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Daily News

October 01, 2019

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) plans this fall to release a survey of policies and voluntary initiatives that states, industry and other stakeholders are pursuing to overcome the hurdles for recycling solar power panels, as states grapple with various challenges including applying EPA’s standard waste toxicity test to the panels.

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Environmental and conservation groups are attacking California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) veto of a high-profile bill supported by Democratic leaders that would have locked into state law stringent Obama-era environmental, endangered species and worker safety rules.

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EPA’s ongoing review of the impacts on small businesses of its renewable fuel standard (RFS) is serving as a proxy for wider battles over the biofuels program, with refiners and ethanol proponents using their input on the review to advance competing arguments over broader RFS issues including whether the program should continue.

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A federal district court in Ohio has rejected efforts by the manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to dismiss a landmark tort class action lawsuit that is pursuing industry-funded, independent nationwide health studies and testing to determine the health effects of numerous PFAS found in the blood of nearly all Americans.

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September 30, 2019

Former EPA Administrator William Reilly is lambasting the Trump administration’s attack on California’s vehicle emissions rules, directing particular fire at its move to preempt California’s zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) program that the agency first authorized during his tenure in President George H.W. Bush’s administration.

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Environmentalists, backed by some state regulators, are urging EPA to scrap its proposed rule that would codify a guidance eliminating the longstanding “once in, always in” policy subjecting air toxics sources to strict emissions controls, warning the “reckless and unlawful” plan could increase air pollution.

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A Republican House lawmaker is leading a new bipartisan carbon tax bill that would replace the federal gas tax and direct revenue to infrastructure projects, adding to the wide menu of carbon pricing bills that have been floated this Congress as supporters try to build momentum behind the policy.

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EPA is set to hike its user fees for hazardous waste manifests on Oct. 1, after quietly announcing in July the significant boost would occur due to a variety of factors, including processing fewer than anticipated manifests over the past year and the need to address a significant backlog of reviewing companies’ paper manifests.

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EPA is detailing its justification for rejecting battery storage as best available control technology (BACT) in permitting a California natural gas-fired power plant, in response to environmentalists’ lawsuit arguing the Clean Air Act requires battery storage to prevent harmful pollution.

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September 27, 2019

SEATTLE -- State officials are raising fresh concerns that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) can travel long distances through the air, allowing the already widespread contaminants to reach areas far from facilities where they are manufactured or used, and are calling for new research into test methods that could detect airborne PFAS.

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EPA is rejecting charges from the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) that its attacks on California’s air and water programs undermine the “cooperative federalism” balance of state and federal authority on environmental policy, highlighting new praise from top environmental officials in GOP-led states of the agency’s work with them.

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The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) is pushing back against EPA’s recent attacks on California’s air and water programs, demanding a meeting with Administrator Andrew Wheeler on “unilateral” threats to withhold the state’s highway funds and revoke its delegated legal powers that ECOS says “violate” cooperative federalism principles.

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EPA staff’s integrated science assessment (ISA) of the latest data on ozone air pollution finds weaker evidence of a link between ozone exposure and public health harm but sees stronger evidence of the pollutant’s environmental damage, mixed findings that could complicate the agency’s ongoing review of its ozone ambient air standard.

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Several former members of a disbanded EPA panel advising on national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) reviews are preparing the first meeting of a “shadow” advisory committee not affiliated with the agency, to review a draft EPA policy assessment (PA) that argues in favor of tightening the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) NAAQS.

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September 26, 2019

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says it would be “nearly impossible” to implement a high-profile measure in the pending fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill that would require EPA to designate all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Superfund law within one year, triggering liability for parties that contributed to releases.

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A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel has advanced on a primarily partisan basis a bill to ban all uses of asbestos and a package of 13 bills to deal with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), though one PFAS bill drew broad bipartisan support and Republicans said they are open to negotiating with Democrats on several others before a full committee vote.

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The full Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a fiscal year 2020 spending bill for EPA and several other agencies that funds the agency at $9.01 billion, a $161 million boost over current levels that includes either modest increases or flat funding for numerous EPA programs.

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is hinting that the agency could revoke California’s delegated Clean Water Act (CWA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) powers over what EPA says are a host of water pollution problems in the state, the latest in an escalating fight between the agency and California over its delegated authorities.

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EPA is seeking to dismiss a refiner’s lawsuit faulting its rejection of a renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance waiver, arguing the regional appellate suit belongs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit because of the policy’s “national applicability,” reversing EPA’s previous tactics in challenges to its small refiner waivers.

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California Air Resources Board (CARB) officials are clarifying that they will not enforce the state’s vehicle greenhouse gas standards during their litigation against the Trump administration’s rule revoking the state’s Clean Air Act authority to issue its own GHG and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rules.

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