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Daily News

May 11, 2021

EPA plans to finalize in 2022 a screening tool and probabilistic risk assessment framework that will help assess risks from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and hundreds of other substances that have been detected in biosolids that are used as fertilizer, after a still-pending peer review by the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB).

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The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) decision to finalize risk levels for key per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) much more stringent than EPA’s figures shows the difficulty of finding consensus on safe exposure levels to even a few of the thousands of perfluorinated chemicals, a scientist says.

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The White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) has completed its mandatory pre-publication review of a final rule to rescind the Trump EPA’s rewrite of Clean Air Act cost-benefit procedures, clearing the path for the Biden administration to revoke the policy that critics said would make it harder to issue strict air regulations.

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Environmentalists are urging EPA to drop its reluctance to pursue new health risk reviews that could spur the agency to tighten its existing air toxics rules for the solvent ethylene oxide (EtO) and synthetic rubber component chloroprene, backing calls from EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) for tougher action on emissions.

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May 10, 2021

EPA has taken the rare step of asking Chicago officials to suspend review of a permit application to expand a metal recycling plant on the city’s Southeast side and conduct a cumulative impact analysis to assess its effects on nearby residents -- one of the first affirmative steps the agency has taken to reflect administration environmental justice (EJ) priorities.

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Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) are urging a federal appeals court to reject a request from the pipeline company to stay the mandate from the court's ruling ordering a new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment of the pipeline, saying DAPL’s potential high court appeal of the decision does not justify the request.

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The Biden White House is soliciting public comment on its “interim” estimates of the social cost of carbon (SCC) and other greenhouse gases, a move that could help the administration shore up the foundation of the metric, used to calculate the benefits of policies that reduce emissions, in the face of pressure from critics.

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit pressed an attorney for a Washington state dairy why the company should be able to challenge an EPA Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) enforcement action years after the fact, including asking whether the suit should fail on jurisdictional grounds.

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Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), a leader of Capitol Hill efforts to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), is urging regulators and other federal officials to quickly adopt stricter limits on the chemicals after the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) formally adopted risk values more conservative than EPA’s.

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May 07, 2021

A former EPA chemicals chief says Michal Freedhoff is widely expected to win confirmation to lead EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) following her Senate hearing May 12, as stakeholders continue to line up behind her despite industry opposition to many of her TSCA policies.

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EPA is pursuing an environmental justice and systemic racism speaker series to show how addressing “redlining” and other systemic racism is relevant to the agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment, and for achieving the Biden administration’s priorities of promoting environmental justice (EJ) and addressing climate change.

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As the Biden administration readies a new executive order to address the financial risks posed by climate change, EPA is beginning to consider both the physical and transition risks companies face, including launching talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is poised to write climate risk disclosure rules.

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Citizens affected by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Midwest told a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel that they support medical testing of PFAS in communities and incorporating PFAS-related protocols into medical screenings just as other potential exposures are screened for during health appointments.

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Civil rights advocates say a rare preliminary finding of discrimination EPA issued to Missouri is welcome but still disappointing, as it focuses on flaws in how the state complies with EPA nondiscrimination requirements rather than the substance of the complaint that a minority St. Louis community is suffering from disproportionate pollution impacts.

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President Joe Biden’s nominees to fill three of four vacant slots on the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), the agency that advises OSHA and EPA on needed policy changes to curtail industrial incidents, are facing likely Senate confirmation battles as key outside groups are split over their relative expertise.

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May 06, 2021

EPA is clashing with its Office of Inspector General (OIG) over a new OIG report that urges the agency to tighten its emissions rules for the hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) ethylene oxide (EtO) and chloroprene, rejecting what it sees as overly prescriptive rulemaking recommendations and avoiding any firm promise to tighten its regulations.

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EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) is crafting a letter to send to Administrator Michael Regan near his 100th day in office that will highlight past NEJAC recommendations the agency is yet to implement, including steps to advance equity in decision-making -- a top priority of the Biden administration.

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California air regulators have unveiled a long-awaited proposal to set aggressive zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales mandates for new passenger vehicles that would ramp up requirements to reach 100 percent ZEV sales by 2035, likely bolstering calls for the Biden administration to set federal emissions standards that achieve such a goal.

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EPA Region 10 has told a mining company that reached a novel Superfund settlement late in the Trump administration to voluntarily clean up abandoned mining waste on lands it now controls that it does not have unlimited protection from liability under the Superfund law, rebuffing public statements by the company.

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May 05, 2021

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has released its final toxicological profile for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), preserving without changes the minimal risk levels (MRLs) it proposed in 2018 -- all at levels more conservative than those EPA has used to craft its own exposure limits.

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