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Daily News

May 28, 2021

The White House Interagency Environmental Justice Task Force will soon publish interim guidance to agency heads explaining how to target federal investments toward the Biden administration’s “Justice 40” goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal spending flow to disadvantaged communities.

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A federal district court judge is asking a Hawaii county and environmentalists to answer a series of detailed questions about how treated municipal wastewater moves from injection wells to the Pacific Ocean, highlighting the challenges for courts in trying to apply a Supreme Court test for whether a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit is necessary.

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Manufacturers of wood heaters and related devices are accusing state attorneys general (AGs) seeking tougher EPA emissions testing of the appliances of a “naked political ploy” to abandon a “consensus-based” test method in favor of a method that they say would render it “impossible” for smaller manufacturers to sell compliant products.

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The Biden Justice Department (DOJ) is urging the Supreme Court to reject a request from Montana and Wyoming to determine whether Washington violated the states’ constitutional rights when it denied a Clean Water Act (CWA) certification for a coal terminal, saying the controversy is now moot due to the coal terminal’s bankruptcy.

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May 27, 2021

An EPA toxicologist says agency scientists, industry and citizen groups have jointly developed a weight of evidence approach for applying new alternative methods (NAMs) in regulatory work that the agency has already used to justify scrapping a significant new use rule (SNUR) for inhalation risks from a polymer chemical.

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EPA is launching an effort to revise a Trump-era rule that limited the scope of states’ review under Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 of the water quality impacts from federally permitted projects, saying it plans to issue a new rule but will not return to the 1971 regulations that the Trump EPA said were outdated.

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EPA is expanding areas designated out of attainment with federal ozone standards in several states, enlarging the areas originally defined by the Trump administration to include more outlying zones that the agency now believes contribute to air quality problems -- a major victory for environmentalists who sued EPA to expand the zones.

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EPA is fighting environmentalists’ push for a federal district court to require that the agency expedite a new oil spill response regulation addressing dispersants, with EPA arguing it is already updating the existing rule and that the plaintiffs’ demands are too far-reaching.

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EPA advisors are grappling with a challenging request from the agency to provide advice on how to implement drinking water research in order to comprehensively integrate multiple types of drinking water protections, especially for small treatment and distribution systems and in environmental justice communities.

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A variety of stakeholder groups and local government officials are urging California regulators to further enhance a draft update to the state’s groundbreaking environmental justice (EJ) mapping tool, including by adding new race and climate indicators and layering in more children’s health factors, among a plethora of other suggestions.

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New California air board chief Liane Randolph appears poised for Senate confirmation after she emphasized her commitment to advancing the state’s aggressive climate change and air pollution regulatory agenda while improving board strategies to achieve environmental justice (EJ) in disadvantaged communities and racial equity in its internal operations.

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May 26, 2021

California lawmakers are delaying decisions on the details of proposed billion-dollar budget increases for climate, clean transportation and other environment-related programs for fiscal year 2021-22 in order to negotiate with Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), allowing legislators to revise the spending priorities amid new advocacy from stakeholders.

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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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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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