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Daily News

September 13, 2019

BOSTON -- A top EPA waste official says the agency should be breaking down the National Priority List (NPL) of Superfund sites based on site-specific factors, such as the type of contamination involved, in order to develop better cleanup strategies, as one way to “evolve” the program based on advice from the just-concluded Superfund Task Force.

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September 12, 2019

BOSTON -- The Trump administration’s efforts to repeal and replace the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule with a narrower policy is unlikely to end the nearly 20-year debate over the scope of the act and will spur fresh litigation unless Congress steps in to clarify the limits of the law, says a former EPA water office chief.

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States and environmentalists opposed to EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule are formally urging the agency to reconsider multiple aspects of the final regulation, arguing it relied on several legal claims and other provisions that were not subject to public comment.

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Environmental and labor groups are threatening to sue EPA over how the agency is inadequately releasing information about new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), detailing concerns that they will likely urge the agency to address as it prepares to release a new framework for its new chemicals review process.

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Appellate judges struggled at recent oral argument to determine whether there is a legal remedy for a Wisconsin tribe that says EPA improperly allowed Michigan -- rather than the Army Corps of Engineers -- to issue a Clean Water Act (CWA) dredge-and-fill permit for a zinc-gold, a question that could have implications for other states if they assume such permitting.

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California regulators are citing numerous deficiencies in one of the first chemical “alternatives analysis” reports they have received from an industry group under the state’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) green chemistry program, charging that manufacturers of paint strippers that contain methylene chloride provided an “incomplete” report.

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Recently adopted amendments to California legislation that seeks to reduce plastic and other waste from single-use containers 75 percent by 2030 is softening though not eliminating industry opposition to the bill, making it more likely the measure will be approved by lawmakers before the state’s Sept. 13 legislative session deadline, sources say.

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Major companies that make and sell chlorpyrifos pesticide products are preparing a “robust” response to California’s recent cancellation of registrations allowing use of the products, a growing fight in the state that is occurring as a legal battle unfolds over the Trump EPA’s decision to continue allowing some uses of chlorpyrifos.

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California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff are seeing early indications that the San Joaquin Valley air district has reduced reliance on its controversial emission reduction credit (ERC) system and that the vast majority of pollution cuts in the past decade have come from the closure of industrial facilities and electrification projects.

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September 11, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing to announce Sept. 12 that it has finalized a rule to replace the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, a move that is already drawing opposition from environmentalists who are vowing to challenge the repeal in court.

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A federal judge appeared skeptical of environmentalists’ landmark efforts to pursue claims against EPA under both the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) when the agency denied their TSCA section 21 petition seeking rules requiring additional asbestos reporting.

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An industry-backed group pushing Congress to enact a carbon tax-and-dividend policy is adding significant new details to its proposal, including a new suggestion that it might only seek to preempt EPA’s climate regulatory authority over stationary sources while allowing the agency to retain carbon rules for mobile sources.

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East Coast states pressing EPA for tougher regulation of interstate ozone are attacking the agency’s rationale for rejecting two states’ petitions seeking strict ozone limits on upwind states’ power plants, warning the agency in recent legal filings that EPA’s existing air rules will not ensure states can attain federal ozone standards.

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Applications for oil and gas drilling permits in California may face tougher reviews under legislation passed by state lawmakers requiring for the first time that regulators prioritize public health and the environment over “maximizing” fossil fuel extraction.

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EPA’s attempt earlier this year to provide a bright-line exclusion from Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation for pollution releases to groundwater has done little to provide clarity to states, which continue to take various approaches to the issue, and legal observers say it is uncertain whether the Supreme Court will resolve the issue with a pending case.

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EPA’s attempt earlier this year to provide a bright-line exclusion from Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation for pollution releases to groundwater has done little to provide clarity to states, which continue to take various approaches to the issue, and legal observers say it is uncertain whether the Supreme Court will resolve the issue with a pending case.

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Antitrust experts say the Justice Department’s (DOJ) inquiry into whether four automakers illegally colluded to stifle competition by joining an agreement with California officials to cut their greenhouse gases appears to be a politically driven effort to intimidate industry and aid the Trump administration’s move to roll back federal rules.

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September 10, 2019

DuPont and Chemours, two of the companies significantly involved in per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) issues, are backing a series of legislative amendments requiring EPA to regulate the substances under several environmental laws, bolstering efforts by lawmakers to win passage of the legislation in a pending defense bill.

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An agreement among a coalition of power companies, energy traders and community electricity sellers to back the creation of a California state-overseen “central buyer” structure to help ensure grid reliability is sparking pushback from two of the state’s major investor-owned utilities (IOUs), putting pressure on regulators considering the matter.

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Top Trump officials appear to be settling on a strategy for its upcoming vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy rule that would not formally freeze Obama-era standards it is seeking to rollback but instead require a modest annual rate of improvement, though the precise timeline for moving the plan is still unclear.

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