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Environmental Policy Alert - 01/17/2018

  • States Warn EPA Glider Truck GHG Repeal Could Spawn Rule Patchwork

    State air officials are warning that EPA's proposal to scrap greenhouse gas limits on "glider" trucks that combine new chassis with used engines could both jeopardize air quality and result in a patchwork of state rules, based on the agency's current legal theory that the Obama administration lacked authority to regulate the vehicles in the first place.

    989 words

  • Former EPA Staff Blast Legal Rationale For Repealing 'Glider' GHG Limits

    A group of former agency officials is pushing back hard against EPA's proposal to repeal restrictions on production of "glider" trucks that combine new chassis with rebuilt engines, arguing the agency ignored clear statutory authority to regulate the vehicles and failed to account for damaging implications on the environment and industry.

    872 words

  • California Escalates Warning Over Trump Attacks On GHGs, Vehicle Policies

    California officials are intensifying warnings over Trump administration actions that threaten the state's authority to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants from vehicles and energy production, escalating an already bitter war between one of the most aggressive and influential states on environmental issues and a president who is targeting a host of Obama-era climate and environmental policies.

    878 words

  • Administration Scraps Plan To Pause EPA Landfill Rules Amid Legal Doubts

    The Trump administration has scrapped EPA proposals to stay major requirements in Obama-era methane standards for new and existing landfills, signaling that it would have faced an uphill legal battle if it had finalized the measures, though environmentalists have already charged that the agency is dragging its feet on implementing the standards.

    678 words

  • EPA Fuel Economy Reports Prompt Mixed Industry, Environmentalist Views

    EPA's latest trends and manufacturer performance reports on vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gases show improvements have continued but slowed, prompting a delicate dance by both automakers and environmentalists citing the report as a basis for their respective positions on weakening -- or preserving -- current standards for passenger vehicles.

    703 words

  • States Say EPA Must Recuse Pruitt From CPP Repeal Due To 'Closed Mind'

    Twelve states and a handful of municipalities are charging that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt should recuse himself from participating in the agency's proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP), because his longstanding opposition to the rule compromises his ability to conduct a fair and open proceeding and be an impartial decision-maker.

    940 words

  • CPP Repeal Opponents Might Seek To Consolidate Suits With Prior Case

    When EPA finalizes its proposed repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) to cut utility greenhouse gas emissions, opponents of the repeal may ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to combine their new challenges with stayed litigation over the original CPP.

    1227 words

  • EPA Faces Pushback Over Cost, Feasibility Of SDWA Lead Rule Revisions

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has made revision of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) lead and copper rule a top priority, but municipal and water utility sources are raising concerns about the cost and feasibility of possible changes the agency is considering for replacing lead service lines, expanding sampling requirements and improving corrosion control.

    1091 words

  • States Press Senate For Continued CWA Authority Over Ship Discharges

    State regulators are urging Senate leaders to maintain Clean Water Act (CWA) authority over ship discharges rather than shift control of discharge standards to the U.S. Coast Guard, raising federalism concerns that pending legislation that would make such a change would harm states' abilities to prevent water pollution and the spread of invasive species.

    946 words

  • EPA Plans Response To Views On Uranium Groundwater Protection Rule

    EPA plans to respond to both the head of the Senate environment committee and environmentalists over competing views on whether the agency should withdraw a draft groundwater protection rule for in-situ uranium mining and enter into an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to clarify limits on EPA's authority governing such standards.

    788 words

  • Attorneys Urge More Industry Engagement On TSCA In Face Of Citizen Suits

    Attorneys are urging industry groups to more closely track and engage with environmentalists' litigation under the new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), saying initial suits could set important precedents that will determine how the new law is ultimately implemented.

    1005 words

  • Fluoride Case Ruling May Spur More TSCA Petitions, Attorneys Say

    The recent federal court ruling allowing environmentalists to sue EPA for rejecting their petition seeking Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) rules on fluoridation could open the door to new citizen petitions to the agency under section 21 of the law seeking rules on other substances.

    1020 words

  • Environmentalists Urge Court To Allow Broad TSCA Review Of Fluoride Risks

    Environmental and public health groups are urging a federal judge to allow a broad de novo review when it hears arguments in their pending litigation challenging EPA's denial of their Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) petition, pushing back against agency claims that any risk review is limited to data in the agency's administrative record.

    934 words

  • Industry Readies Options For EPA To Speed TSCA New Chemical Reviews

    Industry attorneys are backing EPA plans to streamline its process for reviewing new chemicals under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but they are crafting comments that will offer additional options, including improved pre-submission consultations, new data guidelines and consideration of existing rules before regulating new chemicals and their uses.

