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Daily News

March 22, 2019

EPA’s proposal to scrap the Obama-era finding that its power plant air toxics rule was “appropriate and necessary” while leaving the overall rule in place is spurring debate over expected legal challenges to the plan, suits that could set new precedents on issues including “co-benefit” cost-benefit analysis and the fate of the utility regulation.

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Serena McIlwain, director of the EPA Office of Continuous Improvement (OCI) that aims to streamline agency operations, is leaving for a state government job after less than a year in the position, but the Trump administration’s contentious plan to use “Lean” techniques and other steps to improve EPA’s operation efficiency continues.

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California wastewater groups will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to block the state from using a contentious Clean Water Act (CWA) test method to measure compliance with facilities’ discharge permits, potentially teeing up a precedential decision on utilities’ claim that the method falls short of regulatory standards.

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States challenging EPA’s delay in implementing methane standards for existing landfills are bolstering their arguments for why they have standing to sue after the agency launched a broad challenge to their standing that sought to differentiate the challenge from the landmark Supreme Court ruling granting states “special solicitude” in climate suits.

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The Air Force is urging a federal judge to reject calls from New Mexico officials to remove its challenge to a waste permit governing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to a state court, an effort aimed at preserving a suit that could become a test case on federal agencies' attempts to limit state regulation of PFAS in the absence of EPA standards.

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March 21, 2019

Local business groups in Colorado are urging the state to ask EPA for a less-severe “nonattainment” designation for the agency’s ozone ambient air limit by citing a Clean Air Act (CAA) waiver that would blame foreign emissions for its inability to meet the standard, posing an early testing of the Trump administration’s push to expand use of the waiver.

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House Democrats are renewing their push to force EPA to release studies that form the basis of its draft assessment of a pigment chemical, its first such assessment of an existing chemical under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), saying new agency claims that the studies are confidential business information (CBI) are wrong.

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A key House Democrat is outlining principles for evaluating comprehensive climate legislation, floating several policy concepts that could be crucial to wooing both industry and environmentalists yet promising to keep all options open on the precise design of carbon limits or other policies to reduce emissions and boost climate resilience.

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The California Senate’s environment panel has approved a bill to lock into state law stringent Obama-era rules from U.S. EPA and other federal agencies to protect them from Trump administration rollbacks, but industry groups say it will spur a wave of lawsuits because the bill would allow the state to issue strict, costly rules with no public input.

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The California Senate’s environment panel has approved a bill to lock into state law stringent Obama-era rules from U.S. EPA and other federal agencies to protect them from Trump administration rollbacks, but industry groups say it will spur a wave of lawsuits because the bill would allow the state to issue strict, costly rules with no public input.

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Environmental justice and low-income housing advocacy groups are maintaining opposition to a revamped bill that overhauls zoning standards to spur multi-story housing projects near transit hubs in part to lower greenhouse gas emissions tied to vehicle miles traveled (VMT), saying the measure fails to ensure a minimum amount of affordable housing.

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Oakland and San Francisco have filed their opening brief in their appeal of a district court’s dismissal of their climate change nuisance case against oil majors after finding the claims are preempted by the Clean Air Act, urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to reverse that decision and send the suit to state court.

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Oregon’s appellate court is upholding the state’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and rejecting a challenge by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), finding that state agencies properly adopted the rules and the program does not amount to an unconstitutional tax on motor vehicle fuel.

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March 20, 2019

A federal judge is requiring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to consider the cumulative greenhouse gas impacts of its oil and gas drilling lease approvals in Wyoming in a landmark ruling that plaintiffs say could ultimately force the administration to review the climate impacts of its entire oil and gas leasing program.

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New York's health department is preparing to propose the nation's first enforceable drinking water standard for 1,4-dioxane, a ubiquitous contaminant at waste sites and in drinking water systems, likely setting a path for other states to follow as one industry attorney says it may be the next “headline chemical.”

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EPA in its fiscal year 2020 budget request vows to ramp up oversight of states’ federally delegated environmental programs in response to concerns from its inspector general (IG), but state regulators are telling Congress that the agency’s FY20 proposal to slash its grants to states could cripple their ability to administer those programs.

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says he will make drinking water improvements a top priority for the agency, including infrastructure upgrades and measures to boost the quality of water supplies, even as he is seeking to cut funding for many EPA infrastructure programs and is downplaying climate change as a water supply threat.

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A large coalition of environmental groups is urging EPA to abandon its proposal to revise new source performance standards (NSPS) limiting greenhouse gases from new coal plants, saying the plan is unlawful because its GHG limit is weather than what existing coal plants can already achieve, among other reasons.

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California’s health hazard office is proposing that acetaminophen, which has the brand name Tylenol, be considered for potential listing under the state’s Proposition 65 toxic warning law as a carcinogen, drawing immediate attack from the chemical industry,

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California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban 20 toxic substances and chemicals from being blended into cosmetics products sold in the state, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), two types of phthalates and triclosan.

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