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Daily News

October 04, 2019

EPA and environmentalists have agreed to a six-month extension, from December until June 2020, of the agency’s court-ordered deadline to finalize a long-delayed rule addressing perchlorate in drinking water, which follows EPA’s previously announced six-month delay in issuing the proposed version of the rule.

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EPA at Oct. 7 appellate court oral argument will defend its use of “significant impact levels” (SILs) to ease Clean Air Act permitting for local regulators against environmentalists’ claim that the screening tools allow unlawful air pollution, while major industry groups are intervening to support the agency’s policy.

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EPA is moving to boost renewable fuel standard (RFS) biofuel blending targets to compensate for dozens of RFS compliance waivers issued by the agency to small refiners, part of President Donald Trump’s promised “giant package” of aid to farmers and biofuel producers who claim the waivers damage their livelihoods.

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October 03, 2019

EPA appears to be advancing a new argument to dismiss part of environmentalists’ suit over the agency’s denial of their petition to require more reporting about the uses of asbestos in the United States that could also provide a defense against a new trial in a second, nearly identical petition case from states.

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Underscoring the Trump administration’s chaotic process for scuttling Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas standards, the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) has rejected several groups’ requests for meetings on the draft final policy, including a national group representing state and local air regulators.

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A bipartisan coalition of states is urging the Supreme Court to take up a petition from environmentalists to review an appellate decision limiting states’ ability to review Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 water quality certification requests, arguing the ruling’s “incorrect interpretation . . . threatens to have far-reaching, adverse effects for States.”

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Former George H. W. Bush EPA General Counsel E. Donald Elliott is pushing a novel argument that the agency can impose a carbon “fee” under existing authority, suggesting it could be attractive to companies looking to head off stricter limits on fossil fuel extraction that major Democratic presidential candidates are considering.

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Dow Agrosciences and other companies are contesting and seeking a hearing on California’s recent cancellation of chlorpyrifos pesticide product registrations, with some laying out in recent filings what could become extensive arguments in a potential lawsuit against the state’s decision.

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A coalition of agriculture groups and Monsanto Co. are asking a federal district court to issue a summary judgment in their favor that would permanently block California from requiring Proposition 65 cancer warning labels on products containing the herbicide glyphosate.

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October 02, 2019

Environmentalists and industry groups are waging competing attacks on EPA’s plan to rework provisions in its coal ash rule governing disposal of the waste, complicating the agency’s path forward as it wrestles with industry’s claim that the proposal will hurt ash ruse and environmentalists’ claim the plan will harm the environment.

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EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker has rejected a citizen petition asking the agency to immediately bar the Army from using thermal methods to dispose of explosives and other materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at a Tennessee facility, deferring to the state as the lead regulator.

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Several East Coast states say they might adopt the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) planned low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards for heavy-duty trucks starting in model year 2024-26, given uncertainty over the effectiveness of EPA’s plan to adopt new national standards starting in MY27.

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Democrats and others are increasing pressure on EPA to follow the many recommendations in the recently released report from science advisors who reviewed EPA’s first draft risk evaluation completed under the auspices of its new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) program, as agency officials have sought to show progress.

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Environmental law experts are underscoring multiple legal obstacles the Trump administration faces when defending its rule preempting California’s vehicle greenhouse gas and zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) rules, including statutory history and EPA’s unprecedented withdrawal of permission for the programs years after approving them.

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New Hampshire regulators working with EPA to test for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in manufacturing facilities are finding that as many as 50% of the chemicals sampled in those tests are missing from the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) inventory of chemicals in commerce, a state official says.

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The South Coast air district and an oil company are rebutting an environmental justice group’s appeal challenging the district’s approval of a permit for a refinery expansion, arguing an emissions baseline for the permit was properly set under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

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Solid waste agencies and local air districts are attacking a draft environmental impact report (EIR) for California’s landmark proposed rule to slash greenhouse gases from organic waste disposal, charging it underestimates air and water impacts and fails to consider viable, less costly alternatives.

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October 01, 2019

EPA science advisors are giving largely critical responses to the agency’s narrow questions about how to implement protections of trade secret or personal medical information as part of its effort to advance the science transparency rule that aims to bar agency decision-makers from relying on any information that is not publicly available.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has vacated EPA’s rule “closing-out” the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program and set a tight deadline for rehearing petitions, adding further confusion to the agency’s interstate air policy following a separate court defeat over an earlier version of CSAPR.

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A federal district judge is ordering the Missouri-based utility Ameren to install scrubbers to capture sulfur dioxide (SO2) at its Rush Island coal plant among other remedy requirements in a just-issued judgment in a long-running, high-profile EPA new source review (NSR) enforcement case.

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