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Daily News

November 25, 2019

EPA has floated a proposal seeking comment on which per- and polyfluoroakyl substances (PFAS) should be reported to the agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), one of several regulatory items on the agency’s PFAS action plan, though it is unclear which, if any, of the estimated 4,500 PFAS chemicals will eventually be added.

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The Navy is asking a federal court to stay for six months a landmark suit seeking the military’s payment for medical monitoring to detect health issues that may develop after exposure to perfluorinated chemicals, citing the potential for EPA and/or Pennsylvania to list two of the chemicals as a “hazardous substance” and moot the military’s arguments.

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An attorney for New York City faced tough questions from a federal appellate judge in the city’s appeal of a district court’s dismissal of its climate nuisance case against major oil companies -- the first of a wave of such cases to be heard by appellate courts and one of just two cases in which lower courts sided with the industry.

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The California Restaurant Association (CRA) is suing the city of Berkeley over its ban on natural gas hookups at new residential and commercial buildings, elevating debate over a suite of state and local measures to phase out use of the fossil fuel and increase use of electrification as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals of Columbia Circuit will at Dec. 4 oral argument review whether EPA has a Clean Air Act duty to add to existing national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) limits for “missing” air toxics not covered under the original versions of the sector-specific policies.

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State regulators are seeking to influence EPA’s reconfiguration of its method for allocating Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste grants, including asking the agency to phase in the funding changes, consider states’ implementation of new federal rules in determining allocations, and other recommendations.

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November 22, 2019

Appellate judges are denying all requests to change the pace and scope of litigation over EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power sector greenhouse gas rule, denying the agency’s request to expedite the case and opponents’ move to put it on hold pending the issuance of a related rule and other steps.

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House Democrats are pressing EPA on its schedule for issuing rules to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), raising concerns that the administration’s deregulatory approach will stymie prior pledges to determine whether to craft Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) rules for some of the chemicals by the end of the year.

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EPA is urging a federal court to dismiss New York’s challenge to its decision to certify that General Electric (GE) had completed cleanup of contaminated sediment in the Hudson River, arguing the state lost its opportunity to challenge the agency’s decision when it declined to enter into a consent decree years ago governing the cleanup.

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is urging the federal government to develop a strategic plan to determine how to invest taxpayer dollars to build resilience to climate change risks, with the office suggesting ways to better prioritize current spending but also offering options for new spending.

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Even as EPA faces a Nov. 30 statutory deadline for finalizing its 2020 renewable fuel standard (RFS) production goals, significant doubts linger over the fate of the program including whether the agency will meet the deadline, potential changes to EPA’s RFS waiver policy, and questions on plans for the program’s future years.

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November 21, 2019

EPA has issued a final rule that rolls back chemical facility safety requirements that were tightened under the Obama administration even as the agency previewed its legal defenses against all but certain challenges from Democratic states and environmentalists who had threatened to sue over the 2018 proposal that the agency largely codified.

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House Democrats are elaborating on their climate change legislative agenda, with nearly two-thirds of the caucus rallying behind newly introduced legislation that would instruct EPA and other federal agencies to work toward a goal of net-zero carbon emissions across the economy by mid-century.

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Participants at next month’s annual United Nations climate change negotiations are hoping to complete detailed rules governing the environmental integrity of international carbon markets, posing a new test for the Paris Agreement just as the Trump administration prepares to pull the United States out of the deal.

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Participants at next month’s annual United Nations climate change negotiations are hoping to complete detailed rules governing the environmental integrity of international carbon markets, posing a new test for the Paris Agreement just as the Trump administration prepares to pull the United States out of the deal.

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Judges hearing oral arguments over EPA’s 2018 mercury inventory rule appeared skeptical of EPA defense against charges that it has exempted too much from the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) inventory, with one judge calling the agency’s defense of an exemption for components containing mercury “bogus” and asking whether it was “rational."

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Congress’ long-simmering battle over whether to regulate perfluorinated chemicals under the Superfund law as part of the pending defense bill appears headed for a final showdown as Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over whether to include such legislation in the final measure, which is slated for release this week.

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The mayors of two California coastal cities and multiple environmental groups are urging state water regulators to reject energy agencies’ plan to extend the closure deadlines for several natural gas-fired power plants that use once-through-cooling (OTC), touting alternative measures to ensure a reliable power supply in southern California.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) move to restrict hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas drilling is prompting some environmental groups to urge the first-year governor to go much further and ban all new drilling, while also sparking a debate over whether the crackdown increases the state’s reliance on imported fuel produced under weaker rules.

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Some California lawmakers are pressing investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to ramp up installation of community distributed energy resources (DERs) such as battery storage paired with solar and fully support a state DER subsidy program to help customers maintain power during utilities’ intentional power shutoffs to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

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