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Daily News

September 10, 2020

Key senators say they have reached a bipartisan deal on legislation requiring EPA to implement a 15-year phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a compromise that could pave the way for enactment of the measure after months of clashing over the climate policy that has also stalled comprehensive energy legislation.

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The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the attorneys general (AGs) of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia are suing EPA for the agency’s alleged failure to enforce the terms of the Chesapeake Bay’s landmark cleanup agreement and ensure Pennsylvania and New York meet their cleanup targets.

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EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) is floating several concerns with the agency’s proposal to overhaul its cost-benefit review practices for Clean Air Act policies, arguing the agency should potentially broaden the scope of benefits it considers and better justify its proposed criteria for using health studies in cost analyses.

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Major oil sector groups are suing EPA in a bid to weaken the agency’s national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for liquid storage tanks used at refineries, and they are also petitioning EPA to administratively reconsider the regulation to relax several provisions including a push for easier compliance terms.

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The carbon dioxide emissions from California’s numerous wildfires this year appear to be around 60-65 million metric tons (MMT), which is about the same amount emitted from the state’s power generators in an entire year and far more than created annually by residences and businesses, as well as the agriculture industry.

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California’s community choice aggregators (CCAs) are joining the debate over how to improve the state’s grid reliability amid power shortages, raging wildfires and other climate change threats, sending Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) a series of proposed regulatory, legislative and federal policy fixes.

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September 09, 2020

Proponents of a bill to ban asbestos are pledging to move the legislation through Congress in the coming weeks despite a long-simmering -- and still unresolved -- disagreement with trial lawyers over the forms of asbestos subject to any ban, a dispute that has so far stymied the bill’s passage despite overwhelming bipartisan support.

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In a case challenging EPA’s listing of a New Jersey industrial site to Superfund’s National Priorities List (NPL), a three-judge federal appeals court panel during Sept. 9 oral argument questioned whether EPA inadequately disclosed data on nearby wetlands to the point where it prejudiced the agency’s ultimate decision on the listing.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is continuing its legal defense of Obama-era rules imposing fuel economy limits on trailers connected to long-haul trucks, urging a federal appeals court to reject industry’s recent request to stay the rule -- slated to take effect in January -- ahead of oral argument in the long-running suit.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are suspending state and federal air pollution rules for power plants and generators to help ensure the state is able to maintain grid reliability, adding to multiple ongoing strategies to avoid blackouts amid a major heat wave and a series of raging wildfires.

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California is seeking to overturn a federal district court judge’s potentially precedent-setting decision blocking the state from requiring companies to provide Proposition 65 cancer warning labels on products containing glyphosate, the active ingredient in many herbicides, because it violated their First Amendment rights.

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California is seeking to overturn a federal district court judge’s potentially precedent-setting decision blocking the state from requiring companies to provide Proposition 65 cancer warning labels on products containing glyphosate, the active ingredient in many herbicides, because it violated their First Amendment rights.

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Environmental and public interest groups are using meetings with White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) and EPA officials to reiterate their push for the agency to tighten its pending revisions to the lead and copper drinking water rule, including seeking quicker replacement of lead pipes and a new analysis of the rule’s benefits.

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EPA has issued a final rule extending by more than three years the deadline for electric utilities to comply with its requirement for a single “streamlined” electronic compliance reporting system for the mercury and air toxics standards (MATS) for power plants.

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California has largely stalled in efforts to bolster its struggling network to serve fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), increasing the total number of hydrogen fueling stations by just one over the past year, prompting air regulators to urge public agencies and industry to redouble their push for station construction.

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The California Supreme Court is denying a petition by Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) to review a state appellate court ruling upholding an air permit for a refinery-expansion project, ending the group’s bid for greater clarity on how agencies must establish emissions baselines when considering pollution limits.

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Two House Democrats from Michigan and almost 130 EPA employees from Seattle are pressing the agency to allow continued telework rather than require employees to return to their offices in Washington state and Ann Arbor, MI, arguing the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a major public health threat.

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September 08, 2020

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is set to hear oral argument Sept. 9 in a suit challenging an EPA Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) designation that the manufacturing industry fears could set a precedent triggering a boost in placing industrial facilities near waterbodies on the NPL.

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In a precedential ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has found limits to the liability shield a potentially responsible party (PRP) obtains under the Superfund law when settling cleanup recovery actions brought by states, saying other PRPs may still pursue cost-recovery at the same site if those costs relate to separate, federal claims.

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Small refiners are asking the Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a ruling that blocks EPA from issuing renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waivers to some companies, a request that may further delay the agency’s decision on whether to grant or deny almost 100 pending requests for waivers from RFS fuel production targets.

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