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Daily News

October 26, 2020

EPA is beginning a lengthy consideration of whether to update an interconnected set of drinking water treatment rules aimed at reducing microbial pathogens and harmful disinfection byproducts, but the issues involved are so complex that environmentalists are urging the agency to consider a negotiated rulemaking or seek advice from a panel of experts.

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EPA is looking for ways to reduce the formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) during the drinking water treatment process as it weighs updates to a set of interconnected set of drinking water treatment rules, noting an increasing body of evidence that DBPs are carcinogenic and the fact that DBP rules are among the most violated.

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As EPA and other top federal officials are touting the Trump administration’s broad efforts to study per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), EPA’s top research official is asking the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to help the agencies determine if they need to “course correct” and whether to prioritize their focus.

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is advancing a plan to address alleged racial inequities in its internal operations and broader policies, a plan overseen by the board’s long-time Chairwoman Mary Nichols who is set to retire in December but said to be under consideration to head a potential Biden EPA that would prioritize equity in its decisions.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is scheduled to hear oral argument Oct. 27 in environmentalists’ challenge to EPA’s lead dust hazard rule, weighing whether the agency was right to consider “achievability” in establishing the standards and whether it should have set additional related lead policies when issuing the regulation.

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October 23, 2020

A re-election victory for President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election would allow EPA to bolster its defense of sundry climate and other environmental rollbacks in court while embarking on new deregulatory efforts, observers say, including broader changes to cost-benefit rules and limiting the scope of future carbon controls.

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Environmentalists are signaling that they might sue EPA over its refusal to reconsider its air toxics standards for oil refineries that critics say are unlawfully weak, after the agency formally announced its rejection of a petition filed by Earthjustice on behalf of 11 environmental organizations that urged EPA to tighten the emissions limits.

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The oil sector and Trump campaign are seizing on comments by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden urging a “transition” from the industry, in an effort to make Biden’s climate change stance a liability for Democrats up and down the ballot with less than two weeks before voting ends in the Nov. 3 election.

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If Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden defeats President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election, supporters of stronger Clean Water Act (CWA) protections may ask Congress to revise the law to clarify its scope, although experts say the success of such an effort will depend on whether Democrats win a clear majority in the House and Senate.

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Supporters of a carbon tax and others are citing key advantages of the policy in the courts and Capitol Hill even as they acknowledge challenges for such a measure under a potential Biden administration --including Democrats’ current focus on other climate policies and Republicans’ longtime allergy to carbon limits.

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California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is seeking a stay of a recent bankruptcy settlement between the federal government and a lead-acid battery manufacturer because the agreement would allegedly leave thousands of properties without sufficient funding for the cleanup of lead, while also seeking an appeal of the ruling.

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EPA’s children’s health advisors are crafting what members described as a framework to help the agency leverage existing information and tools to decide which chemicals should be prioritized for risk evaluation in its TSCA program because of children’s health concerns, an area that appears to be getting increased scrutiny by agency leaders.

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As Congress battles over the range of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) provisions in pending defense authorization legislation, an environmentalist says lawmakers returning next year are expected to continue efforts to advance measures that did not make it into the defense bill as well as additional policies.

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October 22, 2020

Groups representing major industry sectors are reiterating claims that federal laws preempt state and local governments from limiting or banning the use of natural gas-fueled appliances, urging a district court to scrap a novel ban on the equipment in the city of Berkeley, CA, in order to avoid a “regulatory patchwork” created by similar statutes.

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EPA in its final rule on new source review (NSR) air permit “project emissions accounting” is defending the policy against environmentalists’ allegations that it will enable companies to circumvent NSR and avoid adding emissions controls, but is also allowing states to keep a potentially more-onerous NSR permitting process if they prefer.

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EPA is asking a federal appeals court to reject the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) request to stay a challenge of the agency’s decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water until a lower court rules on EPA’s termination of a consent decree that had required it to issue a drinking water standard for the rocket fuel ingredient.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is backing EPA’s authority to significantly extend the deadline for issuing federal standards for much of the country to require landfills to limit their methane emissions, even after a district court set an earlier deadline for the agency to act.

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California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is seeking a stay of a recent bankruptcy settlement between the federal government and a lead-acid battery manufacturer because the agreement would allegedly leave thousands of properties without sufficient funding for the cleanup of lead, while also seeking an appeal of the ruling.

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A group of anonymous Black employees at the California air board is urging management to address what the staffers charge is “systemic racism and implicit bias” at the board, while proposing an “action plan” to address multiple aspects of the issue.

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Numerous stakeholders are increasingly looking to the California air board’s upcoming update to its greenhouse gas “scoping plan” of proposed rules and other efforts for clues on how state officials hope to achieve extremely challenging goals of cutting man-made GHGs 40 percent by 2030 and achieving “carbon neutrality” by 2045.

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