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Inside EPA - 08/17/2018

  • In 'Test,' Environmentalists Urge Wheeler To Break With Pruitt On Key Rules

    Environmentalists are urging Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to narrow or scrap a series of proposals that his predecessor Scott Pruitt championed before resigning last month, eyeing the agency's coming decisions on science policy, climate regulation and other issues as key signs of whether the new acting chief will be "Pruitt 2.0."

    1131 words

  • EPA Sharply Questioned NHTSA's Safety Claims In Vehicle GHG Rollback

    EPA staff strongly pushed back against modeling used to tout the safety and other benefits of the Trump administration's proposal to roll back vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, generating alternative findings that the plan could result in a loss of benefits to the public and even cause a small increase in highway deaths.

    1176 words

  • Chlorpyrifos Critics Eye Preemptive Steps To Counter EPA Appeal On Ban

    Opponents of the pesticide chlorpyrifos concerned about its human health harms are eyeing preemptive steps to block use of the substance including calling on California to suspend it and rallying support for legislation to impose a national ban, as they expect EPA to appeal a recent appellate ruling that requires it to prohibit the substance.

    1303 words

  • EPA Faces Broad Criticism Over Plan To Limit Asbestos Analysis, Regulation

    EPA's plans to analyze and possibly regulate some existing and renewed uses of asbestos is drawing broad criticisms from a coalition of Democratic attorneys general, environmentalists and former agency officials, who say it precludes consideration of a host of possible uses and falls short of the total ban that is needed.

    1432 words

  • EPA OIG Confirms Several Pruitt Audits Ongoing, Slated For Release Soon

    EPA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) says several audits of former Administrator Scott Pruitt's ethics scandals, including lavish spending on travel and use of Safe Drinking Water (SDWA) authority to hire staffers at elevated pay levels, are ongoing despite Pruitt's resignation, and the OIG could release several of the reviews this month.

    882 words

  • EPA Fights Sierra Club's Push For Strict Deadlines To Complete RFS Study

    EPA is fighting Sierra Club's call for a federal district court to set a Dec. 31 deadline for the agency to complete an overdue study mandated by law on the renewable fuel standard's (RFS) environmental impacts, instead asking the court for more than a year to complete it and to defer a deadline for "follow-up" action to mitigate any adverse impacts.

    636 words

  • Water Utilities Seek EPA Focus On Research, Source Control For PFAS

    Wastewater utilities are urging EPA to focus its work on perfluorinated chemicals on research to better understand the fate, transport and toxicity of the chemicals and then to use "heightened source control efforts and certain, specifically tailored regulatory standards," to remove the constituents from the environment.

    1202 words

  • Former EPA Staff Urge CEQ To Avoid NEPA Implementing Rule Changes

    Former EPA staffers are urging the White House to avoid changing its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing rules, arguing that any changes would spark protracted litigation and that the existing rules can accommodate the Trump administration's goal to offer more efficiency in NEPA reviews of infrastructure projects.

    770 words

  • NEJAC Doubts Prospect For Water Infrastructure Fixes Absent Funding Boost

    EPA's environmental justice advisors are urging the agency in a draft report to build a broad coalition to press Congress to increase funding for affordable, safe and reliable drinking water, arguing that without the funds, the agency will not be able to advance their advice to address what they call "a defining problem of the 21st century."

    922 words

  • Industry Backs EPA Chemical Approval But Seeks Clarity On TSCA Process

    Industry attorneys are welcoming EPA's recent approval of a new chemical that took a narrow view of the substance's "reasonably foreseen uses" that the agency is required to consider, but are urging officials to clarify whether the approach is intended to apply more broadly to agency reviews of other new chemicals under the revised toxics law.

    1438 words

  • Citing Legal Flaws, States Urge EPA To Withdraw Or Clarify Science Rule

    Citing significant legal flaws, state environmental agencies are urging EPA to withdraw or delay and clarify its proposed rule barring the use in major regulatory decisions of any science where the underlying raw data and models are not publicly available, arguing that the proposal is vague and the agency has not engaged with states on its content.

    1579 words

  • Several States Seek EPA Cost-Benefit Guidance In Lieu Of Criticized Rule

    Several groups representing state environmental regulators are criticizing EPA's consideration of a possible new rule the agency says would increase consistency and transparency of its cost-benefit analyses for regulations, claiming it could clash with statutory directives and calling on EPA to instead pursue any cost-benefit changes in flexible guidance.

    1328 words

  • 'Supplemental' CWA Rule Repeal Draws Attacks Over Factual, Legal Basis

    Opponents of EPA's plan to repeal the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule are attacking the agency's "supplemental" proposal that aims to further justify the effort, arguing that there are major flaws in the factual and legal basis for the repeal and warning that undoing the existing policy will create regulatory uncertainty.

    1572 words

  • Refiners Eye Departing If California Seeks To Offset Lost Vehicle GHG Cuts

    Some oil refiners are threatening to leave California if the state imposes new greenhouse gas limits on the sector to offset reductions lost as a result of the Trump administration's planned roll back of Obama-era GHG standards for light-duty vehicles, though one source says refiners should await any plan from the Golden State before taking action.

    1601 words

  • EPA Downplays Emissions Hike From Auto GHG Plan, But Faces Doubts

    The Trump administration is acknowledging its plan to roll back vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards will boost emissions of conventional air pollutants that cause local health effects but argues such increases are modest, even as some are concerned the plan could make it more difficult for some areas to meet national air standards.

    1126 words

  • Limiting EPA Discretion, Court Orders Aggressive Stormwater Regulation

    Environmentalists who have long urged EPA to expand its use of Clean Water Act (CWA) stormwater permits for individual properties have scored a major court victory in California, where a federal judge ruled that the agency must either craft permits for the properties or ban them from discharging any polluted stormwater in impaired watersheds.

    1071 words

  • Farm Agencies Fault Call To Curb Pesticides But One Seeks EPA Protections

    Federal and state farm regulators are sharply criticizing a wildlife agency's novel opinion calling for limiting use of certain pesticides to protect listed species as the result of a failed Obama-era review process, though Washington state, while backing some of the criticism, is urging EPA to implement some of the opinion's protections for listed species.

    1338 words

  • DOJ Urges Court To Uphold Ruling Rejecting CWA Nonpoint Funding Suit

    The Trump administration is urging a federal district court to uphold its decision that environmentalists lacked standing for their suit aiming to block Clean Water Act (CWA) grant funds for Washington state, arguing that the plaintiffs provided "no evidence" to support their standing and have failed to justify reconsidering the ruling.

    846 words

  • States Urge Congress To Drop Plans To Change CWA Section 401 Process

    Governors, attorneys general, state regulators and a host of other state groups are urging Congress to drop plans to amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 certification process, imperiling pending Republican legislation that seeks to limit states' ability to use the authority to block natural gas pipelines and other federally approved infrastructure projects.

    772 words