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Daily News

November 24, 2020

The forthcoming expiration of authority for streamlined Hill approval of trade deals could give the incoming Biden administration an opening to seek removal of current limits on its ability to factor greenhouse gas-related considerations into such deals, according to one trade policy expert.

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November 23, 2020

The incoming Biden administration is likely to pursue stricter regulation of coal ash following a series of Trump EPA rules that environmentalists say unlawfully weakened Obama-era disposal standards, but observers say the policy shift could occur through enforcement and guidance instead of time-consuming regulatory changes.

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General Motors is dropping its legal support of the Trump EPA’s rule preempting California’s vehicle greenhouse gas standards and is now seeking to align itself with environmental groups, the Golden State and the incoming Biden administration in support of national standards and “complementary policies” to electrify the passenger vehicle fleet.

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President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of former Secretary of State John Kerry as his international climate change envoy is underscoring the incoming administration’s push to re-engage on multilateral climate mitigation policy while also integrating climate considerations more closely into national security matters.

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Biofuels and agriculture industry groups are urging a federal appeals court to enforce the mandate from its 2017 ruling to vacate EPA's decision to reduce some renewable fuel standard (RFS) targets from 2014 to 2016, saying the agency has “brazenly” ignored the ruling by not issuing a new 500 million-gallon biofuels production goal.

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EPA is defending its interaction with states struggling to meet cleanup goals for the Chesapeake Bay, arguing to a federal district court that the Clean Water Act (CWA) does not require the agency to take specific actions to ensure the cleanup is completed by a specific date and that its evaluation of state implementation plans is not a final EPA action.

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President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of former Secretary of State John Kerry as his international climate change envoy is underscoring the incoming administration’s push to re-engage on multi-lateral climate mitigation policy while also integrating climate considerations more closely into national security matters.

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Environmentalists and other experts see General Motors’ (GM) announcement that it will bolster investment in electric vehicles (EV) as a nod to the incoming Biden administration’s expected focus on climate policies, as well as to Wall Street’s increased interest in vehicle electrification, but are voicing early skepticism of the move.

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More than five dozen environmental, public health and environmental justice groups are urging EPA to order chemical giant Chemours to test 54 PFAS found near the company’s North Carolina facility.

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November 20, 2020

Judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit pressed a Justice Department (DOJ) attorney at Nov. 19 oral argument on how to resolve lingering concerns over potential EPA Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement on an Idaho couple’s land that has been the subject of litigation for more than a decade.

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EPA has expanded its draft evaluation of 1,4-dioxane, finding the presence of the chemical as a byproduct in eight consumer products poses no unreasonable risks that must be regulated under TSCA, a win for consumer product manufacturers who had sought the expanded evaluation to preempt pending state rules.

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President-elect Joe Biden will take office likely facing a Republican majority on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the Senate is poised to approve two Trump nominees to the panel, a move that would likely limit the incoming administration’s near-term options to impose carbon-reduction requirements for the energy sector.

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EPA is dropping a controversial plan to finalize a proposed “sell-through” extended compliance period for wood heaters to meet tougher air emissions standards, a decision that retailers have warned will strand them with unsaleable merchandise but that will help the agency avoid a legal battle with states opposed to the plan.

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EPA’s pesticides office appears to be sidestepping controversy surrounding the agency’s conservative cancer potency assessment for the sterilizing agent ethylene oxide (EtO) crafted by the agency research office’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program.

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Experts on Energy Department (DOE) matters believe DOE’s environmental management (EM) funding -- which usually tops $6 billion annually -- will likely remain stable under the incoming Congress and Biden administration, although they are expressing some reservations over potential future vulnerabilities for the EM program’s budget.

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Nuclear watchdog groups are urging lawmakers to address environmental justice (EJ) in future legislation on how to handle nuclear waste, a push that could potentially get a boost from the incoming Biden administration because of President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign vow to elevate the role of EJ in environmental decision-making.

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November 19, 2020

Draft recommendations from EPA research advisors on high-profile water quality issues urge the agency to focus its research efforts on outcomes that will help decisionmakers, praising the agency’s approach to microplastics and seeking to narrow the agency’s focus on mapping waters and developing new recreational water quality criteria.

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An environmental panel of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the global body that sets regulatory standards for shipping, has approved draft policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions that environmentalists and some industry groups have criticized for being too weak, paving the way for formal adoption of the measures.

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A federal appeals court ruling scrapping EPA’s denial of a renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waiver for a small West Virginia refiner further complicates the agency’s efforts to plan for the future of the RFS, creating new legal questions about dozens of pending waiver requests amid ongoing Supreme Court litigation over the waiver policy.

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California’s Proposition 65 Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) is giving “high” priority to bisphenol-A (BPA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), as well as its salts and transformation and degradation precursors, for potential listing under the state’s toxic warning law.

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