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Daily News

August 24, 2020

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is asking his environmental justice advisors for suggestions to help advance a new “community-based approach to environmental protection” that he is considering to address concerns that poor and minority communities are not adequately protected from toxic chemicals and other harmful pollution.

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August 21, 2020

A group of almost four dozen House Democrats is pressing EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to halt the agency’s moves to reopen its offices in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, escalating longstanding concerns that some rank-and-file employees have raised to their congressional representatives.

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A progressive group is outlining criteria for deciding which Trump administration environmental rollbacks to target under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) if Democrats sweep the Nov. 3 elections, while also pressing for subsequent repeal of the statute because of its longer-term threat to progressive goals.

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A special panel of EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) in a draft report finds that more information is necessary to truly evaluate the usefulness of “reduced form tool” (RFT) computer modeling of the air quality benefits from EPA’s Clean Air Act rules, in response to the agency’s request for the panel to investigate the issue.

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EPA is weighing its next steps on two major Clean Water Act (CWA) policies, issuing guidance documents with the Army Corps of Engineers to clarify their joint waters of the United States (WOTUS) jurisdiction rule, and exploring what type of guidance to issue on a landmark Supreme Court groundwater ruling, says a top agency official.

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A leading EPA researcher of air pollution health effects says more evidence is needed to verify the link between air pollution exposure and worsened COVID-19 health outcomes that various U.S. and international studies are finding, as agency leadership downplays such findings and critics dispute their accuracy.

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August 20, 2020

EPA’s science advisors are urging EPA, in some cases, unanimously, to strengthen its draft TSCA evaluation of perchloroethylene (perc or PCE), the solvent widely used in dry cleaning and for other purposes, reiterating concerns that the agency precluded general population and some environmental exposures from its draft evaluation.

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Environmental groups are urging a federal district court to block the White House’s overhaul of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing rules from taking effect nationwide as planned next month, charging that the streamlining measures are so egregious they warrant an immediate preliminary injunction.

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EPA is extending by up to four years it mandate for certain marine diesel engines to meet stricter Tier 4 emissions standards in response to pressure from fishermen and others operating small marine vessels who say that the cleaner engines are not yet available, but the agency is for now delaying a similar extension for other types of boats.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a sealed case has rejected a small refiner’s bid for anonymity in an apparent legal fight over EPA’s denial of a renewable fuel standard (RFS) economic hardship compliance waiver, forcing the unnamed refiner to either refile its litigation under its own name or drop its suit.

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Rhode Island says a recent district court ruling upholding California’s decision to link its cap-and-trade climate program with a Canadian province helps the state’s common law climate nuisance case against oil majors by highlighting that the state’s claims are not preempted by the federal foreign affairs doctrine.

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“There is clear evidence that the listing of DINP on OEHHA’s Prop. 65 was the result of a biased, unfair, and arbitrary review process,” the chemical industry group says in its petition.

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California and the U.S. Forest Service have struck an agreement to more aggressively manage forests and rangelands in the state to reduce catastrophic wildfires, while also aiming in the long term to sequester more carbon dioxide to help meet the state’s greenhouse gas emission targets and climate objectives.

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California water board officials are leading implementation of a broader CalEPA initiative to hold racial equity discussions among officials and stakeholders, in order to eventually develop a range of projects aimed at improving racial understanding and fairness in hiring, workplace practices and implementing policies and programs.

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Restaurants are renewing their claims that the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) prevents local governments from outright banning the use of fossil fuels in buildings, arguing in a new court filing that there “are no circumstances” where an outright ban on natural gas infrastructure can survive preemption under EPCA.

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August 19, 2020

Environmentalists are urging EPA in its final risk evaluation to decline use of recently submitted industry studies on the risks posed by n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), one of the first 10 chemicals EPA is evaluating, charging that considering the data after close of the comment period on the draft evaluation violates TSCA’s procedural requirements.

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As the coronavirus pandemic heads into its seventh month, environmentalists and former EPA attorneys are raising growing concerns over potential health and environmental risks from continuing use of disinfectants, including EPA approved substances, prompting renewed warnings that consumers must follow label warnings.

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California air board staff are floating a preliminary timeline and compliance options for the state’s first-time smog check program for heavy-duty diesel trucks, though they face numerous technological and cost questions and concerns from industry and continued pressure from environmentalists to get the system running as soon as possible.

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheler is touting the progress the Trump administration is making to consider environmental justice (EJ) “at the highest levels” of agency decisions, while rejecting claims he is pursuing hundreds of rule “rollbacks” and giving polluters a free pass with a COVID-19 enforcement discretion policy.

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EPA Inspector General (IG) Sean O’Donnell is launching a formal dispute resolution process with the agency for failing to swiftly inform communities living near 25 ethylene oxide (EtO) emitting facilities of the elevated health risks they face, as House and Senate Democrats separately ramp up pressure on EPA to address risks from EtO.

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