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Daily News

February 03, 2020

Plans by EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program to assess the risks of five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is highlighting long-standing divisions between state and industry groups over whether the agency should group the substances when assessing and possibly regulating them.

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January 31, 2020

The Trump administration, led by EPA, appears unlikely to convince the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD), which represents the world’s 36 richest countries, to accept limits on its pending policy regulating trade in plastic recyclables, creating uncertainty for domestic recyclers as they face a patchwork of rules within the OECD bloc.

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Oil, gas, chemical and other major industry groups are warning EPA that provisions in its proposed Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) “error correction” rule are unclear and could have unintended harmful consequences for business by hindering permitting, including by making some NSR rules “inconsistent” with the air law.

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Environmentalists and many experts are flagging measures in the White House’s sweeping plan to revise National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rules that appear intentionally designed to chill the public’s ability to influence projects, including a first-time mandate for plaintiffs to post bonds when agencies grant requests for administrative stays.

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Horst Greczmiel, a former White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) career official who oversaw its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) program for 16 years, is expressing deep concern about many aspects of the Trump administration’s proposal to dramatically overhaul NEPA implementing rules.

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EPA is facing a deep divide between industry and environmentalists on whether the agency should assess risks of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals even though all sides agree that the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) does not require the agency to do so because it seeks quick regulation of the substances.

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January 30, 2020

EPA is pressing to propose, potentially as soon as next month, sweeping changes to benefit-cost analysis (BCA) under its Clean Air Act programs, including limiting the use of co-benefits to justify rules and a possible prohibition on issuing rules with more monetized costs than benefits.

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A bipartisan pair of House lawmakers is touting the outlines of upcoming legislation that would create a power sector clean energy standard (CES) to reduce carbon emissions, with compliance deferred for as long as 10 years while EPA’s climate regulations would also be preempted, though not state measures.

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EPA in its final approval of Massachusetts’ plan for curbing interstate transport of ozone emissions underscores the agency’s attempt to downplay a key federal appeals court ruling that faulted the agency’s cross-border air pollution policy, with EPA approving the plan using an emissions modeling method that the court has rejected.

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The auto sector, backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is urging Ohio’s Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling authorizing the state to impose air law penalties on Volkswagen (VW) for “tampering” with vehicle emission controls, saying it undermines EPA’s federal air law enforcement power and creates regulatory confusion.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is elaborating on his vision for expanding green energy, electrifying the transportation sector, reforming the troubled utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), and preventing wildfires, as he embarks on his second full year as governor after replacing Jerry Brown (D).

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California air board officials are expressing some doubts and skepticism over the state’s landmark plan to set greenhouse gas limits and other rules for transportation network companies (TNCs) operating ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber, concerning how the board and energy regulators will work together to develop and enforce the rules.

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January 29, 2020

The White House is asking for input on potential rules to strengthen “due process” in civil enforcement that could put severe new limits on EPA and other agencies’ ability to impose fines, remediation targets and other penalties for legal violations that fall below the level of criminal acts, offering a potential hint of the administration’s second-term agenda.

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A California appellate court has scheduled oral arguments next month for the chemical industry’s challenge to the state's listing of the widely used plasticizer chemical diisononyl phthalate (DINP) as a carcinogen under the Proposition 65 product warning law, in a case that has been pending in the court for more than three years.

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California lawmakers and regulators are considering new policies to limit electricity costs for charging electric vehicles (EVs), amid concerns that the state’s rising power prices and the effect of new “time-of-use” (TOU) rates could hurt consumer interest in buying EVs.

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California’s local air quality districts and environmental justice (EJ) groups are attacking Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) proposed funding cuts in fiscal year 2020-21 for local agencies to carry out landmark requirements for heavily polluted regions to implement sweeping air monitoring and mitigation.

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Democratic leaders in the House are floating the outlines of a massive proposal to fund transportation, energy and water infrastructure, arguing that multiple elements of the plan will advance efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in addition to tackling conventional environmental problems.

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EPA staff is reiterating a call for the agency to tighten its annual health-based fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air standard from the current limit of 12 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) down to as low as 8 ug/m3, rejecting criticism from the majority of a divided advisory panel that said PM2.5 data does not justify the recommendation.

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Senators are warning that the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) risks losing its quorum when one of its two current member’s terms expires next week and are calling for the Senate to quickly vote on a pending Trump administration nominee, though the vote appears to have stalled amid partisan wrangling.

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EPA is defending its commitment to ensure the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay under a total maximum daily load (TMDL), saying doubts of the agency’s position are based on a “mischaracterization” of an agency official’s remarks and suggesting that Maryland, one of the biggest state critics of its actions, is failing to meet its own commitments.

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