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Daily News

May 19, 2021

EPA expects this month to release a memo directing staff on how to consider the potential impacts of climate change in risk assessments and cleanup decisions at Superfund sites, responding to a 2019 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report it originally disagreed with under the Trump administration.

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Facing a rare preliminary finding of discrimination from EPA, Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is strongly defending its air permit for a local fuel company as complying with the agency’s nondiscrimination rules, saying it has the required processes in place and that the permit complies with the Civil Rights Act (CRA).

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Former Trump-era toxics officials are questioning EPA officials’ plan to reopen its risk evaluation of methylene chloride and potentially other chemicals the prior administration studied, saying the agency has already struggled to meet TSCA’s strict deadlines for action and lacks the resources to take on an even-more-expansive workload.

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May 18, 2021

California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) is urging state lawmakers to defer decisions on a large portion of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) revised budget increases for climate programs until later this year, saying the surplus on which the new request is based is half of what the governor claims and a delay will give them time to weigh the requests.

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Companies potentially responsible for contamination at a California Superfund site are asking the Supreme Court to reject a petition for review of a contribution case, arguing the litigation has nothing in common with another Superfund contribution case pitting Guam against the United States where a decision is pending from the high court.

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EPA is telling states that it expects to propose health-based drinking water goals, known as maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs), for the two most studied per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and submit them to its Science Advisory Board (SAB) for review sometime this year, sources say, the first in a series of steps the agency must take before it can regulate the substances.

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White House domestic climate advisor Gina McCarthy is pushing back on environmental justice (EJ) advocates’ objections to federal support for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear power, while also pledging that deployment of such projects would be safe and address pollution concerns in EJ communities.

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Drinking water utilities and dozens of environmental groups are urging EPA to look beyond the chemical manufacturing sector when collecting discharge data that could lead to Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), noting several other industrial sectors use large amounts of PFAS.

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As EPA eyes steps under TSCA to assess risks to “fenceline” communities facing a wide variety of chemical releases, the former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), says analysis of chemical mixtures, potentially a key component of that work, will be “very difficult” for regulators to achieve.

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As EPA eyes steps under TSCA to assess risks to “fenceline” communities facing a wide variety of chemical releases, the former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), says analysis of chemical mixtures, potentially a key component of that work, will be “very difficult” for regulators to achieve.

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May 17, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is proposing huge spending increases for state climate mitigation and resilience programs as part of a revised fiscal year 2021-22 budget proposal that stems from a surprise $76 billion surplus, with much of the new increase devoted to drought and wildfire risks but clean-vehicle and energy programs also winning large increases.

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EPA is backing a call from scientific groups to ensure greater diversity in membership of federal advisory panels and is urging the White House to promote partnerships similar to programs the agency has adopted for recruiting its federal workforce that actively seek minority scientists and other experts.

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EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) is asking the agency’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) for recommendations on how the agency can help expand small manufacturing facilities’ access to financing options that can be used for pollution prevention activities.

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EPA is finalizing a long-pending proposal to implement federal requirements to curb methane emissions from hundreds of existing landfills, with the move coming just weeks after an appellate court vacated the Trump administration’s rule significantly extending deadlines for states to comply with the Obama-era standards.

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Environmental lawyers say EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) should pursue criminal enforcement actions against industry focusing on environmental justice (EJ) areas as a way to send a “powerful deterrent” to companies from activity that harms such communities, in line with the Biden administration’s priority of promoting EJ.

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The Supreme Court is backing oil industry arguments on the scope of its appeals challenging a slew of federal district court rulings in climate nuisance suits filed by local and state governments, a decision that likely makes it easier for the industry to keep such suits in federal courts that they view as a favorable venue.

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The Supreme Court is backing oil industry arguments on the scope of its appeals challenging a slew of federal district court rulings in climate nuisance suits filed by local and state governments, a decision that likely makes it easier for the industry to keep such suits in federal courts that they view as a favorable venue.

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May 14, 2021

A divided federal appellate panel is ordering EPA to overhaul a suite of hazard standards that the Trump administration set in 2019 for lead paint and its dust, in a ruling that is a win for environmentalists while handing Biden officials an opportunity to strengthen the policies.

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EPA says in a new court filing that it intends to drop the Trump-era practice of making separate risk findings for each condition of use it reviewed in the TSCA evaluation of methylene chloride, and to instead craft a single “binary” determination for the chemical, with EPA seeking a remand of the evaluation to rework it under that model.

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States, chemical users and manufacturers, and environmental groups are raising varied concerns over EPA’s proposed rule to require utilities to monitor for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium, including staking opposing positions on whether the agency is correct in limiting the rule to 29 PFAS.

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