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Daily News

February 02, 2021

A fight between Pennsylvania and Maryland over the Keystone State’s contributions to high ozone levels on the East Coast that EPA will have to resolve poses an early test for the Biden administration’s policy on interstate air pollution, with a judicial deadline looming for the agency to finalize a plan on curbing ozone transport.

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A federal district court’s vacatur of the Trump EPA’s controversial science transparency rule shortly after the Biden administration requested such a ruling is bolstering some observers’ doubts over the merits of using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to undo Trump-era rules given other options to achieve the same goal.

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The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress face hurdles in using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to undo Trump EPA rules finalized in the last 60 days of the 116th Congress, sources say, including the law’s prohibition on agencies issuing future rules that are “substantially” similar to regulations scrapped with a CRA vote.

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Two House Democratic panel chairs are urging President Joe Biden to “to immediately repeal” the Trump administration’s rule narrowly defining waters of the United States (WOTUS), while the administration is seeking months-long delays in a host of suits filed over the policy to give it time to review its position on the rule.

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EPA is seeking another three weeks to respond to environmentalists’ challenge to the Trump administration’s final TSCA risk evaluation of methylene chloride, giving the Biden administration time to determine how the agency will approach both the precedent-setting litigation and the underlying chemical review.

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested that a federal appeals court suspend litigation filed by California and others over the Trump EPA’s efforts to prohibit state vehicle greenhouse gas programs that are more stringent than federal rules, in order to allow the Biden administration to reconsider the policy.

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February 01, 2021

Experts are framing the Biden administration’s goal of announcing a new national target to cut greenhouse gases by April as a tight but doable timeline needed to show U.S re-engagement in international climate talks, with significant outside analysis and EPA modeling tools likely to help inform the target.

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Experts are framing the Biden administration’s goal of announcing a new national target to cut greenhouse gases by April as a tight but doable timeline needed to show U.S re-engagement in international climate talks, with significant outside analysis and EPA modeling tools likely to help inform the target.

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One of the first legal settlements the Biden Justice Department (DOJ) has signed includes a supplemental environmental project (SEP), a popular tool that had long enjoyed bipartisan support until the Trump administration largely banned them last year, signaling a potential reversal of that ban.

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Federal appeals courts are weighing a growing series of lawsuits filed by environmentalists and public health groups over the Trump EPA’s TSCA chemical evaluations, setting the stage for opponents of the last administration to push the agency to tighten those assessments both on its own initiative and through litigation.

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Refiners and biofuels groups are sparring in legal briefs over whether the Trump EPA’s renewable fuel standard (RFS) production goals for 2020 were too low or too high, in a case that poses significant implications for the Biden administration’s approach to setting RFS volumes for future compliance years.

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A federal district judge has granted the Biden EPA’s request to vacate a Trump-era policy on the agency’s use of scientific studies, following an earlier court decision that both stayed the controversial policy until Feb. 5 and removed the legal basis for the rulemaking by declaring it substantive rather than procedural.

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Municipally owned wastewater and drinking water utilities are urging the Biden administration and Congress to address a trio of interrelated concerns affecting water affordability and sustainability, launching a new campaign to press for permanent low-income customer assistance, increased EPA water infrastructure funding, and COVID-19 relief.

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January 29, 2021

The climate change nuisance suit Oakland and San Francisco brought against oil majors is back in federal district court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit vacated a ruling by district court Judge William Alsup holding that their case belonged in federal court, was preempted by the Clean Air Act and should be dismissed.

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One of three appellate judges hearing argument in litigation over the scope of exemptions from air emissions reporting under the Superfund law for facilities with Clean Air Act (CAA) permits appeared to doubt environmentalists’ claim that the emissions must be reported to the public, but the eventual outcome of the suit remains unclear.

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A bipartisan group of 132 House lawmakers is urging President Joe Biden to take immediate steps to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) while also readying legislation on a range of additional items, part of a three-part strategy to tackle PFAS through legislation, policy-making and public education.

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The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has launched an interdisciplinary discussion about how to reduce the human health impacts from excess nitrogen that comes from agriculture, raising questions about how to adapt farming practices to reduce nitrate in drinking water.

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A federals appeals court is scrapping key provisions of EPA’s rule for how states should implement ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) including emissions trading and “contingency” air pollution control measures, creating major new complications for states that were already struggling with plans to meet the NAAQS.

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General Motors’ (GM) newly announced goal of eliminating tailpipe emissions from its vehicle fleet is spurring a mixed reaction, with experts saying that achieving the target would be groundbreaking but cautioning that GM will have to answer questions about which EPA greenhouse gas rules it might support to reach the goal.

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January 28, 2021

EPA has selected Carlton Waterhouse, a Howard University law professor with extensive environmental justice credentials, to be the agency’s deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Land & Emergency Management (OLEM), sources say.

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