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Daily News

June 13, 2019

California companies and groups that are promoting the increased use of renewable natural gas (RNG) to help reduce greenhouse gases from the building sector are faulting a state consultant’s report that concludes relying on significant levels of RNG will be costlier and worse for air quality than shifting almost entirely to electricity.

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June 12, 2019

EPA is seeking experts to peer review potential new approaches for estimating the benefits of reducing fine particulate matter (PM2.5) below national standards, an effort that could help the agency justify planned rollbacks of Obama-era rules governing power plant emissions of mercury and greenhouse gases that relied on the “co-benefits” provided by the PM2.5 reductions.

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WILMINGTON, DE -- The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) of 12 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states is urging EPA to accelerate its development of a tougher limit for ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions for new heavy-duty trucks, seeing the rule as vital to the region’s efforts to attain federal ozone air standards.

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Members of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) clashed over state and federal roles under the Clean Water Act (CWA) at a hearing on EPA’s proposed jurisdiction rule, with Republicans arguing a limited CWA standard will support robust local protections while Democrats countered that it would hamstring many states.

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California state attorneys are seeking dismissal of a Trump administration lawsuit filed earlier this year in federal district court challenging new state-issued Bay-Delta water standards, arguing that an identical suit the administration filed in state superior court should be the only case that proceeds.

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Environmental and labor groups are suggesting they may sue the agency if it proceeds with its proposed training program for commercial users of paint-stripping products containing methylene chloride, charging the agency has failed to justify its approach after the Obama administration found the chemical posed unreasonable risks to workers.

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California air district officials and industry groups are intensifying their call for state air board officials to scale back a revised regulatory proposal requiring tens of thousands of stationary sources to submit new reports of their criteria and air toxics emissions, arguing the rules go well beyond a landmark 2017 law to reduce pollution in disadvantaged areas.

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June 11, 2019

House Democrats are vowing to pursue new oversight hearings of the Trump EPA’s deregulatory agenda after a bipartisan group of former agency administrators testified that the administration is bypassing sound science in favor of cutting industry costs, though the lawmakers did not identify steps that could limit or reverse the rollbacks.

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WILMINGTON, DE -- Maryland is petitioning the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) to back its push for EPA to impose strict nitrogen oxide (NOx) limits on power plants in Pennsylvania, another OTC member, charging they hinder its ability to attain EPA ozone standards, though even if OTC agrees, it is unlikely the agency will grant it.

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Critics of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) repeal of an Obama-era rule to limit “wasted” methane from oil and gas operations on public lands are urging a district court to vacate it, saying the rule unlawfully relies on a flawed cost of carbon estimate and is wrongly justified based on a related EPA policy.

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EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA) is poised to unveil the first six issues on which it will focus its new national compliance initiatives (NCIs) for fiscal years 2020-2023, narrowing a list of eight measures it prioritized as part of its enforcement program in its FY17-19 list.

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Texas is reiterating its claim that it has authority under the Clean Air Act to designate areas as meeting EPA’s six national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), contradicting the agency’s view in a new legal filing even as the state seeks to defend EPA’s designation that the El Paso area is in attainment with the 2015 ozone NAAQS.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state lawmakers have reached a compromise on a roughly $1.4 billion fiscal year 2019-20 budget for revenue generated by the state’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, which includes a controversial new allocation of $100 million to clean up drinking water in various parts of the state.

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June 10, 2019

As Congress weighs barring the Defense Department (DOD) from procuring aqueous firefighting foam (AFFF) containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) due to contamination concerns, parties at large industrial and mining sites that may also have used the foam are growing increasingly concerned about their potential cleanup liability.

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The Trump administration has not successfully defended any climate deregulatory effort in court during its first two years, a new report finds, even though EPA and other agencies have been able to delay implementation of some rules and are poised to complete several major rollbacks in the coming months that will spur additional lawsuits.

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A bipartisan group of former EPA administrators is expected to urge House lawmakers to plan on reviving the agency after President Donald Trump leaves office by boosting its budget and using EPA to tackle climate change, steps the former chiefs say are vital to address growing environmental threats and to undo Trump’s rule rollbacks.

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The Supreme Court has agreed to review a case that could test whether the Superfund law’s bar on judicial review of ongoing cleanup remedies extends to state damages claims, adding the case to its docket despite the Trump administration’s call that the suit is not ripe for consideration and review should be denied.

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Washington state’s new court challenge against EPA’s sudden rewrite of state water quality standards poses a test not only for the agency’s ability to revisit years-old reviews of state Clean Water Act (CWA) policies but also its just-issued guidance on the timing of those reviews, which stressed a 90-day deadline in order to avoid “uncertainty."

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June 07, 2019

Officials in New York and New Jersey, two states with a large number of Superfund and other waste sites, are stepping up their efforts to test for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other emerging contaminants at the sites, raising industry fears over potential liability, lagging analytical abilities and unclear remediation requirements.

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In a potential preview of what EPA and other regulators can expect to see on any plans to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), industry and environmentalists are clashing over New Jersey’s landmark plans to set drinking water and other standards for the contaminants and what science should be used to do so.

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