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Daily News

March 01, 2021

The United Nation’s Montreal Protocol treaty to protect the stratospheric ozone layer, which has evolved into a program that phases out product feedstocks that also have high global warming potential, could be used as a model to achieve reductions of other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxides (N2O), experts say.

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Chemical companies and other industries are raising concerns over EPA’s plan to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) using new statutory power, including questions about data gaps over unreported HFC imports, allowances for critical use exemptions, what metric to use to set the phasedown and criticisms of the short public comment period.

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A coalition of 86 environmental groups is urging Northeastern states to adopt California’s strict policies for cutting greenhouse gases and conventional air pollutants from heavy duty vehicles, fighting claims from engine manufacturers that the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) rules are ill-suited for adoption by other states.

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Environmentalists are urging EPA to redo portions of its controversial TSCA evaluation of the solvent trichloroethylene (TCE), and craft risk management rules based on more conservative data, arguing that the Trump-era findings were tainted by “political interference” that President Joe Biden has already ordered the agency to remedy.

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EPA faces a steep but feasible challenge with rebuilding its scientific capacity after its erosion during the Trump administration, according to former agency officials who say the Biden EPA should not only aim to restore that capacity but seek to entrench scientific “norms” so that a future administration cannot easily undo them.

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February 26, 2021

Major environmental groups are urging President Joe Biden to significantly tighten vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards, including requiring an ambitious 60 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to current levels and setting a goal of making all new cars and light-duty trucks zero-emitting by 2035.

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Major environmental groups are urging President Joe Biden to significantly tighten vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards, including requiring an ambitious 60 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to current levels and setting a goal of making all new cars and light-duty trucks zero-emitting by 2035.

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The Biden administration has unveiled its “interim” social cost of carbon (SCC) metric that will be used to calculate the benefits of climate change rules, restoring the Obama-era approach with an upward adjustment for inflation, even as the administration is conducting a broader overhaul of the metric for release in 2022.

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An oil company is asking the Supreme Court to accept, but place on hold, its appeal of a Superfund case that parallels litigation the high court accepted for review last month that is expected to test what is required for a settlement to trigger Superfund contribution protection and its corresponding statute of limitations.

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President Joe Biden’s commitment to focus on environmental justice (EJ) in all federal government actions will be a significant factor shaping his administration’s policies to fight climate change that could limit EPA and other agencies’ regulatory options for tackling greenhouse gas emissions, according to environmental lawyers.

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The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has filed a lawsuit claiming the Trump EPA’s decision to retain the existing ozone ambient air limits is unlawful because the agency did not conduct an Endangered Species Act (ESA) review of the policy, echoing a similar recent CBD species challenge to EPA’s retention of particulate matter (PM) limits.

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A federal district court is weighing whether to address a hand-wipe maker’s novel claim that EPA overstepped its authority to regulate disinfectants as it scrambled to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic -- a claim the agency says is not ripe for review as it has taken no formal action targeting the manufacturer.

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February 25, 2021

The Supreme Court’s upcoming review of a Superfund statute of limitations case could aid in resolving key cleanup legal issues and affect other sites being reassessed for further remediation, while the high court’s 2020 ruling in another Superfund case has effectively dented the pre-enforcement review bar’s impact on state law claims, legal experts say.

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The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) might quickly decide how to proceed with revising or rescinding the Trump-era National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) overhaul, after the Senate slated a confirmation hearing for President Joe Biden’s CEQ chair nominee and a court granted a delay in a suit over the policy.

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Environmentalists are already firing back at EPA’s claim that it mooted their suit seeking strict limits on commercial use of methylene chloride (MC) in paint-strippers when it began developing a TSCA risk management rule for those products, saying the current process is too slow and that the agency has implicitly admitted its prior delays were unlawful.

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EPA has sent for White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) pre-publication review its final rule that responds to an appellate court ruling forcing it to strengthen the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program, a move required by a legal deadline but that also represents the first Biden EPA air rule to seek OMB approval.

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Former EPA officials say several early actions by the Biden administration illustrate a renewed focus on climate change and environmental justice (EJ) at EPA and all other parts of the government, including selecting personnel who have extensive experience in these areas and taking a multi-pronged approach to implementing policies.

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February 24, 2021

California air regulators are agreeing with state auditors to better track and measure greenhouse gas emission reductions in its numerous transportation programs and to accurately determine any socio-economic and job-creation benefits of its climate programs, though officials say they need more money and time to do so.

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Several California lawmakers are introducing legislation that seeks to strengthen the state’s current voluntary deal with five automakers setting greenhouse gas standards for light-duty vehicles through model year 2026 while also, for the first time, dictating standards for the next round of standards to be developed by the state air board.

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As state lawmakers prepare to review California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) budget proposal, legislative staff are raising questions about his plans to extend vehicle-related fee hikes for 23 years -- to 2046 -- to “securitize” $500 million in the near-term to bolster zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales and to accelerate the construction of ZEV charging infrastructure.

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