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Inside EPA - 09/22/2017

  • Bolstering Pruitt's Superfund Reforms, EPA Plans To Prioritize Regional Staff

    After years of resisting calls to incorporate workload analysis into its resource allocations, EPA's waste office has agreed to prioritize most Superfund sites and assign personnel according to those priorities, though the agency is suggesting a "more measured approach" than what the agency's Inspector General (IG) originally sought.

    1000 words

  • Judges Doubt EPA's Defense In Ozone NAAQS Rule 'Backsliding' Fight

    A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit at Sept. 14 oral argument appeared skeptical of EPA's defense for fighting environmentalists' claim that its rule for how states should implement the 2008 ozone standard unlawfully allows "backsliding," or weakening of existing air pollution controls.

    1454 words

  • Pruitt Faces Challenges Replacing Departing CASAC, SAB Members

    With appointments for numerous EPA science advisors expiring at the end of the month, Administrator Scott Pruitt faces challenges selecting new members to the agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and Science Advisory Board (SAB), selections that could intensify criticism over the administration's scientific views.

    1663 words

  • Seeking To Retain Vehicle GHG Rules, New Group Signals Auto Sector Split

    A new industry coalition including automakers, utilities and equipment manufacturers is urging the Trump administration to retain Obama-era light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy rules through model year 2025, raising prospects for an industry split because other automakers have been eying softer requirements.

    1511 words

  • States, Utilities Spar With Environmentalists Over CSAPR 'Update' Rule

    States and electric utilities are squaring off against environmentalists in litigation over the Obama EPA's 2016 "update" to its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emissions trading system that tightened state emissions limits, or budgets, to help states comply with the agency's 2008 ozone air standard.

    699 words

  • Appellate Panel Doubts Sierra Club's Suit On EPA 'Hot-Spot' Guidance

    A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appeared dubious during Sept. 19 oral arguments of environmentalists' claims against EPA's revised guidance for how states should evaluate air pollution 'hot-spots' resulting from highway construction, focusing their discussion entirely on jurisdiction and standing issues -- not the merits of the guide itself.

    459 words

  • TSCA Reporting Rule Negotiations Collapse, Forcing EPA To Begin Again

    Even before a final meeting slated for October, a negotiated rulemaking panel convened to inform a future EPA rule to reduce reporting burdens for certain chemicals' uses has broken down after members agreed they would not reach a required consensus recommendation.

    1231 words

  • CCS Backers Cite Finances As Main Hurdle, Despite GOP Fears About NSR

    Several supporters of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies told Congress that the predominant hurdle to greater deployment of the greenhouse gas controls is high up-front installation costs, though Republican senators are seeking to play up EPA's new source review (NSR) air permitting regulations as another key problem.

    1423 words

  • EPA Grants Ash Rule Reconsideration, Seeks Delay For Suits Over Policy

    EPA is formally granting utilities' request to reconsider parts of the Obama-era Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) coal ash rule and will soon ask a federal appeals court to delay oral argument schedule for next month in consolidated lawsuits filed by environmentalists and the power sector over the same regulatory provisions.

    1206 words

  • Stakeholders Clash Over Competing Tests In CWA Jurisdiction Rule Hearing

    Stakeholders are setting out early markers of their goals for EPA's new Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, with industry pointing to the late Justice Antonin Scalia's narrow standard as an easily applied, "bright-line" test the government should adopt, while defenders of the Obama-era policy say only a broad federal rule will protect water quality.

    1170 words

  • Facing Uncertainty, SAB Invites Pruitt To Discuss 'Ongoing Future Role'

    Fearing the Trump administration may decide to sidestep seeking its advice, EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) is making the case to Administrator Scott Pruitt to continue using the board, inviting him to attend an upcoming meeting to share his views of the panel's future role while reminding him of some of SAB's past reviews.

    834 words

  • Fighting FY18 Cuts, ECOS Makes Preserving STAG Funds Top FY19 Priority

    JACKSON HOLE, WY -- Even as they press EPA and Congress to reverse the Trump administration's proposed cuts to EPA's budget in fiscal year 2018, state environmental regulators are outlining top priorities for the agency's FY19 budget, including consistent funding for core programs, greater flexibility for states to use the funds and increased efficiency.

    1337 words

  • D.C. Circuit Judges Wrestle With 'Black Box' Science For EPA Boiler MACT

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit judges at Sept. 15 oral argument wrestled with what one judge called EPA's "black box" scientific rationale for setting a limit on carbon monoxide (CO) as a "surrogate" for reducing air toxics from boilers, though the fate of a suit over the agency's boiler air toxics rule remains unclear.

    1270 words

  • Long Delay Expected For EPA Action On Low-NOx Heavy-Duty Truck Rule

    EPA is expected to take a long delay before officials begin developing an ultra-low nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard for heavy-duty trucks, which the agency late last year agreed to pursue in response to a petition by California and other state clean air agencies as well as environmental groups.

    1213 words

  • Judges Weigh EPA's Discretion In Challenge To CWA Cooling Water Rule

    Judges weighing the legality of EPA's 2014 Clean Water Act (CWA) permit rule for cooling water intake structures appeared to doubt the power sector's claims that the rule was too strict while sympathizing with environmentalists' attacks on the regulation, yet suggested they might ultimately defer to the agency on how it wrote the rule.

    1634 words

  • Congress' Intent Bars CWA Permits For Groundwater, VEPCO Appeal Says

    A power company is urging a federal appeals court to overturn a district court ruling extending Clean Water Act (CWA) permit mandates to some groundwater releases, warning the decision violates Congress' intent in crafting the water law and could unduly expand the law's reach -- at odds with a Supreme Court opinion on the issue.

    1217 words

  • EPA Sidesteps State Request For Update On ESA Pesticide Framework

    EPA is sidestepping calls from state regulators who are pressing the agency on whether it will meet a year-end court deadline for completing the first three consultations under a new federal framework for assessing pesticides' risks to endangered species after industry groups earlier this year urged the agency to scrap the process, calling it overly conservative and unrealistic.

    1272 words

  • EPA Preparing Guidance To Help Address States' Uncertainty Over WPS

    EPA is preparing guidance to help address states' uncertainty over whether and how to enforce the Obama-era rule strengthening the agency's farmworker protection standards (WPS) given Trump administration commitments to enforce the measure even as officials take steps to delay compliance with, and potentially revise, the regulation.

    785 words

  • FERC Sets Pipeline Precedent On States' Deadlines For CWA Reviews

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a first-of-its-kind decision holding that state officials waited too long in denying a Clean Water Act (CWA) approval for a proposed natural gas pipeline, setting a precedent for similar battles brewing across the country, though the issue is likely headed to federal court.

    963 words