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Daily News

September 23, 2019

Top Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are linking the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust investigation into four automakers who signed California’s voluntary agreement to cut greenhouse gases to their broader investigation of alleged corruption and “abuses of power” by President Donald Trump.

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EPA’s proposal to scale back state authority under Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 to review whether federally permitted projects will harm state water quality standards is likely to prompt “lots of litigation” from states and environmentalists, if finalized, that could last for years, according to a former EPA attorney and other lawyers.

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A fight between Colorado and the local oil and gas industry over ozone air regulation in the state could serve as an early test of the Trump EPA’s policy that makes it easier for states to avoid being penalized for being out of attainment with federal ambient air standards by accounting for air pollution from overseas in attainment findings.

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September 20, 2019

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will decide states and environmentalists’ case against EPA’s “close-out” of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading program without hearing oral argument, in what may be a bad omen for EPA’s chances of successfully defending the rule.

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President Donald Trump and his aides are aggressively casting his administration’s rule to scrap state vehicle emissions standards not just as deregulation but also as part of a broader political war with California -- and rich elites -- in an apparent effort to retain or broaden support ahead of the 2020 election.

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Progressive academics are urging Democratic presidential candidates to back calls to add more seats to the Supreme Court, charging that even if they win the 2020 election and are able to usher in sweeping climate change legislation, the current justices are “poised to strike down key aspects of any conceivable” climate law.

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A coalition of 23 states and the District of Columbia is challenging the Trump administration’s final rule preempting California’s vehicle greenhouse gas standards, filing suit in district court even before the policy has been officially published in the Federal Register.

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BOSTON -- The Trump administration’s bid to scrap the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule and replace it with a narrower policy could revive a “patchwork” of competing CWA standards it was designed to end, says a law professor, because the repeal will be litigated and likely blocked in some states, reinstating the 2015 rule there.

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Rejecting Trump administration efforts to eliminate EPA regional program, the House transportation committee in a strong bipartisan vote has approved several bills to create new or reauthorize existing programs focused on regional waterbodies, seeking to provide Puget Sound and the San Francisco Bay with focused attention like the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes.

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September 19, 2019

EPA and the Transportation Department (DOT) are defending the legal basis for their just-issued rule revoking California’s power to set its own vehicle greenhouse gas limits, asserting the state is preempted by fuel economy law and lacks “compelling and extraordinary” conditions needed to receive such authority under the Clean Air Act.

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told the House science committee Sept. 19 that the agency’s schedule for issuing its controversial rule barring regulators from relying on scientific research that is not published has slipped as the agency is preparing to issue a supplemental proposal in early 2020.

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A bipartisan group of 15 governors is pressing leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees to back measures in pending defense authorization legislation that would require EPA and the Defense Department (DOD) to set policies to regulate the chemicals, curb releases and clean up contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

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California Air Resources Board (CARB) officials say they will continue to enforce the state’s strict vehicle greenhouse gas standards during litigation over the Trump administration’s just-issued revocation of the state’s Clean Air Act preemption waiver allowing it to set its own requirements.

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Environmental and ratepayer groups are raising fears about the potential pollution and climate impacts of California energy regulators’ grid-reliability plan to allow several natural gas-fired power plants that use once-through-cooling (OTC) systems to operate for three years longer than the current 2020 retirement deadline for such plants.

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EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have released the text of their final regulation revoking California’s authority to enforce auto greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards, with administration officials arguing the step is necessary to preserve a single set of national requirements.

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A top official with California’s South Coast air district is making a late-hour push against the Trump administration’s draft final rollback of vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards, arguing the rule would bring a host of negative air quality, transportation funding and consumer cost impacts.

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San Jose has become the latest California city to ban natural gas hookups in new housing construction, in favor of electricity, marking a major milestone in the state’s efforts to phase out gas from buildings to help lower greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

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September 18, 2019

EPA is currently unable to finalize its pending rule revising the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA) as it is grappling with major legal, scientific and policy questions raised by stakeholders, including the standard to use for defining the law’s reach over sources that contribute to waters in a “typical year,” water chief David Ross told House lawmakers at a Sept. 18 oversight hearing.

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California and its allies are floating multiple legal and political attacks against EPA and the Transportation Department’s (DOT) imminent final rule to preempt the state’s authority to regulate vehicle greenhouse gases, a policy that threatens to spark a furious court battle and major uncertainty over emission rules.

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The auto sector sought to strike a careful balance in responding to news that the Trump administration is poised to repeal California’s unique waiver of federal preemption for vehicle greenhouse gas rules, a move that even some of their supporters say will create significant legal uncertainty.

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