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Environmental Policy Alert - 03/29/2017

  • D.C. Circuit Questions Industry's Standing In Lawsuit Over EPA DSW Rule

    A federal appeals court is questioning whether industry has legal standing for part of its suit over the Obama EPA's definition of solid waste (DSW) rule, asking for new briefs on whether industry has a right to contest a regulatory exclusion in the rule even though petitioners never used a weaker exclusion in a Bush-era version of the rule.

    875 words

  • Transporters Push DOT To Override Oregon Waste Rule Interpretation

    Groups representing recyclers and transporters of hazardous materials are pushing the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to override Oregon regulators' interpretation of the state's EPA-delegated hazardous waste rules that hold transporters strictly liable for hazardous waste violations.

    1274 words

  • Proponents Push To Boost Brownfields, Superfund In Rebuke To Cuts

    Proponents of EPA's cleanup programs are pushing to shore up funding in a rebuke of the Trump administration's proposed spending cuts, with bipartisan House lawmakers eying brownfields legislation amid a strong push by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, as well as city, county and state officials, who have advocated for the program in recent weeks.

    1353 words

  • Judges Doubt States' Case Against EPA's SO2 Deal With Environmentalists

    Federal appellate judges appeared deeply skeptical of a suit brought by six states seeking to vacate environmentalists' consent decree with EPA that gave the agency years beyond its statutory deadline to designate areas in attainment of sulfur dioxide (SO2) standards, with two judges suggesting the court lacked jurisdiction and the states could get relief elsewhere.

    1084 words

  • Court's Air Rule Deadlines Add To Growing EPA Budget, Staffing Problem

    A federal district court has issued an order setting a near three-year deadline for EPA to issue 13 overdue air toxics rules days after the same court imposed a similar mandate for issuing 20 other delayed air toxics rules, creating a growing problem for the agency to meet the legal deadlines at a time of massive proposed budget and staffing cuts.

    657 words

  • EPA Launches Early Talks With States On Revising CWA Jurisdiction Rule

    A top EPA water official says the agency has already begun informal talks with states and other stakeholders to gather input on the Trump administration's revisions to the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, and that officials have been told to work "quickly" to develop a proposal, though there is no deadline for that effort.

    697 words

  • States, Industry Split On DOJ Bid To Stay Supreme Court CWA Rule Case

    Opponents of the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule are split over the Trump administration's bid to delay Supreme Court litigation over the proper court venue for suits over the rule while it crafts a replacement rule, with states supporting the request but groups representing major industries saying the case should go forward.

    1066 words

  • Environmentalists Eye Law, Science To Fight Trump's CWA Rule Revisions

    Environmentalists plan to use Supreme Court precedent and extensive scientific data to fight the Trump administration's expected revisions to weaken EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, saying an executive order (EO) forcing the changes conflicts with high court rulings and the existing rule's scientific justification.

    971 words

  • Iowa Utility Loses Novel Suit Seeking CWA Permits For Drainage Districts

    A federal district court judge in Iowa has dismissed a novel suit brought by a local drinking water treatment plant that sought Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits for local agricultural drainage districts to address excess nitrate pollution.

    966 words

  • SOCMA Urges EPA To Cut Costs Of TSCA Inventory Rule, Citing Trump's EO

    Chemical and other industry officials are urging EPA to revise its proposed rule updating and and resetting its inventory of chemicals in the U.S. marketplace so that it cuts costs and eases compliance, with one group saying that such changes will help the agency comply with President Donald Trump's executive order capping rules' costs.

    1077 words

  • ACC Presses EPA To Restrict Scope Of Chemical 'Uses' For TSCA Reviews

    The American Chemistry Council is pressing EPA to restrict the scope of chemical "uses" it considers for the first 10 substance reviews it is planning under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority, arguing the agency should only look at the chemicals' current uses rather than all possible uses of the substances.

    999 words

  • Draft EPA Ban On TCE Uses Prompts Competing Claims Over Plan's Merits

    EPA's proposed rule seeking to ban certain uses of the solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) is prompting competing claims over the merits of the plan, with some business groups calling it unjustified and urging its withdrawal while others including worker safety groups say the benefits of the ban will be greater than EPA projects.

    1278 words

  • EPA's Reopening Of Vehicle GHG Decision Opens Door For Industry Pitch

    EPA's move to reopen its mid-term review of light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards gives automakers an opportunity to build a case over the next year to support weakening the requirements, though the agency faces several significant hurdles to softening the federal GHG and fuel economy limits.

    1288 words

  • California Retains Vehicle GHG Rules But Invites Industry To 'Sit Down'

    The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is retaining the state's vehicle greenhouse gas standards for model year 2022-2025 that currently align with national rules, but is inviting the auto industry to discuss its implementation concerns, though its top official is promising to maintain the rules "overall impact."

