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Daily News

November 07, 2019

A chemical industry group has told California regulators that while it has found one “possible” safer alternative to methylene chloride in paint and varnish stripping products, it is not clear whether the alternative is safe enough to win state approval, highlighting the difficulty state and federal officials face as they seek to phase out such products.

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Widespread utility power shutoffs to help prevent catastrophic wildfires in California are raising new questions about the state’s broader move to phase out most natural gas use in homes and buildings in favor of electricity, given that some gas appliances -- such as stoves, fireplaces and water heaters -- can still work during power outages.

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Results of three years of NASA-led aerial methane emission surveys in California are finding a relatively small number of landfills to be emitting the most point-source quantities of the potent greenhouse gas, followed by a specific set of manure management and oil and gas operations.

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November 06, 2019

California environmental justice (EJ) groups are challenging EPA’s proposed renewal and modification of a permit governing storage and disposal of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) waste at the state’s Kettleman Hills hazardous waste facility, charging in part that the agency’s impact review is deficient.

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued an alert warning that biodiesel additives are failing to mitigate nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions to limits required under the board’s Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulation and that it will pursue amendments to tighten the measure.

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Industry groups are submitting lengthy scientific arguments against the potential listing of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, as a carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65 toxic warning law, claiming “weight of evidence” assessments and prior research by highly regarded health organizations show the product is not carcinogenic.

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EPA is proposing rule changes that would limit the role of the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), its administrative permit review body, likely complicating citizen groups’ efforts to challenge permits, while providing a new way for the agency’s general counsel and administrator to weigh in on legal disputes.

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit at Nov. 6 oral argument wrestled with how much deference to give EPA for its findings stemming from its attainment designations for the 2015 ozone air standard and what remedy the court could provide if it invalidated any of the designations.

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At least two judges on a federal appeals court panel appeared skeptical of environmentalists’ arguments that Interior Department officials violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by not adequately assessing climate change impacts of the nation’s first offshore drilling project in federal Arctic waters.

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Supreme Court justices at oral argument Nov. 6 over whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) applies to pollutants that travel through groundwater to surface water appeared to be searching for a compromise that would acknowledge discharge permits may be required in some cases but would limit those circumstances.

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A federal appeals court is signaling that imminent oral argument in a precedent-setting suit challenging EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) listing of a vapor intrusion site will focus on the industry petitioner’s standing -- an issue that previously has been given little attention and one that raises doubts about the petitioner’s prospects.

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John Walke, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) clean air program, is warning that Senate legislation to amend the Clean Air Act’s new source review (NSR) program is designed to “give cover” to EPA’s plan to roll back the permitting program and make it easier for facilities to increase pollution.

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November 05, 2019

Climate policy experts are touting states’ ramped-up action on climate as a way to partially counter the Trump administration’s looming withdrawing from the Paris climate deal, though they acknowledge it is a second-best stand in for federal climate policies including rules EPA and other agencies are rolling back.

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A government watchdog group is weighing a lawsuit against EPA after the agency denied its petition seeking to ban the refinery chemical hydrofluoric acid (HF) under its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and Clean Air Act authorities, with the agency saying the group failed to provide sufficient facts to support a ban.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is tapping former Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy as its next president, adding a high-profile new leader as it and other environmental groups battle the Trump administration’s rollbacks of Obama-era climate and environmental policies at EPA and other agencies.

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EPA is asking a federal district court judge to stay the Nov. 6 deadline he just re-imposed for the agency to issue a federal plan implementing Obama-era rules for landfills to cut the potent greenhouse gas methane, after the judge rejected the agency’s request to amend the order setting that deadline in the first place.

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A federal district court judge has stayed what had been a looming Nov. 6 deadline for EPA to issue a federal plan implementing Obama-era rules for landfills to cut the potent greenhouse gas methane, even though the judge rejected the agency’s request to amend the May order setting that deadline in the first place.

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EPA critics are casting newly unveiled revisions to water and waste rules for coal-fired power plants as part of a broad agenda to prioritize the coal industry over protecting human health and the environment, arguing that the agency is fast-tracking deregulatory policies for the sectors despite court orders to strengthen other elements of the regulations.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is poised to hear oral argument Nov. 6 in litigation challenging EPA’s designations of whether several areas across the United States are attaining or violating the 2015 ozone air standards, posing a fresh legal test of the agency’s discretion in issuing the findings.

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November 04, 2019

As President Donald Trump is kick-starting the year-long process to remove the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which is slated to take effect one day after the November 2020 elections, environmentalists are increasingly looking to the next administration to re-engage on international climate matters.

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