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Daily News

May 26, 2021

Defense Department (DOD) officials are telling House appropriators it will cost more than $29 billion to complete environmental cleanups at its bases, including $2.1 billion for addressing ubiquitous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) while cautioning that the costs for PFAS are bound to increase over time.

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Environmental groups are ramping up resistance to provisions in a bipartisan Senate transportation bill that seek to speed environmental reviews, even as they praise the bill’s investments in electric vehicles (EVs) and other climate measures as an initial step toward the Biden administration’s more ambitious infrastructure plan.

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The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) has approved President Joe Biden’s nominations of Michal Freedhoff to head EPA’s toxics office and Radhika Fox to be the agency’s water policy chief, but six GOP senators opposed Fox -- partly due to their fears about the Biden EPA’s Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction policy.

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Environmentalists in Montana are petitioning EPA to step in and set numeric water quality standards for the state after Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) enacted a new law eliminating Montana’s previous numeric standards in favor of narrative standards, with environmentalists arguing the state law violates the Clean Water Act (CWA).

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Environmentalists are urging a federal district court to find that EPA violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it allowed Florida to assume Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404 permitting authority, arguing the agency erred in setting an immediate effective date for the approval and by failing to codify the state program.

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The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is urging a federal district court to find that EPA violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it allowed Florida to assume Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404 permitting authority, arguing the agency erred in setting an immediate effective date for the approval and by failing to codify the state program.

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Two Democratic senators are reintroducing their bill to ban the Department of Defense (DOD) from buying many types of products made with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) with several changes to make the ban more stringent than prior versions, including expanding the list of covered products and using a broader definition of PFAS.

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May 25, 2021

A California state lawmaker has scaled back his bill that had sought to substantially tighten the state’s greenhouse gas emission targets for 2030 and beyond, in response to broad concerns raised by legislative analysts and pushback from major business and industry groups.

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The Biden administration is launching an effort to advance offshore wind power in two areas off the California coast, including a crucial commitment by the Department of Defense (DOD) to be more flexible in accommodating the carbon-free sources that may be located near its military testing, training and operations areas in the central coast region.

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A federal district court judge has denied environmentalists’ request to designate their newly filed suit seeking a deadline for EPA’s TSCA evaluation of legacy asbestos uses as “related” to a case over whether to add the substance to the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) program, siding with EPA’s argument that the two involve separate legal issues.

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EPA is soliciting data and comments on a handful of petitions filed by environmental and industry groups pressing the agency to ban the use of select climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in various air conditioning and refrigeration applications, using new statutory authority Congress enacted last year.

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EPA says its recently approved “major source” air permit for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind energy project off the coast of Massachusetts sets a precedent for strict permitting of other wind farms planned for the East Coast, with “innovative” permit provisions including a mandate for vessels building the facility to minimize emissions.

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Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed with Democrats at a May 25 hearing that Congress should provide EPA with funding to address significant drinking water infrastructure needs, but the GOP lawmakers objected to policy provisions in pending funding bills that would create new authorities for the agency.

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A federal district judge is denying a request by environmental groups and tribes to grant an injunction shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts a rigorous environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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The director of EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) -- the office directly responsible for implementing most of TSCA -- has resigned, creating a crucial vacancy just as one former official says the Biden administration’s plan to dramatically overhaul Trump-era approaches to the law stands at a “crossroads.”

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A group of nine state attorneys general (AGs) is urging EPA to scrap some technical standards for testing wood heaters’ emissions that they say are allowing manufacturers to certify devices that frequently fail to meet the agency’s standards for fine particulate matter air pollution.

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May 24, 2021

California lawmakers have punted until next year two bills that would have established landmark requirements for large U.S. corporations to report their entire supply-chain greenhouse gas emissions and set GHG-reduction targets, as well as to report the financial and other risks they face from climate change and its effects.

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A group of climate-focused investors with a relatively minor stake in the oil and gas giant ExxonMobil have successfully persuaded the company’s stockholders to appoint two of its favored candidates to the company’s board of directors, offering a rebuke of Exxon management’s low-carbon energy transition plans.

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EPA’s enforcement office is reinforcing the need to conserve appropriated agency funds for Superfund, reminding regional offices to uniformly take an “enforcement first” approach early in cleanups when conducting investigations, and to consult with headquarters when EPA’s payment for such work exceeds $2 million.

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Drinking water utilities are warning House Energy & Commerce Committee leaders of “significant flaws” in several of 10 related infrastructure bills that the committee will consider at a May 25 hearing, saying the plans would harm rather than help improve the nation’s drinking water and urging lawmakers to work with them to craft legislation.

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