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Daily News

August 08, 2019

Industry groups are fighting a California agency proposal limiting companies from averaging risks from foods that are produced at separate facilities and then mixed together when determining whether they must provide Proposition 65 reproductive toxicity warnings on their products, arguing the rules are unnecessary, costly, unfair and ambiguous.

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August 07, 2019

AUSTIN, TX -- EPA is preparing to delegate Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permitting authority to Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico for onshore oil and gas extraction, a move that could eventually shift how produced water is handled in the arid, energy-rich region where many have been pressing the agency to make it easier to reuse the water.

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The flurry of bills introduced this Congress to impose a tax or other kind of price on carbon emissions throughout the economy are floating a menu of options regarding the stringency of the policy and the use of revenues, even as prospects for major climate legislation appear slim in the near term.

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A recent appellate decision upholding the adequacy of federal energy regulators’ greenhouse gas review of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline shows the limits of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and environmentalists’ efforts to use the law to challenge agency approvals.

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) says automakers such as Honda and Toyota must ramp up their sales of fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to maintain a desired balance with available hydrogen fueling stations if the state is to have any chance to meet its mid- and long-term goals for both vehicle and station deployment.

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San Diego County attorneys are defending their acceptance of greenhouse gas offset credits to satisfy climate mitigation requirements for proposed development projects, with the county seeking to overturn a potentially precedent-setting superior court ruling finding the offset use and a broader climate change action plan violate state and local rules.

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Former EPA staff are attacking the agency’s proposal to approve North Carolina’s air quality plan that includes a waiver from an Obama-era prohibition on exemptions from Clean Air Act regulatory limits for facility emissions during startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) events, fearing the move risks unraveling the federal policy.

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EPA has sent for White House review the first of at least two rulemakings to revise Obama-era coal ash disposal standards in response to a 2018 court ruling that the policy was too weak, but the pending proposal will put off addressing the court mandate to regulate unlined and “legacy” ash sites in favor of a deadline extension and other issues.

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August 06, 2019

California regulators appear to be prodding automakers that have not joined the state’s landmark voluntary deal with four manufacturers to begin formally following the state’s greenhouse gas standards starting in model year 2020, a year earlier than when the state rules are slated to diverge from EPA’s requirements.

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Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit appear to doubt two counties’ case seeking civil penalties from automaker Volkswagen (VW) for its use of “defeat device” software to cheat on federal air emissions standards, pressing the counties’ hard at Aug. 6 oral arguments on why their claims are not preempted by federal claims.

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Supreme Court observers expect lower courts to grant EPA and other agencies narrower, agency-specific deference to interpret ambiguous regulatory language in the wake of the high court’s recent Kisor v, Wilkie ruling that generally preserved so-called Auer deference but reinforced limits on its use.

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A Sierra Club lawsuit against EPA over its approval of Pennsylvania’s plan to curb ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) adds to pressure on the Keystone State to further limit NOx from sources it can regulate, as surrounding states weigh asking EPA to force Pennsylvania to cut NOx they say is hindering their ability to meet federal ozone limits.

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California toxics department officials are planning to make further changes to their controversial draft proposal to establish first-time universal waste (UW) rules for the disposal of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, based on extensive written comments filed recently by numerous entities that manufacture, install, manage and recycle the panels.

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August 05, 2019

California is planning to approve next month a controversial standard for tropical forest carbon offset credits that may eventually lead to the acceptance of the credits under the state’s cap-and-trade program, amid ongoing debate about whether such projects will hurt indigenous people and allow pollution hikes in disadvantaged Golden State areas.

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AUSTIN, TX -- A top EPA waste official is vowing that the agency will soon send for White House pre-publication review its final rule to undo Obama-era changes that tightened facility safety risk management plan (RMP) requirements, a surprise move refuting environmentalists’ suggestions that the rollback was “dead in the water."

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Federal appeals court judges at Aug. 5 argument appeared doubtful of environmentalists’ suit aiming to revive Obama-era rules the GOP scrapped using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) in the early days of the Trump administration, strongly questioning claims that the CRA is unconstitutional and the repeals were unlawful.

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AUSTIN, TX -- An adviser to an industry-backed group pushing for a carbon tax is expressing optimism about the broader policy’s chances in Congress over the next year but says that a portion of the plan to “streamline” EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory authority in exchange for the tax could be the “trickiest” part to negotiate.

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The White House has begun inter-agency review of EPA and the Transportation Department’s (DOT) final rule rolling back Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards, amid continued sharp opposition to the plan from California and even a rebuke from some automakers.

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EPA is facing a possible suit from environmentalists after the agency rejected claims that a modified Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) significant new use rule (SNUR) for use of a specific chemical lacks adequate protections for oilfield workers that are exposed to the substance and any formaldehyde that may be associated with it.

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August 02, 2019

Environmentalists are strongly criticizing EPA’s risk evaluations for a common solvent and a largely phased-out flame retardant for what they say is a gross understatement of the risks that workers face from exposure to the chemicals, in part because the agency assumes workers will use protective equipment.

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