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Daily News

March 21, 2019

The California Senate’s environment panel has approved a bill to lock into state law stringent Obama-era rules from U.S. EPA and other federal agencies to protect them from Trump administration rollbacks, but industry groups say it will spur a wave of lawsuits because the bill would allow the state to issue strict, costly rules with no public input.

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Environmental justice and low-income housing advocacy groups are maintaining opposition to a revamped bill that overhauls zoning standards to spur multi-story housing projects near transit hubs in part to lower greenhouse gas emissions tied to vehicle miles traveled (VMT), saying the measure fails to ensure a minimum amount of affordable housing.

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Oakland and San Francisco have filed their opening brief in their appeal of a district court’s dismissal of their climate change nuisance case against oil majors after finding the claims are preempted by the Clean Air Act, urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to reverse that decision and send the suit to state court.

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Oregon’s appellate court is upholding the state’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and rejecting a challenge by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), finding that state agencies properly adopted the rules and the program does not amount to an unconstitutional tax on motor vehicle fuel.

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March 20, 2019

A federal judge is requiring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to consider the cumulative greenhouse gas impacts of its oil and gas drilling lease approvals in Wyoming in a landmark ruling that plaintiffs say could ultimately force the administration to review the climate impacts of its entire oil and gas leasing program.

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New York's health department is preparing to propose the nation's first enforceable drinking water standard for 1,4-dioxane, a ubiquitous contaminant at waste sites and in drinking water systems, likely setting a path for other states to follow as one industry attorney says it may be the next “headline chemical.”

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EPA in its fiscal year 2020 budget request vows to ramp up oversight of states’ federally delegated environmental programs in response to concerns from its inspector general (IG), but state regulators are telling Congress that the agency’s FY20 proposal to slash its grants to states could cripple their ability to administer those programs.

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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says he will make drinking water improvements a top priority for the agency, including infrastructure upgrades and measures to boost the quality of water supplies, even as he is seeking to cut funding for many EPA infrastructure programs and is downplaying climate change as a water supply threat.

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A large coalition of environmental groups is urging EPA to abandon its proposal to revise new source performance standards (NSPS) limiting greenhouse gases from new coal plants, saying the plan is unlawful because its GHG limit is weather than what existing coal plants can already achieve, among other reasons.

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California’s health hazard office is proposing that acetaminophen, which has the brand name Tylenol, be considered for potential listing under the state’s Proposition 65 toxic warning law as a carcinogen, drawing immediate attack from the chemical industry,

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California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban 20 toxic substances and chemicals from being blended into cosmetics products sold in the state, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), two types of phthalates and triclosan.

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EPA is defending its decision to shift its long-running Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of formaldehyde to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) program's list of existing chemicals slated for high-priority evaluation, just weeks after telling lawmakers it was dropping the IRIS assessment because it was not a priority.

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is finalizing arguments that a state court should dismiss a housing equity group’s lawsuit challenging the state’s 2017 greenhouse gas regulatory “scoping plan,” largely because its claims are unripe for review, ahead of a scheduled March 29 oral argument hearing.

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March 19, 2019

A federal district judge in Utah is backing a citizen suit alleging diesel aftermarket parts makers violated the Clean Air Act (CAA), with the decision notable because it may be the first successful private enforcement case against a mobile source manufacturer and because it granted standing to the plaintiffs even though the emission contribution of the alleged violations was small.

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Groups representing major industries are urging EPA to quickly finalize its rollback of an Obama administration rule that strengthened the Risk Management Plan (RMP) facility accident prevention program, fearing expected litigation over the rollback could extend beyond some of the existing RMP rule’s compliance deadlines.

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Industry groups are making a fresh push for district judges to decide their long-standing challenges to the legality of the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule in order to end the current “patchwork” of policies on the law’s reach, even as some newly inaugurated Democratic governors are pulling their states out of those suits.

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California air districts are struggling to implement the state’s landmark AB 617 air monitoring and mitigation program on time, with local officials saying public outreach is slowing the process while environmentalists and others are raising lingering questions on issues including monitoring, emissions reduction rules, and enforcement.

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The Canadian mining company Teck Metals is again asking the Supreme Court to review a controversial appellate ruling requiring it to pay cleanup response costs even though the release occurred outside the United States, more than ten years after the company failed to convince the court to consider the issue.

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Small-business groups are broadly backing EPA’s plan to narrow the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) reach but appear split on whether the agency’s proposal achieves that goal, with some speakers at a March 19 listening session urging EPA to make major changes to the rule in order to provide more clarity on its scope and other provisions.

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Scientists with the consulting firm Ramboll are preparing to re-analyze a landmark 2005 study that led EPA and other agencies to strengthen rules and policies to protect children from even low doses of the potent neurotoxin, saying the study could have overestimated the adverse effects of such exposures due to confounding factors.

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