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Daily News

October 25, 2018

EPA and environmentalists are sparring over the fate of a multifaceted challenge to the Clean Water Act (CWA) permit for a power plant near Fruitland, NM, with the agency downplaying -- but not explicitly denying -- claims that its request to stay the case is a ploy to avoid entering a “sue-and-settle” agreement to resolve the case.

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October 24, 2018

A senior Trump administration official says EPA is planning a significant rollback of an Obama-era facility safety rule, arguing against significant disclosure of facility data that the original rule requires and backing the Labor Department's lead in process safety.

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California Attorney General (AG) Xavier Becerra (D) is outlining the state's chief legal arguments against the Trump administration's plan to roll back vehicle greenhouse gas standards, while also expressing optimism that the state can reach an agreement with automakers on an alternative regulatory proposal.

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A government watchdog group is petitioning EPA to amend Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) rules to require small drinking water systems to report all lead monitoring data to the agency, saying the action is necessary to prevent another crisis like the one in Flint, MI, and to inform the agency's plan to overhaul its lead and copper rule (LCR).

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EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) is rejecting conservation groups' novel challenge that aimed to establish battery power storage as the Clean Air Act-mandated best available control technology (BACT) for a gas-fired power plant, saying the groups failed to show that any other similar facility used the storage technology.

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The Trump EPA appears to be dropping controversial aspects of a proposed update to Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permitting rules, state and other sources say, including an Obama administration plan to allow regional offices to block states from administratively continuing facilities' expired discharge permits in some circumstances.

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Pending Supreme Court cases testing whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) imposes liability for some groundwater pollution could undermine EPA's attempt to issue a rule “clarifying” its position on the issue, says an industry attorney, as the court could ask the agency to brief it on the question this winter -- far ahead of EPA's timeline for a rule.

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October 23, 2018

EPA and California officials are jointly testing various technologies to assess options for a new, low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard for heavy-duty truck engines, but it remains unclear whether California's plan to propose its own strict rule in 2019 will conflict with EPA's hands-off approach, undercutting broad industry calls for one national standard.

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EPA is refining its guidance on when industrial facilities can be considered under “common control” and hence treated as one source for air permitting purposes, further narrowing the definition of control in a letter to Wisconsin air regulators to emphasize the overall “control” of one facility over another rather than a facility's polluting activities.

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The power sector is defending EPA's delay of compliance deadlines in the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) effluent rule for the industry as a necessary step after the agency agreed to reconsider parts of the policy, arguing in a new court brief that an extension was vital in order to avoid rendering reconsideration “a meaningless, hollow exercise.”

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Next month's midterms, which are widely expected to usher in Democratic control of the House, could become a crucial inflection point for the political relevance of the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus, given that many GOP members of the group are either retiring or at risk of losing their seats.

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After a series of court losses, Trump administration officials at EPA are seeking to bolster their analysis supporting rollback of Obama-era rules, such as EPA's 2017 facility accident prevention update, and are urging industry representatives to provide data to the agency sooner than they usually do to ensure deregulatory rules survive legal scrutiny.

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EPA is downplaying the impact of recent court rulings overturning stays of Obama-era rules on environmentalists' challenges to the agency's delay of the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction standard, arguing in a new defense of the delay that courts should give the agency broad authority to reconsider and set aside past rules under the water law.

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October 22, 2018

If Democrats win control of at least one chamber of Congress in the upcoming Nov. 6 midterm elections, they are planning to conduct aggressive oversight of EPA and other agencies' efforts to roll back a suite of climate and other environmental rules in an attempt to block or tone down those efforts.

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EPA is touting its efforts to reduce exposure to lead in the face of criticism from an ousted official that the Trump administration “stonewalled” an inter-agency strategy for reducing children's exposure, though the administration is months behind schedule on issuing the strategy and still appears to lack a goal for curbing exposures as advocates are seeking.

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Environmentalists are asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to reverse a panel's decision that rejected Clean Water Act (CWA) liability for pollution that travels through groundwater to protected surface waters, saying that ruling conflicts with the court's landmark decision requiring CWA permits for pesticide sprayers.

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A federal judge has ordered EPA to provide internal documents and allow plaintiffs to depose agency staff on the risks posed by fluoridation, mandates that highlight the effect of an earlier ruling allowing the plaintiffs to introduce new evidence in their landmark Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) suit rather than limiting it to the agency's record.

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Environmentalists are suing to overturn EPA's first step in a planned series of rollbacks to the Obama-era Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) coal ash disposal rule, citing a recent appellate ruling that said the 2015 rule is unlawfully weak as they aim to halt the Trump administration's attempt to further soften the regulation.

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Lawyers for a group of youth plaintiffs are urging Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to lift the unusual stay he granted the Justice Department (DOJ) on the eve of their scheduled, high-profile climate change trial in an Oregon federal court, arguing that his temporary stay undermines the judiciary's integrity and harms the plaintiffs.

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October 19, 2018

A district court ruling vacating the Trump administration's attempt to pause Obama-era Department of Education rules regarding predatory lenders could help supporters of strong environmental standards oppose similar Trump EPA efforts to keep those rules from taking effect.

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