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Daily News

June 18, 2020

Environmentalists are renewing their calls for EPA to release the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program’s latest draft assessment of formaldehyde’s risks in advance of its upcoming evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), warning that to do otherwise would “legally compromise” the pending analysis.

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EPA is weighing 52 requests from small refiners for unprecedented “gap year” waivers of renewable fuel standard (RFS) blending mandates for prior compliance years that biofuel makers warn are unlawful, but the agency is also planning a supplemental proposal to hike years-old ethanol production mandates alongside the waivers.

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The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is continuing a study of fuel-saving and electrification technologies and trends that could inform the next round of light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards, despite the Trump administration’s deregulatory push that gutted Obama-era requirements.

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In an expected move, EPA has issued a final decision that federal regulation of perchlorate in drinking water is unnecessary because water systems have sufficiently lowered the chemical’s occurrence in the water supply, potentially setting a precedent for making a similar argument against regulation of two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

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A group of Republican-led states is supporting the Justice Department’s (DOJ) request for the Supreme Court to stay a landmark ruling that vacated the federal permit for constructing new oil and gas pipelines, arguing the permit threatens the nation’s power supply because vital energy infrastructure projects will cost more and take more time to build.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state lawmakers have reached a behind-the-scenes compromise to scale back a planned substantial budget and staffing increase for the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency, sources say, which may slow Newsom’s efforts to bolster public health and environmental protections tied to oil and gas production.

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A leading Democratic California state senator is floating legislation to exempt from the state’s umbrella environmental protection review law transit and “climate-friendly” road projects, but environmental and equity groups argue the bill is far too broad and likely will boost pollution in disadvantaged communities.

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EPA is poised to move nearly three thousand chemicals from the confidential to the public portion of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) inventory, preventing manufacturers from being able to assert confidential business information (CBI) claims for these substances in the next round of quadrennial reporting that began this month.

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June 17, 2020

EPA is proposing to strengthen its dust-lead clearance levels following abatement of lead-based paint under its toxics rules, matching the final hazard standards it set last June for cleanup of lead-dust during renovation and repair in residential settings -- even as environmentalists are challenging EPA for failing to lower the two standards in concert.

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Senators from both parties appear open to new federal action that would bolster recycling programs to combat a growing plastic-waste crisis, but what that action would look like remains unclear as neither side is embracing a Democratic bill to enforce “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) mandates for manufacturers.

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EPA for the first time is detailing to a court its legal arguments for repealing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) utility greenhouse gas rule and replacing it with the much narrower Affordable Clean Energy (ACE), charging that the CPP was unlawfully broad while ACE is the only way to “lawfully regulate” power plant climate emissions.

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EPA intends to for the first time add a new chemical, n-propyl bromide, also known as 1-bromopropane (1-BP), to the list of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) regulated under the Clean Air Act, triggering likely tougher emissions rules for the dry cleaning sector and others that make and use the substance.

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Two new federal appeals court rulings could undermine EPA’s attempt to rely on general statutory authority for two high-profile deregulatory proposals that would codify new requirements for cost-benefit analysis of air rules and restrict the use of science studies where data is not publicly available, according to some legal experts.

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EPA’s toxics chief Alex Dunn says the upcoming fees the chemical sector is poised to pay are “absolutely critical” to the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) program and the agency is expecting to include $20 million in fees in the program’s budgets, suggesting officials will deny an industry request to delay the fees’ payment.

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House Democrats are pledging to hold a floor vote this month on their long-planned infrastructure legislation including over $34 billion in clean energy investments, a move that might be responding to increasing outcry by the renewable energy industry that economic relief for the sector has been omitted from COVID-19 stimulus bills.

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In a win for environmental groups, a California state appellate court has upheld a lower court ruling that San Diego County’s climate action plan (CAP) and greenhouse gas offset measure violate the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) because they do not adequately justify their reliance on out-of-county carbon offset projects.

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Two Republican senators have come out in opposition to Nancy Beck, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over her role as an EPA toxics official addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), signaling the nomination may be in trouble if and when it gets to the Senate floor.

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The federal judge overseeing the landmark trial on whether fluoride is eligible for regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) may have punted any decision until after EPA reviews a new petition from the plaintiffs but Judge Edward Chen provided few clues on how he planned to eventually rule.

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June 16, 2020

EPA is refuting environmentalists’ charges that its lead dust hazard rule violates the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and is insufficiently stringent, arguing in a new legal filing that the rule complies with the law, which does not require the agency to eliminate all adverse human health risk associated with lead dust.

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A group of Democratic-led states is urging a federal district court to apply nationwide a potential stay of the Trump administration’s waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but the Justice Department (DOJ) and a group of Republican-led states argue any remedy should be narrowly tailored in scope.

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