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Daily News

June 03, 2019

Environmental groups are petitioning EPA under the Information Quality Act (IQA) to boost pressure on the agency to release its model that could undercut Trump administration claims that Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas rules are too costly, a bid that may bolster legal arguments against the administration’s rollback of the standards.

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Biofuels producers are welcoming EPA’s waiver allowing year-round sales of 15-percent ethanol (E15) but they face major risks from the decision if the waiver fails to deliver large boosts in ethanol sales, is struck down by a court, or is undermined by EPA’s exemption of refiners from renewable fuel standard (RFS) obligations.

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is poised to hear high-profile oral argument on whether to accept the Trump administration’s request to dismiss a novel climate change lawsuit brought by 21 youth plaintiffs before a lower court has completed its review.

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May 31, 2019

EPA’s just-issued waiver allowing year-round sales of 15-percent ethanol (E15) drops earlier plans for a major overhaul of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) credit market, a significant loss for refiners that could undermine the Trump administration’s claim of a “win-win” policy for both biofuels producers and merchant refiners.

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Biofuels supporters are praising EPA’s final waiver released May 31 that clears the path for summertime sales of previously prohibited 15-percent ethanol fuel (E15) beginning June 1, but the agency is putting on hold proposed major changes to the renewable fuel standard (RFS) credit trading market that it had planned to issue alongside the waiver.

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Maine lawmakers are advancing a bill that creates a new sustenance fishing designated use and directs regulators to develop strict new water quality standards (WQS) to protect those uses, an effort aimed at ending a long-running dispute with EPA over how to protect water quality to ensure Native Americans are able to safely consume traditionally large amounts of fish.

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A federal appellate court has soundly rejected Sierra Club’s suit over what the judges described says are “tweaks” to EPA air monitoring policy, dismissing one argument as time-barred, another for lack of legal standing, and denying a third claim outright because the group failed to adequately justify it.

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A federal appellate court has soundly rejected Sierra Club’s suit over what the judges described says are “tweaks” to EPA air monitoring policy, dismissing one argument as time-barred, another for lack of legal standing, and denying a third claim outright because the group failed to adequately justify it.

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A long-awaited EPA risk analysis has found that cancer risks from emissions of ethylene oxide (EtO) from a now-shuttered sterilization plant in a Chicago suburb could be lowered if further controls are installed at the facility, findings that suggest upcoming agency air toxics rules governing EtO emissions could seek to strengthen current requirements.

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EPA’s final rule authorizing summertime sales of 15 percent ethanol fuel (E15) to help meet renewable fuel standard goals projects very little increase in use of the fuel -- despite the insistence of EPA air chief Bill Wehrum that it will increase E15 sales significantly and mark a big “win” for ethanol producers.

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May 30, 2019

The White House regulatory officials are hosting a series of meetings for outside groups to make one last pitch for changes they would like to see in EPA’s forthcoming final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule to limit coal power plants’ greenhouse gases, suggesting the final rule could be signed by the end of June as EPA has planned.

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A federal appellate court is teeing up a potentially precedential lower court ruling on whether the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) can be held liable under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for contributing to the disposal of solid waste through spent lead ammunition used by hunters in a national forest in Arizona.

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A chemical industry trade association is suing EPA over its first-time Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) ban on consumer uses of paint-strippers containing methylene chloride, charging the measure goes too far by unintentionally limiting access to some commercial uses even though it does not intend to.

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EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) says that at the halfway point of fiscal year 2019 it has more than tripled its target for annual “return on investment” by producing $295 million in cost savings, monetary benefits and additional fines for the agency, but achieved no environmental improvements or regulatory changes in the same period.

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Reversing a key finding in a tentative ruling, a California superior court judge has determined that a trucking company has standing to bring suit over the state air board’s greenhouse gas standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and trailers, though the court still finds that the company’s claims of financial hardship are unripe.

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California’s Senate is advancing a controversial bill that would require the state air board and other agencies to implement a first-time inspection and maintenance (I/M) smog check program for heavy-duty diesel vehicles, including provisions targeting trucks that are registered out of state but regularly travel through California.

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A California trucking company that has successfully sued the state air board over its environmental reviews of emission standards is now objecting to the board’s new changes to implementing regulations for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

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California Assembly lawmakers are prioritizing low-carbon transportation projects and funding for a program to reduce conventional pollution in disadvantaged areas, in their proposed fiscal year 2019-20 spending plan for $1.4 billion generated by the state’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program.

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Environmentalists and farmers are attacking claims by California’s Kern County that its broad ordinance allowing oil and gas drilling also includes sufficient measures to protect the environment, with the groups charging that numerous parts of the plan violate the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has named Christina Morkner Brown, a former top lawyer with the state air board and the attorney general’s office, as the new CalEPA deputy secretary for law enforcement and general counsel.

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