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Daily News

July 10, 2019

EPA is formally opposing plans by a group of the world’s wealthiest countries from adopting limits on trade in plastic recyclables that were recently approved by the global body governing the waste trade, an effort that could blunt the impact of any global limits at a time that domestic recyclers are struggling to find markets for the material.

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and EPA appear to be on a similar schedule for proposing new rules governing low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) limits for heavy-duty trucks though the two agencies are at odds over when to finalize any new rules and how stringently -- and quickly -- to implement them, creating uncertainty for the industry.

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The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is asking an appeals court to allow it to replace the now-defunct Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) in litigation over EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule (CSAPR), drawing opposition from Democratic-led states involved in the case.

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July 09, 2019

Democratic senators are attempting to leverage the Senate’s upcoming floor vote on EPA waste chief nominee Peter Wright to require EPA to designate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Superfund law -- a measure that would allow the agency to hold responsible parties, including the Defense Department (DOD), liable for PFAS releases.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated its joint advice with EPA on fish consumption for women of childbearing age and to parents for feeding children fish, and is seeking comments on how best to educate the public about the changes, even as EPA prepares to update its analysis of methylmercury’s risks to human health, which forms the basis for the advice.

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The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups, has unveiled an ambitious climate change platform that includes more details than what was included in Democrats’ Green New Deal (GND), though the measure continues to divide coal-sector and other groups over who aggressively to limit emissions

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EPA’s proposed 2020 renewable fuel standard (RFS) raises tough questions for the agency to address in expected litigation once it issues the final version of the program’s fuel production goals for next year, including the legality of its approach to setting fuel blending volumes that fall short of targets established by statute.

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In a case being watched across the country, EPA and environmentalists are outlining competing approaches and timelines to remedy a judge’s finding that EPA improperly approved Montana's plan to allow dischargers 17 years to meet a controversial variance to stringent nutrient standards.

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July 08, 2019

In a preview of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump and his top aides are trying to blunt his vulnerability on the environment, highlighting improvements that began mostly prior to his tenure, reframing deregulatory initiatives as reducing pollution, touting various lands policies and defending rollbacks as consistent with economic growth.

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EPA’s toxics chief told career staff the agency will be heading into a “challenging” and “complicated” transition period as it implements a controversial new contract the agency has unilaterally imposed on 9,000 employees who are represented by American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), according to agency sources.

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Two major public health groups have wasted little time suing over EPA’s final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, the Trump administration’s limited approach to controlling power plant greenhouse gas emissions, the same day the rule was formally promulgated and the first day of a 60-day period petitioners have to sue.

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A top Energy Department (DOE) official is reiterating potentially precedent-setting arguments that DOE’s Atomic Energy Act (AEA) authorities should effectively supersede EPA authorities under the Superfund law in the cleanup of the department’s Oak Ridge Reservation, TN.

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Three years after Congress reformed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), handing EPA a host of new authorities to regulate industrial chemicals, agency staff are struggling to meet the law’s deadlines, many rules face litigation, and states and retailers continue to lack confidence that the new regime will provide the certainty they are seeking.

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July 05, 2019

Environmentalists and other critics of the Trump administration are questioning EPA’s cost-benefit analysis for its Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant climate rule, charging that the agency’s official projections of modest benefits could be inflated and that the rule might even result in higher carbon emissions.

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EPA is projecting only “small” cuts in greenhouse gases from its final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule governing existing power plants, with the regulation potentially shaving just a fraction of 1 percent of the emissions from the country’s second-largest source of GHGs.

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EPA’s just-released proposal for 2020 renewable fuel standard (RFS) targets includes slight increases for several categories of alternative and renewable fuel production compared to its 2019 requirements, but the goals still fall far short of statutory targets and the potential for new compliance waivers could undermine the proposal.

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Democratic House lawmakers from New Hampshire have introduced legislation to require EPA to develop Clean Water Act (CWA) effluent limits for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) by 2022, drawing praise from environmentalists but raising questions about the agency’s ability to meet the deadline given a current lack of data.

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July 03, 2019

Over industry objections, EPA is dropping biomass co-firing as a compliance option in its final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule that seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, saying the decision is required under its interpretation of the Clean Air Act despite the agency’s policy of promoting biomass as carbon neutral.

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Environmentalists and former EPA air officials are sparring with Texas and industry groups over the future of the agency’s policy on Clean Air Act regulatory exemptions for emissions during facility startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM), as the Trump administration seeks to reauthorize the exemptions for states on a piecemeal basis.

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California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) has made a series of amendments easing her controversial bill that would lock into state law Obama-era environmental and worker safety rules, but the changes are failing to fully address industry and water agency opposition, setting up the potential for more talks and further changes.

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