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Daily News

July 24, 2019

New York and 11 other states that have adopted California’s vehicle greenhouse gas standards are charging that EPA and the Transportation Department (DOT) falsely claimed they consulted with states on their proposal to preempt the states’ regulatory authority, in violation of an executive order requirement.

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In a change from past plans, EPA’s assessment of the human health risks of exposure to inorganic arsenic will contain both novel estimates for non-cancer risk endpoints recommended by science advisors as well as traditional single-point reference values sought by the agency’s program offices, perhaps complicating the long-running effort to update EPA’s 1991 assessment.

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Local citizen groups are petitioning EPA Region 4 to block the U.S. military from using thermal methods for disposing of explosives and other materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at a Tennessee Army ammunition plant, putting new pressure on the military as it seeks to dispose of items containing the chemicals.

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July 23, 2019

Key House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats are endorsing an ambitious goal achieving a 100 percent clean economy -- defined as “net zero” greenhouse gas pollution -- by 2050, pledging to launch a process to develop a comprehensive climate legislative package by the end of the year to achieve that goal.

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Hundreds of environmental and other groups are petitioning EPA to revise its effluent limits for the production of petroleum-based plastics, saying an update is necessary to comply with Clean Water Act (CWA) mandates to reflect new science and ensure new technologies and treatment methods are used to address emerging contaminants.

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Federal and local officials are stepping up calls for the Trump administration to strengthen oversight of the use and storage of hydrogen fluoride (HF) by dozens of refiners in the wake of a series of industrial incidents at several facilities across the country that have raised safety concerns for employees and adjacent communities.

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EPA is facing sharp differences among key groups about whether scientific data support the reuse of produced water outside of oil and gas drilling by easing regulatory restrictions and taking other steps, as the energy industry claims, or whether the agency should proceed with caution on any changes, as water utility groups and environmentalists insist.

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State water regulators are highlighting potential challenges facing the Trump administration’s push to encourage water recycling, urging EPA to focus on long-term coordination with state water programs in order to provide what they say are necessary tools and resources for states to continue their water reuse efforts.

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July 22, 2019

A pending suit over EPA’s denial of environmentalists’ petition seeking to require reporting of asbestos uses under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is testing plaintiffs’ ability to use remedies in both the toxics law and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to challenge such denials, potentially expanding plaintiffs’ litigation options.

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The Trump administration’s timetable for completing its rollback of vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards has slipped such that a final rule is not expected before an appellate court holds oral argument in litigation over EPA’s decision to reopen the Obama-era standards.

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Cellulosic biofuel manufacturer POET Biorefining is suing EPA over the agency’s disapproval of a proprietary fuel testing method that EPA says cannot guarantee compliance with renewable fuel standard (RFS) requirements for the qualities of cellulosic fuel, a decision that could further hinder growth in the cellulosic fuel sector.

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Former EPA officials are urging the Supreme Court to reject the Trump administration’s newly crafted position that pollution in groundwater can never be subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements, saying it contradicts existing agency policies and, if endorsed by the court, could leave pollution from “thousands” of dischargers unregulated.

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Industry and state supporters of EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule are expected to ignore a key argument they made against the Obama-era climate rule it is replacing, reaching a “gentlemen’s agreement” among themselves not to raise the issue in forthcoming litigation over the rule.

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July 19, 2019

Midwestern industry groups and states are pushing back hard against New York’s petition for EPA to regulate ozone pollution from hundreds of power plants and other facilities in upwind states, fearing it would set a precedent that could allow regulation of sources on a scale previously unseen and in sectors previously unaffected by such petitions.

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The Democratic attorneys general (AGs) of New York and New Jersey, along with New York City, are indicating their willingness to sue EPA if the agency follows through on plans to deny the Empire State’s landmark Clean Air Act section 126 petition seeking regulation of hundreds of upwind pollution sources, opening the door to a legal battle on the reach of the agency’s power.

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A federal appeals court has rejected environmentalists’ lawsuit attempting to force EPA to set first-time Superfund financial assurance rules for the hardrock mining sector after the agency declined to do so, with the court applying the Chevron deference standard to uphold EPA’s decision.

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A long-stayed constitutional challenge to California rules requiring cancer warnings for glyphosate pesticide products could be poised to proceed following federal appellate rulings on similar issues that the state was waiting on when it asked the court to delay imposing a preliminary injunction on its labeling rule in 2018.

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As large swaths of the country face a record-breaking heat wave, environmentalists are warning that unchecked climate change will cause extreme and deadly heat across the country and bring “unprecedented” health risks, underscoring their calls for deep cuts in carbon emissions as well as to take major steps to adapt to the threat.

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July 18, 2019

EPA is formally denying environmentalists’ objections to the Trump administration’s decision to overturn an Obama EPA ban on agricultural uses of the widely-used and controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos, meeting a court-ordered deadline for a final decision that clears the way for a legal challenge on the merits of the reversal.

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Academic and other researchers are questioning major assumptions in EPA’s final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule to limit power sector greenhouse gas emissions, finding that the rule is likely to have greater adverse air quality and health effects than EPA projected, largely due to emission “rebound” effects that the agency downplays.

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