    994 words

  • As Trump Order Looms, Groups Hint At 'Change' In EPA Stance In NSPS Suit

    Parties in the litigation over EPA's greenhouse gas standards for new power plants are jointly submitting a proposed format for oral arguments in the suit scheduled for next month, though it hints that the Trump administration could soon formally change the agency's position in the case and disrupt the plan given an anticipated presidential directive to the agency to "rewrite" the rule.

    731 words

  • Refiners Petition EPA To Reconsider 2016 RFS Cellulosic Biofuel Mandates

    Refiners are petitioning EPA to reconsider an Obama-era decision to deny them a waiver from having to comply with renewable fuel standard (RFS) cellulosic biofuel blending requirements for 2016, teeing up a test for the Trump administration on a controversial aspect of the RFS that is also at issue in suits over the 2017 mandates.

    739 words

  • Industry Urges OMB To Prioritize EO's Cost Savings Over '2-1' Rule Repeal

    Major industry groups -- including oil and gas, paper, construction and others -- are urging the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prioritize provisions in President Donald Trump's deregulatory orders that require agencies to offset new regulatory costs over its requirements that agencies "identify" two rules for repeal for every new regulation they propose.

    1089 words

  • Trump's 'Two For One' Order Sparks Early Clash Over EPA Rulemakings

    Industry groups and environmentalists are clashing over how -- or whether -- EPA should implement President Donald Trump's executive order (EO) requiring agencies to "identify" two rules for repeal for every new rule they propose, with an industry group insisting that the order prohibits an Obama EPA air toxics proposal from advancing while environmentalists stridently oppose such a stance over a similar rule.

    1120 words

  • EPA Warns Trump's 'Two-For-One' Order Could Hinder Deregulatory Rules

    EPA is warning that President Donald Trump's executive order (EO) requiring agencies to identify two rules for possible repeal for every new rule issued could create procedural hurdles for rules scrapping major EPA policies in an effort to ease industry burdens, because they would be considered new rules, says a knowledgeable source.

    839 words

  • Administration Critics Charge EPA Rule Delays May Violate 'Procedure' Act

    House Democrats and other administration critics are warning top officials that recent actions by EPA and other agencies delaying implementation of almost a dozen Obama-era environmental and energy efficiency rules may violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and urging the officials to withdraw the actions.

    907 words

  • Trump 'Two For One' Deregulatory Order Halts EPA's Dental Amalgam Rule

    President Donald Trump's executive order (EO) requiring agencies to "identify" two existing rules to withdraw for every new "major" rule they issue has halted implementation of EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) rule on dental amalgam, a rule signed in the final hours of the Obama administration that is providing an early test of how agencies comply with the order.

    947 words

  • Former EPA Officials Warn Climate Budget Cuts Might Hurt Other Programs

    Former EPA officials are warning that President Donald Trump's proposed massive budget cuts for the agency's climate change activities in fiscal year 2018 would likely hurt unrelated EPA programs, because statutory mandates mean the government would eventually have to divert funds to global warming efforts in lieu of the other programs.

    1249 words

  • Facing Severe Budget Cuts, Officials Urge EPA Staff To 'Ride This Out'

    Seeking to shore up agency morale in the face of draconian budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration, former Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, as well as other current and former agency officials, are urging career staff at the agency to continue their current work while downplaying concerns that the budget plan will be the final word on the issue.

    956 words

  • House Democrats Warn Budget Cuts Will Hinder GOP NAAQS Reform Push

    House Democrats are warning Republicans that President Donald Trump's proposed massive budget cuts to EPA and federal grants to states will hinder the GOP's legislative push to ease implementation of the agency's ambient air standards, saying the cuts would make it harder for states to meet the standards even if the bill became law.

    717 words

  • EPA's FY18 Budget Plan Raises Doubts On Fate Of Voluntary Programs

    The Trump administration's fiscal year 2018 budget proposals have raised new questions about the status of EPA as a catalyst for voluntary public-private partnerships in the service of environmental goals, a fight that observers say goes beyond the administration's stated effort to rein in regulations and is prompting concern from some industries about talk of the programs' elimination.

    1083 words

  • GOP Senators Hedge On Prospects For CRA Repeal Of EPA RMP Rule

    Top Senate environment committee Republicans are hedging on whether a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to rescind EPA's chemical facility safety rule will reach the Senate floor, raising fresh doubts about the measure's prospects even as EPA is said to be concerned about its administrative reconsideration of the regulation.

    1060 words

  • Gorsuch Downplays Opposition To Agency Deference At Senate Hearing

    Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch at his Senate confirmation hearing downplayed his appellate ruling that objected to a landmark legal test mandating judicial deference to EPA and other agencies, saying that he criticized the test because it could allow an agency to circumvent a court decision by changing its interpretation of a law.

    1052 words

  • High Court Sets Strict Test For Trump Nominees To Serve In Acting Roles

    The Supreme Court has issued a ruling barring almost all acting agency officials from continuing in that role after being nominated to take the same position permanently -- a strict test that could limit President Donald Trump's ability to fill top slots at EPA and that also raises questions over the legitimacy of actions by the Obama EPA's deputy chief.

    988 words