    928 words

  • EPA, FWS Delay Pesticide BiOps, Spurring Fears Of Trump Interference

    EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have delayed completing reviews of the risks of certain pesticides' to endangered species, despite a partner agency's finishing a similar review in advance of a court-ordered deadline, spurring environmentalist fears the Trump administration is derailing a novel Obama-era review process.

    1024 words

  • Plan To Close Regions Seen As Unworkable For Superfund, A Pruitt Priority

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's draft plan to close regional offices and move the staff to each of the 50 states is likely unworkable in practice, according to a former top agency official, who says it would be costly to implement and would likely delay Superfund cleanups that the administrator has promised to speed up.

    850 words

  • Communities Gain New EPA Access On Superfund But Questions Remain

    Community representatives say they are gaining welcome new access to EPA headquarters officials on Superfund remediation issues in the wake of Administrator Scott Pruitt's new focus on the issue, though some activists remain skeptical that Pruitt will act on communities' preferred cleanup approaches and are in a wait-and-see mode.

    1028 words

  • Industry Unnerved By Pruitt's Push For Excavation At Some Superfund Sites

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's close oversight of high-profile Superfund cleanup decisions, as well as strict remedies he has supported for some sites, is drawing concern among potentially responsible parties (PRPs) that the administrator is signaling plans to embrace costlier excavation remedies at some sites.

    1223 words

  • PRPs Urge EPA To Avoid Broad Excavation At West Lake Landfill Site

    Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) at the West Lake Landfill site in Bridgeton, MO, are urging EPA officials to avoid a broad excavation remedy as Administrator Scott Pruitt prepares to announce a cleanup remedy at the high-profile Superfund site.

    702 words

  • EPA Delays Cleanup Completion At Hudson While Touting NPL Deletions

    Despite Administrator Scott Pruitt's push to quickly complete Superfund cleanups, EPA Region 2 is delaying a closely-watched decision on whether to grant General Electric's (GE) request to declare the massive Hudson River cleanup complete, signaling it is carefully weighing stiff opposition to the request from New York and federal resource trustees who charge more cleanup is needed.

    943 words

  • In 'Highly Unusual Move,' Trump EPA Reassigns Top Agency Air Lawyer

    Lorie Schmidt -- a top EPA Clean Air Act lawyer who had a leading role crafting the Clean Power Plan -- has been reassigned to work on "special projects," according to a notification sent to agency staff late last week, a move that appears to underscore efforts by Trump EPA officials to reverse the agency's course on a suite of air regulations.

    809 words

  • EPA Targets April 30 For Ozone Designations But Withholds 'Exact Details'

    EPA in a new legal filing says it plans to issue by April 30 all remaining designations for which areas are either attaining or violating the 2015 ozone standard in response to an appellate court order for "precision and specificity" on its timeline, but is withholding the "exact details" for another filing it will submit to the court on Jan. 19.

    787 words

  • Supreme Court Declines To Hear Two Cases Testing Key Air Act Mandates

    The Supreme Court without comment is declining to hear two appeals testing key Clean Air Act mandates, including litigation over when states can rely on preexisting air pollution controls to meet requirements for "contingency measures" to cut emissions, and a suit over when EPA must review the jobs impacts of its air rules.

    816 words

  • Senate Democrats Query Pruitt On New EPA Advisors' Conflicts Of Interest

    Two Senate Democrats are raising concerns over EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's recent selection of two scientists to join agency advisory panels, citing claims in public comments that the advisors have conflicts of interest because they have received funding from industry groups and saying they may lack "appropriate" scientific qualifications.

    847 words

  • EPA Denies Reports Of Pruitt's Interest In AG Slot Should Sessions Depart

    EPA is denying reports that Administrator Scott Pruitt has voiced interest in taking over the Justice Department if embattled Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions steps down due to President Donald Trump's anger over his recusal from the investigation into the Trump campaign's involvement with Russia.

    871 words

  • Oil State Senators Eye New RFS Reform Bid After Compromise Effort Fails

    Oil state senators led by Republican Sens. John Cornyn (TX) and James Inhofe (OK) are crafting new principles for reforming EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS), sources say, after an earlier reform effort led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that included changes to the RFS credit system failed due to opposition from corn state GOP senators.

    1323 words

  • FERC Rejects Coal & Nuclear Support, Undercutting Trump Energy Agenda

    Federal energy regulators have rejected a controversial proposal from Energy Secretary Rick Perry to offer new subsidies to merchant coal and nuclear plants for their contribution to grid reliability, undercutting efforts by Perry, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and other administration officials to bolster the coal sector.

    846 words