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Daily News

April 11, 2019

New York is planning to sue EPA over its decision to certify the upper portion of the Hudson River cleanup as complete even though the agency left the door open to additional future cleanup requirements by issuing a separate review that defers until a future date whether the cleanup is “protective.”

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EPA has expanded the scope of possible situations where states and industry can exclude air monitoring data showing violations of federal air quality standards from regulatory determinations on Clean Air Act compliance, prompting warnings from one environmentalist that the action is unlawful, though states are welcoming the new policy.

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The booming oil and gas industry is facing new scrutiny over its Clean Air Act permits covering methane and air toxics emissions in Western states, particularly in Colorado where Democrats are codifying sweeping new limits on drilling and more than a dozen companies are facing citizen suits over their allegedly lax air permits.

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Sponsors of legislation to ease and streamline California’s umbrella environmental protection and review law for projects to address the state’s housing crisis are preparing to scale their measures back in the face of stiff opposition from judicial branch representatives who say they would undermine courts’ role in fairly reviewing cases.

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A key California senate committee is advancing a far-reaching bill to reduce acidification in the Pacific Ocean and sequester more carbon dioxide in coastal wetlands and other shoreline ecosystems, though the measure faces amendments to address opposition from water agencies, farmers and foresters.

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A prominent senator has introduced controversial legislation that would authorize the South Coast air district to place a measure on a 2020 election ballot to hike the region’s sales tax by a minimum of 25 cents to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for air quality improvement programs and projects.

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April 10, 2019

Critics of President Donald Trump's just-signed executive orders (EOs) to speed environmental reviews of pipelines and other energy projects are vowing to fight the directive in courts and Congress, saying the orders unlawfully blunt long-established requirements in the Clean Water Act (CWA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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Washington state officials are decrying the Trump administration's plan to reverse an Obama-era rule for the state that set stringent water quality limits for nearly 200 pollutants to protect high levels of fish consumption among Native American communities, saying EPA failed to consult with the state and tribes before announcing the change.

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A top Defense Department (DOD) environment official is expressing doubt over prospects for bipartisan and bicameral legislation that seeks to boost regulation and funding for addressing cleanup of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), an assessment that at least one top Democrat appears to share.

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EPA's toxics office is eying the possibility of eventually addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in small subclasses, an approach that would likely ease efforts to deal with the thousands of chemicals in the class though it could set up obstacles for industry if newer PFAS are part of a heavily regulated subclass.

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As lawmakers gear up to advance highway infrastructure legislation, House Democrats are planning to push new water infrastructure legislation this year to provide additional funding for utility repairs and upgrades as well as to address affordability concerns, though they are facing procedural and funding challenges.

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The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) is advancing two bipartisan bills, the first an effort to promote carbon capture and reuse that reflects Republicans’ reliance on technological innovation to mitigate climate change, and a second to reauthorize a widely popular EPA diesel engine retrofit program.

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Oregon attorneys are urging the Supreme Court not to review an appellate court ruling that upheld the state’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), rebutting a petition by oil and trucking companies, as well as large energy consumers, that charges the regulatory program violates the Constitution’s dormant Commerce Clause.

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A California state senator is scaling back a bill to strengthen a state program requiring regional governments to cut greenhouse gases associated with vehicle miles traveled (VMT) through land-use and planning changes, primarily by removing provisions that would have cut transportation funding to regions that are not on track to meet emission targets.

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April 09, 2019

Brushing aside concerns from governors and others, President Donald Trump is slated to issue an executive order April 10 that will order EPA to “review and update” its policies governing state reviews of federal projects under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), with a senior official indicating it will likely curtail states' current review powers.

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EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is drawing fire from House Democrats over the agency's proposed rollback of vehicle greenhouse gas standards, with lawmakers questioning his claims the plan would not significantly boost GHGs and charging that he has unlawfully prejudged a pending move to preempt California's vehicle program.

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is urging appellate judges to give EPA wide latitude regarding the reasons for its conclusion that it must weaken Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas standards, even as it argues that state and environmentalist litigation over the finding is not ripe for court review.

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Appellate judges appeared split during April 9 oral argument on whether environmentalists have standing to challenge an EPA exclusion that exempts third-party recyclers of hazardous secondary materials from strict waste rule requirements even as the panel appeared to question environmentalists' argument on the merits.

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Municipal drinking water utilities are pressing EPA water chief David Ross on the agency's timeline for proposing revisions to the lead and copper rule (LCR), which agency officials have said is expected this summer, suggesting a cautiousness after the agency has repeatedly missed previous internal deadlines.

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April 08, 2019

As President Donald Trump prepares to issue an executive order aimed at limiting state Clean Water Act (CWA) reviews of federally permitted pipelines, state environmental regulators are poised to meet with federal officials to push their plan for “process improvements” that would speed the reviews without limiting state authority.

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