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Inside EPA - 11/17/2017

  • Wehrum Could Revert To EPA NAAQS Process With Earlier Political Input

    Newly confirmed EPA Office of Air & Radiation (OAR) chief William Wehrum could now undo an Obama-era policy memo on ambient air standard reviews and reinstate a process from Wehrum's prior tenure at EPA during the George W. Bush administration that gave political leadership more control earlier in the reviews, sources say.

    1037 words

  • Oklahoma Official Seeks Greater State Role In EPA's Superfund Reforms

    States are pressing EPA to boost their role in the Superfund cleanup process and to generally increase communications between state and federal agencies, according to Oklahoma environment chief Scott Thompson, who leads a national states' workgroup focused on EPA's Superfund reforms.

    1714 words

  • Democrats' Election Victories Could Boost State GHG Trading Efforts

    Democrats' election victories in several key state races Nov. 7 could boost prospects for enlarging regional greenhouse gas trading programs on both the East and West coasts, bolstering climate policy advocates who are struggling to curtail Trump administration efforts to roll back EPA and other federal climate programs.

    1268 words

  • Top Former Officials Fear Pruitt, Congress' Unprecedented Attacks On EPA

    They served in both Democratic and Republican administrations across more than a generation but former top EPA officials are stepping up their concerns that efforts by Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Republican Congress to roll back EPA rules, cut the agency's budget and other deregulatory efforts pose fundamental threats to the agency's future and the long-standing federal environmental commitment.

    1144 words

  • EAB Weighs Limits On EPA Power To Soften Obama-Era Nutrient Permits

    EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) is weighing a new case over the agency's bid to soften nutrient limits in a wastewater treatment plant's Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permit, potentially testing the limits of the Trump administration's ability to loosen permits crafted by its predecessors despite the law's "anti-backsliding" provisions.

    864 words

  • Senate Democrats Float EPA Asbestos Ban Bill Due To Fears Over Dourson

    Eight Senate Democrats have introduced a bill seeking to ban asbestos -- even as EPA is working on a precedential risk evaluation of the substance under new responsibilities in the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) -- in part because of concerns that President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the agency's toxics office wouldn't ban its use.

    538 words

  • EPA Floats New Air Law Interpretation To Scrap 'Glider' Truck GHG Limits

    EPA is floating a new interpretation of the Clean Air Act to justify its new proposal to scrap Obama-era greenhouse gas limits for heavy-duty "glider" trucks that combine a new body with a rebuilt powertrain, saying the "most reasonable" reading of its air law authority is that the trucks are not "new motor vehicles" subject to regulation.

    1400 words

  • New EPA Advisory Committees' Chairmen Have History Of Agency Criticism

    The new chairmen of two influential EPA science advisory committees have a history of criticizing the agency's scientific analyses in ways fundamental to how EPA evaluates and seeks to support regulations to manage environmental risks, ranging from risk assessment approaches generally to specific air pollutants and chemicals.

    1403 words

  • Wehrum's Confirmation Likely To Expedite Pruitt's EPA Air Policy Overhaul

    The Senate's 49-47 vote to confirm William Wehrum to head EPA's Office of Air & Radiation (OAR) is likely to boost agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in his plan to overhaul Clean Air Act policies, which includes rollbacks of climate and other air rules, and changes to new source review (NSR) permitting to ease industry burdens.

    895 words

  • Environmentalists Urge D.C. Circuit To Reject EPA's Ash Rule Remand Bid

    Environmentalists are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reject EPA's request to remand many contested provisions of the Obama-era coal ash disposal rule while the agency reconsiders them, arguing that EPA's "eleventh-hour" request is merely a bid to avoid judicial review of the regulation.

    1149 words

  • After Election Wins, Environmentalists Tout Clean Energy Democrats In '18

    Environmentalists say their successful efforts to help elect two Democratic governors and other state-level candidates who favor a clean energy and environmental agenda in off-year election races Nov. 7 is buoying their strategy to back similar candidates in several gubernatorial races and a handful of Senate contests in 2018.

    1380 words

  • Former EPA Lawyers Criticize Pruitt's Directive Targeting 'Sue-and-Settle'

    Nearly 60 former career EPA attorneys from headquarters and regional offices are criticizing Administrator Scott Pruitt's recent directive against settling deadline lawsuits filed against the agency, arguing it will harm the American people as well as the "fair and efficient operations" at EPA.

    580 words

  • Pending EPA Nominees To Face At Least Two-Week Wait For Senate Votes

    Several nominees for top political slots at EPA that have been long awaiting Senate confirmation likely must wait at least an additional two weeks, with the chamber not planning to take up any additional agency candidates until the week of Nov. 27 at the earliest, Capitol Hill sources say.

    720 words

  • EPA Fights 'Constructive Submission' Theory Seeking To Force TMDL

    EPA is urging a federal district court to reject environmentalists' "constructive submission" theory that the lack of a state-crafted waterbody cleanup plan for the Columbia and Snake rivers in Washington and Oregon means the states have abandoned efforts to craft a plan and that the agency must now impose its own plan on them.

    1070 words

  • New Jersey Eyes DOJ's Input On EPCRA Defense Against Data Disclosure

    New Jersey officials say the Department of Justice's (DOJ) input may be warranted after their criticism of an EPA-administered reporting law in the state's defense against environmentalist and labor groups' lawsuit seeking release of industrial facility data, in a case that could have broad implications for public disclosure of facility data.

    1015 words

  • D.C. Circuit Judges Lean Against Abeyance For Industry's Brick MACT Suit

    Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appear to be leaning against granting EPA's request to separate out and put in abeyance brick manufacturers' suit over an Obama-era air toxics rule for the sector, faulting EPA's rationale for putting the case on hold while the agency reconsiders several parts of the rule.

    1209 words

  • EPA's Push For 'Samaritan' Brownfields Measure Faces Uncertain Path

    EPA's push for Congress to include new cleanup liability waivers in pending brownfields legislation for "Good Samaritans" is facing an uncertain path as it lacks strong support from the private and public sectors and earlier discussions generally resolved to set aside the provision, according to a local government source.

    739 words

  • IG's FY18 Plan Highlights Discretionary Work Cuts Under Tight EPA Budget

    EPA's Inspector General (IG) has released its work plan for fiscal year 2018 that significantly reduces discretionary projects such as self-initiated reviews of "high risk" programs and focuses on work mandated by law, underscoring IG Arthur Elkins, Jr.'s prior warnings that proposed budget cuts will hamper much discretionary work.

    839 words