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Daily News

January 16, 2019

Groups representing major industries are defending EPA's move to scrap a long-running “once in, always in” policy forcing facilities to retain air toxics controls permanently even if the plants reduce emissions to below regulated levels, arguing in new legal briefs nothing in the Clean Air Act requires toxic emissions controls to be retained forever.

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January 15, 2019

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is expected to face tough questions from Senate Democrats on the agency's regulatory rollback agenda at his Jan. 16 confirmation hearing to head EPA permanently, with the senators aiming to elevate public scrutiny of the deregualtory effort even as they lack the votes to block Wheeler.

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A new peer-reviewed study of the greenhouse gas and other emission effects of EPA's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) proposal finds the policy would have the perverse outcome of boosting GHGs in 19 states by causing almost one-third of existing coal plants to run more often.

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A new peer-reviewed study of the greenhouse gas and other emission effects of EPA's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) proposal finds the policy would have the perverse outcome of boosting GHGs in 18 states and the District of Columbia by causing almost one-third of existing coal plants to run more often.

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As Congress gears up to craft infrastructure funding legislation, dozens of industry, state, water and environmental groups are urging lawmakers to ensure that any bill funds a range of water and wastewater projects along with the transportation infrastructure it is widely expected to fund.

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A bipartisan group of House lawmakers from Michigan is intensifying its push for EPA to list all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as “hazardous substances” under the Superfund law, a step that would give the agency authority to compel cleanups, weeks after EPA agreed to list two of the most common PFAS substances.

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Environmentalists are petitioning officials in Michigan -- a state with extensive contamination from perfluorinated compounds -- to adopt technology-based drinking water standards for the entire class of chemicals, expanding on a campaign that has so-far focused on Northeast states.

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January 14, 2019

Environmentalists are suing EPA over its failure to ban paint-stripping uses of methylene chloride after finding that it does not meet the Toxic Substances Control Act's (TSCA) risk standard, marking one of the first legal tests of the agency's responsibilities to regulate toxic substances under the law since Congress revised it in 2016.

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EPA, backed by industry groups and Texas, is fighting environmentalists' lawsuit that claims the agency has raised the bar for challenging Clean Air Act Title V permits by finding that objections to the permits cannot target other permits, defending its policy in an appellate court case similar to at least two other pending lawsuits.

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A federal appellate court has upheld Virginia's Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 certification approving a federally permitted natural gas pipeline and emphasized states' “broad discretion when developing the criteria” for such certifications, a ruling that could undermine efforts by GOP policymakers to limit states' discretion.

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Observers are increasingly expecting that any deal on changes to vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards is unlikely before the Trump administration finalizes an aggressive rollback of the rules, suggesting debate over the issue will only get more acrimonious -- not less -- in the coming months.

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January 11, 2019

Environmentalists are pushing back against EPA's efforts to stay all regulatory challenges and other litigation where the agency is a party until the government shutdown ends, arguing officials including Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys have authority to keep working on any case where a judge orders proceedings to continue.

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EPA is considering easing limits on municipal solid waste landfills to allow for the addition of liquids to so-called wet and bioreactor landfills as a way of speeding waste degradation, but the agency is grappling with how to deal with increases in the emissions rate of methane, the potent greenhouse gas, and other landfill gases that would also result.

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Senate Democrats are blasting EPA's use of staffing resources during the government shutdown to prepare for acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler's imminent Senate confirmation hearing, charging that the move could be unlawful and conflicts with the agency's formal shutdown contingency plan.

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January 10, 2019

The Obama administration's landmark series of settlements with Volkswagen (VW) for its emissions cheating scandal appears to provides the template for a much smaller deal the Trump administration struck with Fiat Chrysler, though officials appeared to narrow a mitigation requirement to comply with new policy.

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Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the agency's pending fiscal year 2018 enforcement results include 800 million pounds of pollution and waste reduced, which he says is a major increase over FY17, despite environmentalists' fears that the agency's overall enforcement efforts have plummeted since the Obama administration.

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EPA's ongoing shutdown is starting to hinder the agency's ability to process industry permit applications, engine certifications, and key programs that companies support such as the Energy Star efficiency labeling initiative, according to industry representatives who say the problems will grow if the shutdown persists for several weeks.

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Environmentalists say EPA's impending policy “action” on whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) applies to pollution traveling through groundwater to surface waters is justification for the Supreme Court to reject two pending cases on the question, saying the action could create a new “regulatory landscape” midway through complex litigation.

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January 09, 2019

The California water board has released a final draft definition for “wetlands” and other state waters subject to regulation, a measure that observers say will effectively block the Trump administration's proposed rule to narrow the scope of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) in California.

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is pushing legislation to tighten the state's requirements for power plants that are closing down coal ash disposal sites in order to comply with EPA's rules for the waste, serving as a potential model for other states where environmentalists are calling for more-stringent disposal mandates than the federal rules.

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