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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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January 15, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden’s pick of former EPA air chief Janet McCabe to serve as deputy administrator is garnering broad praise from former agency staff and other observers, with the one-time Obama official seen as an experienced hand who could aid the new administration’s focus on climate and broader efforts to strengthen the agency.

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President-elect Joe Biden is said to be considering potential nominees to head EPA’s air office that offer a mix of state-level and federal experience, sources say, with the incoming administration aiming to balance a need for “insider” knowledge with fresh perspectives on issues such as climate change and environmental justice (EJ).

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The Supreme Court is poised to hear Jan. 19 oral arguments on a key jurisdictional question governing whether a raft of climate change nuisance cases against big oil companies can be heard in state or federal courts, though experts say conservative justices could opt to go beyond the esoteric question at issue and seek to tank the suits on the merits.

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EPA is proposing to take further steps to bolster use of 15 percent ethanol fuel (E15) by altering or removing gas pump labeling requirements, while also inviting public comment on how it should proceed with several states’ and refiners’ applications for exemptions from renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending mandates.

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The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and six other environmental groups are suing EPA and other federal agencies in a bid to stop Florida’s assumption of dredge-and-fill permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers, alleging the federal government violated numerous environmental and administrative laws in approving the assumption.

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Northeastern states are calling on President-elect Joe Biden’s EPA to solve long-running air pollution problems they say have for years hindered the region’s ability to attain agency ozone standards, following what Trump administration critics say has been unnecessary delay and obstruction on the issue by the current EPA.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is outlining an aggressive science agenda that it says would help EPA deliver on President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign promise to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including through a stronger TSCA chemical evaluation process and removing Trump appointees from advisory panels.

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The Supreme Court’s decision to review a key Superfund case could provide potentially responsible parties (PRPs) with much-needed clarity on whether non-Superfund settlements are enough to trigger contribution rights and start the clock on the statute of limitations to file claims to recoup cleanup costs, private-practice attorneys say.

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EPA staffers are looking to the incoming Biden administration to halt what they say is a steady decline in the agency workforce’s moral under President Donald Trump, adding that a series of events culminating with the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol has significantly damaged morale even though workers are optimistic about the next EPA’s agenda.

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Trump administration critics are concerned that officials’ 11th-hour decision to send EPA’s draft analysis of a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) known as PFBS to the White House for formal interagency review is the first of what is expected to be new scrutiny of agency chemical evaluations that could slow their release.

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January 14, 2021

EPA has finalized its evaluation of pigment violet 29 (PV29) just weeks after the close of public comments, sidestepping concerns raised by environmentalists and industry alike over the methods and findings, and instead touting the “milestone” of completing the first batch of 10 chemical reviews Congress mandated when it reformed TSCA.

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EPA is proposing to delay renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance deadlines for small refiners and others subject to the program’s biofuel blending mandates, giving the industry more time to comply while the agency grapples with whether to issue a slew of pending RFS compliance waivers and how to set RFS production goals for 2021.

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One of the primary architects of the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon (SCC) climate damage metric is floating a two-part strategy for the incoming Biden administration to re-strengthen the tool which would help justify tough greenhouse gas regulations and potentially a suite of other climate policies.

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Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), who chairs the House select climate change committee, is pledging that Congress will enact the “cleanest, greenest” infrastructure package later this year, with various provisions advancing clean energy and other climate-related initiatives.

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January 13, 2021

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has made a series of changes to its renewable energy plans for California’s desert just as Trump administration officials are leaving office, sparking a battle between industry groups that favor greater access for wind and solar projects and state and environmental officials, who fear harms to endangered species and other resources.

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A California superior court judge is questioning the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) core claim that state officials were required to establish a minimum risk exposure level for listing spray polyurethane foam (SPF) systems as priority products under their green chemistry program, a first-time legal test for the landmark program.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is highlighting billions of dollars for clean transportation and forest-wildfire resilience programs in his proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget plan to address climate change, including more than $1 billion for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and related charging and fueling infrastructure.

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California’s toxics department is warning tire manufacturers that it wants to eliminate the use of zinc in tires to protect water quality and fish through its Safer Consumer Products (SCP) green chemistry program, but manufacturers are pushing back by downplaying tires’ role in zinc leaching into waterways.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget for CalEPA highlights $300 million for the toxics department to clean up contaminated sites, including the high-profile Exide site, as well as new toxics program oversight and reform and a new pesticides department fee system that is expected to bolster funding in part for sustainable crop management alternatives.

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