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Daily News

May 13, 2019

The conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is citing new White House guidelines on implementing the Information Quality Act (IQA) in a fresh attempt to thwart use of EPA's decade-old “endangerment finding” that supports regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

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The demise of the long-time Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) that litigated many EPA air rules for the power sector and imploded following congressional scrutiny over its ties to the agency’s current air chief is shifting focus to other utility sector groups that are involved in legal challenges and advocacy on waste and water regulations.

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EPA is arguing that states lack standing for their litigation challenging the agency’s designations for which areas of the country are attaining federal ozone standards because they cannot contest the findings on behalf of their citizens, the latest attempt by EPA to fend off states’ lawsuits by arguing that they lack the necessary standing to sue.

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The Trump EPA's decision to revise Obama-era water quality standards for Washington state, over the objections of state officials, tees up a legal fight over whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) allows such changes in the absence of a state proposal or a formal finding that new standards are needed to comply with the act.

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EPA's toxics chief Alexandra Dunn says the agency's next update to the Trump administration's action plan on reducing lead exposures could address data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that shows children most exposed to lead have recently seen increases in their blood lead levels (BLLs).

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May 11, 2019

The Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), the power sector organization that often challenges EPA air rules, is dissolving after 40 more than years -- even as House Democrats are pledging to continue their investigation into the group over its ties to EPA air chief Bill Wehrum.

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May 10, 2019

EPA’s recent failure to limit the ability of states to sue over the agency’s slow implementation of Obama-era landfill methane rule could raise the importance of the Supreme Court’s landmark Massachusetts v. EPA ruling that gave states “special solicitude” to bring climate suits, given that many Trump administration climate rollbacks will soon wind up in court.

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Supporters of the new clean energy standard (CES) proposal in Congress say it is a politically achievable roadmap for major power sector greenhouse gas cuts, and that the plan could get a political boost by building on numerous similar state programs and by including support for a broad suite of low-carbon technologies.

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EPA plans to propose in early 2020 national performance standards for commercial vessel discharges, in order to meet a Dec. 4, 2020, statutory deadline to finalize the standards, the first part of a two-step process of creating -- with the U.S. Coast Guard -- a unified framework for regulating ballast water and other types of incidental discharges.

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The county of Maui, HI, is urging the Supreme Court to block Clean Water Act (CWA) liability and permit mandates for pollution that travels through groundwater to surface waters, even as elected officials there are debating whether to settle the case in order to avoid a ruling that would limit EPA and state regulators’ CWA authority nationwide.

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Automakers and dealers are asking EPA to add more flexibility into its interim airbag disposal rule, which conditionally exempts dealers and salvage vendors from hazardous waste requirements when removing and handling recalled and other airbags from vehicles.

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A labor union attorney says environmental statutes' citizen suit provisions could give workers a powerful tool in their fight to reduce their exposures to hazardous chemicals, because laws such as the Clean Air Act impose much greater penalties for violations that increase exposures compared to workplace safety statutes.

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May 09, 2019

EPA is asking its Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) to help with crafting a policy to ensure the agency communicates consistently about environmental and public health risks, prompting mixed reactions from committee members who say the Trump administration is still failing to take full advantage of the panel's expertise.

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A federal court has dismissed on standing grounds a challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) climate review of a New York natural gas pipeline approval, effectively upholding for the first time FERC’s narrow review policy though sources say the approach remains vulnerable in a pending case over a Tennessee pipeline.

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The chairman and ranking member of a Senate governmental affairs committee panel are poised to introduce bills they say will make “surgical fixes” to the regulatory process by creating a test to ensure health and safety rules are effective via future retrospective reviews and providing more opportunity for early input on proposed measures.

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California regulators are announcing they plan to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos by initiating a process to cancel the product’s registration in the state due to evidence of significant adverse health effects from exposure to the substance, but environmentalists want quicker action and are calling on lawmakers to ban the pesticide by Jan. 1, 2020.

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Top California lawmakers and environmental groups are escalating their push for Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and lawmakers to substantially increase funding in the state’s fiscal year 2019-20 budget for climate and resources programs, including $400 million for programs that aim in part to sequester more greenhouse gases in “natural and working” lands.

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California's white paper outlining regulatory options for strict heavy-duty truck nitrogen oxides (NOx) rules, which the state could impose more quickly than expected EPA standards, is prompting renewed industry interest in interim, voluntary national standards in exchange for the state creating a more flexible set of limits.

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May 08, 2019

Top House Republicans say they could agree to a compromise with Democrats on a bill to limit asbestos risks, though they say any deal will have to address concerns that a bill does not unduly limit production of chlorine used to treat drinking water and does not impose infeasible testing and other requirements on EPA.

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House Democrats grilled EPA toxics chief Alexandra Dunn over the agency's narrow approach to addressing risks of asbestos, though Dunn declined comment on a pair of leaked internal memos regional staff wrote raising concerns about the agency's approaches and underscoring concerns raised by environmentalists and others.

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