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Daily News

August 31, 2020

Earthjustice is vowing to sue EPA over its final effluent limitations guidelines (ELG) for steam electric power plants, which is largely unchanged from the agency’s proposal and which environmentalists say is a major “rollback” of environmental protections established by the Obama administration.

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Trailer manufacturers in an unusual 11th-hour request are urging an appellate court slated to soon hear oral argument in their challenge of Obama-era greenhouse gas and fuel economy rules to stay the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) portion of the trailer regulation.

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A federal judge is allowing the California Chamber of Commerce’s landmark First Amendment challenge to the state’s Proposition 65 cancer warning requirement for the food chemical acrylamide to proceed, finding that the chamber’s members have standing because they face a credible enforcement threat from state officials.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to sign recently approved legislation barring firefighting foam from containing per- and polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) beginning in 2022 after easily clearing the state legislature.

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A federal appeals court is vacating the Trump administration’s effort to reduce Obama-era penalties for violating fuel economy standards, handing states and environmentalists another victory on the issue even as lawsuits over EPA and Transportation Department rollbacks of federal and state vehicle rules remain pending.

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Air quality researchers from Emory University in Georgia have found a positive association between long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and higher rates of death from COVID-19, shifting the focus from earlier studies that linked fine particulate matter (PM2.5) with worsened health outcomes from the disease.

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New Hampshire’s environment department is asking a state court to lift a ban on enforcing the state’s landmark drinking water and groundwater standards for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) following the state legislature’s passage of identical standards in July and their enactment into law.

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August 28, 2020

EPA is proposing a major relaxation of air pollution limits for small waste incinerators by creating several new “subcategories” of incinerators and excluding the smallest units from stringent regulation, part of a Clean Air Act-mandated review of its emissions rules for incinerators that leaves limits for larger units mostly unchanged.

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Backed by a group of Northeastern states, California has adopted landmark low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards for heavy-duty diesel trucks that would take effect in model year 2024, though it dropped a voluntary option for companies to meet a softer “50-state” standard and is leaving room for transit buses to be exempt or meet a less stringent limit.

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Three states and dozens of environmental groups are criticizing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) proposal to relax disposal requirements for some radioactive waste by warning it would leave the material unregulated, and say it would violate a host of federal laws including the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA).

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EPA is urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to revise a proposed interpretative radiation waste rule to add a host of safeguards and limit the types of disposal facilities that can accept the waste, responding to the NRC’s plan to effectively relax disposal requirements for “very low-level radioactive waste” (VLLW).

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EPA’s science advisors have released a damning peer review report critiquing the agency’s narrow draft asbestos risk evaluation of certain uses, calling it inadequate, deficient and urging EPA to broaden the evaluation to more uses of multiple types of asbestos before finalizing it -- rebuking EPA’s approach to the evaluation and likely delaying its completion.

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The Army Corps of Engineers is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to reverse a lower court ruling that found the Corps violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it allowed the use of a wetlands general permit for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, arguing the lower court made several errors.

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August 27, 2020

Environmentalists are urging state drinking water officials to press EPA to implement the TSCA program more aggressively than it currently is, arguing that more rigorous evaluations and rules that address the regulators’ concerns will ease the strain on drinking water programs and limit source water contamination.

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A federal appeals court has scrapped EPA’s approval of Pennsylvania’s limits on ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) power plant emissions, demanding the agency either mandate stricter “technology-forcing” controls from the state or impose such standards itself instead of simply “rubberstamping” the “status quo” of utility NOx limits.

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Environmentalists fear Hurricane Laura is already leading to a repeat of the Gulf Coast chemical spills that resulted from 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, and they say those releases show the need to reconsider the hazard posed by industrial site spills in light of more-frequent severe storms caused by climate change.

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A coalition of 16 environmental groups and two Democratic-led states are defending the Obama Interior Department’s (DOI) methane “waste” rule for oil and gas facilities on public land, while also criticizing the Trump administration’s “post hoc” legal arguments it floated when formally dropping its defense of the policy.

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California environmental officials are touting findings that the state could achieve multi-pronged benefits from processing a significant portion of organic waste at wastewater treatment plants, which could help meet waste-diversion and greenhouse gas reduction targets while providing a new power source to the facilities.

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Democrats who lead the California Legislature in the waning days of the legislative session have killed several bills authored by fellow Democrats aimed at speeding California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reviews of housing and other development projects, as well as quickening CEQA litigation procedures.

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A coalition of six environmental groups is challenging a recently finalized EPA Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 permitting rule on the grounds that the regulation violates Supreme Court precedent by unlawfully limiting the scope of states’ water quality impact reviews under section 401.

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