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Daily News

November 10, 2020

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), who is running to lead Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee next year, says he intends to eventually chair the powerful committee, arguing issues under its jurisdiction such as hydraulic fracturing and restoring the economy will be central for the GOP regaining control of the chamber in 2022.

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President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team for EPA includes numerous officials from the Obama administration, including team lead Patrice Simms, an attorney with Earthjustice who previously served at EPA and the Justice Department (DOJ) where he played a role seeking to address environmental justice issues, a top priority for Biden.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has halted the use of a Clean Water Act (CWA) general permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in West Virginia and Virginia pending a challenge to permit, raising questions about whether the pipeline can meet its goal of going into service in 2021.

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Senate appropriators are floating draft fiscal year 2021 spending legislation that would give EPA essentially flat funding of $9.085 billion, setting up potential negotiations with House lawmakers ahead of next month’s expiration of spending authority for multiple federal agencies.

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EPA enforcement chief Susan Bodine is warning the incoming Biden administration against “overreach” on climate change or enforcement more generally, predicting that federal courts and voters will punish any attempt to “radically change the direction of EPA” such as forcing a transition from gas-powered vehicles to electric cars.

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Environmentalists say California air board officials must sharply limit credits that automakers can earn to comply with the state’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales mandate, based on new data showing larger companies possess hundreds of thousands of banked credits that significantly reduce the number of ZEVs they have to sell.

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The California attorney general and state air board are citing the importance of environmental justice (EJ) and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates in seeking to join a local air district’s lawsuit challenging a Port of Los Angeles terminal project and environmental review, underscoring state officials’ increased focus on these issues.

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EPA has quietly released a long-sought handbook detailing standard operating procedures for research office staff developing Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) chemical hazard assessments, a program the Trump EPA has sought to sideline while boosting the nascent TSCA chemical evaluation program within EPA’s toxics office.

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The incoming Biden administration should embrace a target of cutting greenhouse gases 45 to 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 when it rejoins the Paris Agreement on climate change next year, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI), which adds that such a goal is achievable even with a divided Congress.

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November 09, 2020

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is urging the incoming Biden administration and Congress to work on bipartisan proposals in a push the group says defies conventional wisdom that major legislation cannot get passed next year, citing a Senate plan for highway upgrades and climate resiliency investments as an example for renewed collaboration.

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States are telling EPA that “systemic change” is necessary to fix the overburdened U.S. recycling system, saying the agency should encourage substantial changes to the system in its national recycling strategy and goals.

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Major industry groups from the chemical, recycling and waste sectors, among others, are weighing in on EPA’s proposal to create national recycling goals for improving the country’s recycling system, signaling their preferences for metrics the agency should set to assess recycling performance, contamination rates and to boost markets.

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President-elect Joe Biden’s administration is widely expected to quickly pursue a sweeping climate-focused agenda, according to multiple experts, including new regulations that may be more durable than Obama-era measures, while also taking major “Day One” steps on climate via executive actions.

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Investments and incentives to address climate change are the most plausible near-term legislative agenda items for the incoming Biden administration, multiple observers say, though environmentalists and others will continue to press for mandatory policies, including carbon pricing, to reduce greenhouse gases.

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November 07, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump with at least 273 electoral college votes, but doubts linger on how successfully the president-elect can implement his sweeping environmental and climate agenda once inaugurated given expectations that the GOP will retain control of the Senate.

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President-elect Biden’s ability to successfully implement his sweeping environmental and climate agenda remains clouded in uncertainty in light of the GOP’s likely continued control of the Senate.

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November 06, 2020

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is in line to take over the chairmanship of the Senate environment committee next year as Republicans appear likely to retain control of the upper chamber, quashing any chance of comprehensive climate change legislation or significant reforms to major environmental statutes, sources say.

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is promising help for refiners with “out of control” renewable fuel standard (RFS) compliance costs, but warning refiners and their biofuels-producing rivals that they both face a common enemy with the expanded use of electric vehicles (EVs) -- a policy a potential Biden administration might pursue.

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is outlining several top priorities he wants to implement at the agency including launching or finalizing key policies before the end of President Donald Trump’s current term, but the goals might instead guide a lame duck agenda if Joe Biden wins the presidential election.

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Wetlands mitigation bankers and a former Florida state environment chief are raising concerns to EPA about the state’s proposal to assume Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404 permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers, with the bankers urging greater parity between state and federal mitigation requirements and the former state official opposing assumption.

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