviews it is planning under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority, arguing the agency should only look at the chemicals' current uses rather than all possible uses of the substances.

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EPA, environmentalists, states and industry in new legal filings are sparring over the merits of the Obama agency's rule allowing participation in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program to satisfy separate haze pollution control mandates, a policy that the Trump administration is currently continuing to defend.

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EPA rank-and-file staff were not invited to the agency's Map Room to see President Donald Trump sign a long-anticipated, high-profile executive order seeking to dismantle the Obama administration's climate change regulatory work, and many staffers tell Inside EPA that they are keeping their heads down and concentrating on work.

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March 28, 2017

President Donald Trump's just-signed executive order directing EPA to “review” and “if appropriate” revise or rescind its greenhouse gas limits for power plants will soon spur an administration request for appellate judges to pause ongoing litigation over those rules, a critical move that could preserve several options for officials to scrap the rules.

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The Trump administration is outlining a broad policy to promote development of the country's “vast energy resources,” with the president's just-issued executive order on the issue directing agencies to identify a host of “regulatory burdens” that “unnecessarily encumber energy production” and hamper job growth.

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Democratic and GOP members of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) are voicing support for the latest iteration of a bill to codify EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) integrated planning policy, signaling that the long-pending legislation -- which has support from municipal groups -- might finally reach the Senate floor this year.

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Sparking a new battle over Trump administration plans to slash federal spending, the White House is proposing to cut an additional $247 million from EPA's budgets when the current spending authorization for fiscal year 2017 expires at the end of April, arguing in part that the effort will “ease the transition” to the more severe cuts being sought for FY18.

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Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), chairman of a House environment panel, plans to consider portions of a just-introduced bipartisan brownfields bill as the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee develops broad brownfields legislation but says there are omissions that need to be further discussed with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

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Flanked by a group of coal miners, Vice President Mike Pence and his energy and environment Cabinet, President Donald Trump signed an executive order March 28 at EPA headquarters that targets several Obama-era climate regulations for repeal or review in a move the president said will “cancel job-killing regulations.”

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Electric utilities are citing President Donald Trump's regulatory reform executive orders (EOs) to bolster their new petition urging EPA to reconsider the Obama administration's Clean Water Act effluent limitation guideline (ELG) for the sector, saying the ELG's costs and other alleged flaws make it a prime target for repeal under the EOs.

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The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in a new report defends EPA's controlled human exposure research program as providing essential data to support Clean Air Act ambient standards and says it should continue with certain recommended improvements, a potential setback for Trump administration critics of the air standards.

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EPA's Inspector General (IG) has found that the agency has made steady progress to attain its 2014 restructuring goals using a voluntary buyout program, potentially bolstering efforts by the Trump administration to use the program to significantly scale back the agency's workforce in fiscal year 2018.

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March 27, 2017

President Donald Trump will sign a long-awaited executive order March 28 that a senior White House official says will begin to lay out a framework for the administration's energy and environment policy -- one that will prioritize energy production and eliminate climate or environmental policies that “put the U.S. economy at risk.”

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As President Donald Trump prepares to sign an order rolling back a suite of Obama-era climate policies, EPA is facing a set of petitions from free-market and industry groups seeking to reconsider the agency's landmark finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and the environment.

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An electric utility is asking the Supreme Court to force EPA to end its “absurd” Obama-era policy prohibiting waivers from Clean Air Act emissions limits for accidental air pollution releases due to facility malfunctions, using an appeal of a case over EPA's boiler air toxics rule as the vehicle for the broader push to undo the policy.

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A tentative settlement to resolve some litigation over the lead in drinking water crisis in Flint, MI, would require the full replacement of lead service lines and increased drinking water monitoring in the city but leaves unanswered questions about water utilities' responsibility under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to conduct such replacements.

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Scientists and native American tribes are aiming to the boost the legal defense of EPA's revised cost finding that underpins its utility maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule, saying some benefits of the rule such as reduced IQ losses might be hard to quantify in financial terms but still help to justify the regulation.

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Environmentalists are criticizing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's reliance on a study by a deregulatory group that claims the agency's vehicle GHG rules are responsible for moving jobs to Mexico to bolster his decision to reconsider the rules, saying it appears based on little actual study but is being cited in a hasty effort to shore up administration claims that its regulatory rollbacks protect employment.

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Environmentalists plan to use Supreme Court precedent and extensive scientific data to fight the Trump administration's expected revisions to weaken EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, saying an executive order (EO) forcing the changes conflicts with high court rulings and the existing rule's scientific justification.

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