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Daily News

August 02, 2019

The chemical industry is pointing to a pending study it sponsored to bolster its argument that EPA erred in a draft toxics law evaluation of the solvent 1,4-dioxane when it concluded there is no safe exposure threshold below which the substance causes cancer, signaling plans to challenge future agency efforts to regulate uses of the chemical.

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AUSTIN, TX -- EPA General Counsel Matt Leopold is strongly defending the agency’s “bold” legal interpretation in its Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) utility climate rule that the Clean Air Act only allows “inside-the-fence” regulation, despite caution from some that the move carries significant risks for the Trump administration.

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EPA is making several creative arguments to parry conservative and environmentalist criticism of its narrow climate standards for existing power plants, including by embracing Obama-era legal interpretations that the agency has threshold power to regulate greenhouse gases even as it roundly criticizes other key legal findings by the prior administration.

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A hazardous waste treatment and disposal industry group is expressing surprise and concern over EPA’s recent announcement that it will sharply raise user fees for hazardous waste manifests beginning in October, warning the action will hurt the business by hiking its costs.

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August 01, 2019

EPA Aug. 1 issued its proposed rule that seeks to codify controversial earlier guidance easing new source review (NSR) rules governing “project emissions accounting” while rejecting critics’ claims that it must take additional action to prevent permit applicants from evading in-depth permit review that could trigger tougher pollution controls.

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that represents 8,000 EPA employees, is offering advice to workers on how to push back on a controversial new labor contract that the agency unilaterally imposed last month, which AFGE says hinders employees’ work and makes it easier for them to be fired.

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EPA’s new contract that it unilaterally imposed on 8,000 of its workers with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) dramatically expands the list of grievances the union is barred from pursuing on behalf of its members, and could make it impossible to challenge contentious agency decisions affecting employees, the union and others warn.

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California regulators are considering restrictions or a potential ban on 1,4-dioxane in personal care and cleaning products under the state’s green chemistry program, primarily to reduce amounts of the likely human carcinogen in water supplies, filling a gap left by the Trump EPA’s plan precluding such limits from its pending toxics rules.

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House Democratic leaders are signaling that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology will play a significant role in their emerging plan to achieve a zero-carbon economy by 2050, underscoring their belief that fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, will continue to play a key part of the energy mix in the coming decades.

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California air board officials are floating tweaks to their proposed first-time price cap and credit borrowing plan under the state’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), drawing some technical concerns from industry stakeholders and fears from others that greenhouse gas emission reductions could be lost in the near-term.

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July 31, 2019

CalEPA and state toxics department officials are delaying their response to a request by environmental justice groups to extend the expiration date of a landmark 2016 civil rights legal settlement requiring more stringent hazardous waste dump permitting requirements, among other actions.

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Biofuels industry groups are expressing pessimism that EPA will preserve biofuel blending mandates in its renewable fuel standards (RFS) program as it weighs waiver requests from the mandates from dozens of small refineries, amid signs EPA is again leaning toward granting refiners’ waiver requests.

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Biofuels industry groups are seeking to resume proceedings in litigation over EPA’s methods for setting blending mandates for its renewable fuels standard (RFS) program, a further indication of the sector’s pessimism that officials will address their concerns over the mandate volumes lost as a result of the refinery waivers the agency is granting.

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Trump administration appointees to EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) are bolstering agency efforts to scale back use of a conservative risk assessment method that assumes no safe level of exposure to certain carcinogens, clearing the way for a less-strict approach that could help justify eased rules for industrial chemicals and nuclear radiation.

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The Freedom to Drive (FTD) Coalition, an alliance of oil and other industry groups, is challenging the major agreement inked between Colorado officials and two key automaker groups implementing California’s zero emission vehicle (ZEV) sales mandate in the state, charging it is unlawful because it amends California’s program.

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EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is largely exonerating agency staff from claims by some House Republicans that they improperly coordinated with new truck manufacturers in conducting tests of “glider” trucks, which combine used engines with new chassis, that showed high emissions from the vehicles.

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Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states developing the country’s first cap-and-trade program to cut transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions are being urged to ensure that their effort elevates and addresses the equity concerns of disadvantaged communities and areas on the “front-line” of pollution challenges.

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California air board officials are substantially scaling back proposed emissions reporting rules for industrial facilities in response to strong opposition by local air districts and industry groups that charged board staff were inappropriately including a broad universe of small sources.

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A California court will soon be considering whether the state acted illegally by approving a regulation clarifying that coffee sellers do not have to provide cancer warnings under the state’s Proposition 65 toxic warning law for exposure to the coffee ingredient acrylamide.

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July 30, 2019

Nearly two dozen Democratic attorneys general (AGs) are urging Congress to approve a series of plans to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in pending House and Senate defense bills, but the officials omitted calls for lawmakers to approve several contested measures, including plans to require EPA to craft water rules, highlighting the difficulty they face as they seek to resolve their differences.

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