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Inside EPA - 04/20/2018

  • States Urge EPA To Target Regions' Staffing Levels In Push For Consistency

    Faced with bipartisan opposition in Congress, top EPA officials appear to have abandoned earlier plans to consolidate agency regions and are now being urged to target some regions' staffing levels as part of their effort to ensure greater consistency in how regional offices oversee state programs.

    906 words

  • EPA Water Chief Revised CWA Rule Repeal To Bolster Its Legal Basis

    EPA water chief David Ross ordered revisions to the proposed repeal of the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule in order to bolster the proposal's legal basis in expected litigation, an agency staffer says, giving Ross the chance to "fix" legal flaws in the original proposal which EPA issued before he joined the agency.

    1004 words

  • Democrats Renew Calls For Pruitt's Firing After Aide Details Ethics Claims

    Top Democrats are intensifying their calls for President Donald Trump to fire EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after Kevin Chmielewski, a top political appointee at the agency who clashed with Pruitt, detailed in a recent interview a host of the administrator's ethics and spending practices that have created a crisis that continues to plague the EPA chief.

    1196 words

  • Trump Orders EPA 'Actions' To Ease NAAQS Process For Economic Gain

    President Donald Trump is ordering EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to take a series of "actions" to accelerate and ease state and industry compliance with national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), with the White House saying changes to the setting and implementation of NAAQS could end "outdated" barriers to economic growth.

    1702 words

  • EPA Rejection Of Equity Petitions Spurs Shift In 'Citizen Science' Strategy

    Proponents of "citizen science" research collected by non-governmental entities say EPA's rejection of two equity petitions that relied in part on such data signals the agency is refusing to accept the research, prompting them to instead focus on using data to lobby local governments to pursue projects aimed at improving the environment.

    787 words

  • EPA Backs Away From Obama NextGen Initiative But Impact Uncertain

    EPA's enforcement office has followed through with expected plans to back away from an Obama-era policy, known as Next Generation Enforcement (NextGen), that required broad consideration of innovative approaches in civil settlements, though one EPA source harbors doubts the new approach will mark a significant change in practice.

    501 words

  • Defendants In CWA Cases Aim To Limit Rulings On Groundwater Liability

    Defendants in Clean Water Act (CWA) suits over groundwater releases are scrambling to minimize the impact of recent appellate decisions upholding penalties for pollution that travels through groundwater, raising new arguments in pending cases against the novel findings on liability under the water law for contamination of groundwater.

    1233 words

  • FY18 Deal Funds EPA Work On Backstop Federal Coal Ash Permit Program

    The fiscal year 2018 omnibus deal contains a little-noticed provision approving funding for a new EPA Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) coal ash permitting program, with utilities and the ash reuse sector urging the agency to quickly develop the program as a backstop for states that opt against creating their own permit programs.

    517 words

  • NAS Praises EPA's Efforts To Improve IRIS, Underscoring Congress' Action

    The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is praising EPA's efforts to improve its influential but controversial risk analysis program, the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), and even backs supporters' efforts to keep Republicans from consolidating the program with EPA's toxics office, underscoring steps Congress took in EPA's recent budget bill.

    1217 words

  • Environmentalists Urge OMB To Retain RMP Rule In Face Of Likely Rollback

    Environmental, labor and public interest groups are urging White House officials to preserve and quickly implement the Obama-era rule bolstering EPA's facility accident prevention program, even as the Trump administration prepares to issue a plan that is widely expected to scale back the regulation.

    858 words

  • EPA Superfund 'Special Accounts' Guidance Aims To Incentivize Cleanups

    EPA's Superfund chief has issued new guidance to the agency's regional offices that appears to ease EPA's ability to use money from its $3.2 billion site-specific "special accounts" funds in order to provide incentives for liable parties and developers to undertake cleanups at Superfund sites.

    1498 words

  • IG 'Alert' Highlights Unclear Pruitt Role In Controversial EPA Staff Raises

    EPA's Inspector General (IG) has released an "alert" memo that appears to indicate controversial raises for several agency staff using Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authority were authorized by agency Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson, though it remains unclear whether Administrator Scott Pruitt knew about or approved the pay hikes.

    683 words

  • EPA Plans To Revise HFC SNAP Rules To Respond To D.C. Circuit Vacatur

    EPA is planning to launch a new rulemaking to respond to an appellate court ruling that largely vacated Obama-era rules limiting hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants that act as potent greenhouse gases, arguing the regulations do not allow the agency to easily address the ruling.

    1077 words

  • EPA's TSCA Testing Methods Plan Faces Early Challenge As Groups Split

    EPA's draft strategic plan for adopting and using new, non-animal testing methods for implementing the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is facing an early challenge as environmentalists and animal welfare groups are split over how quickly the agency should implement the new methods.

    1450 words

  • EPA Signals New Rulemaking Could End Limits On Wastewater 'Blending'

    EPA is signaling that a just-launched rulemaking process could end limits on wastewater "blending" technology that treatment plants use to mix partially- and fully-treated effluent during wet-weather events like storms in order to avoid a complete overflow, ending years of litigation over whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) lets regulators ban the pratice.

    774 words

  • Faulting EPA 'Maneuvering,' Judge Orders Quick Decision On Erie Impairment

    A federal judge is giving EPA until May 15 to make a final decision on Ohio's 2016 list of impaired waters that fails to include the open waters of Lake Erie, finding that the agency's "legal maneuvering" has prevented him from ruling on environmentalists' suit that seeks to force the agency to reject the list and declare the lake's open waters impaired.

    1361 words

  • GOP Touts High-Octane Standard In RFS Reform Package But Faces Hurdles

    Top House Republicans are expressing confidence about enacting a nationwide high-octane fuel standard as part of a broader package to "reform" or scale back the renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing the move could satisfy a range of fuel stakeholders while also giving automakers a relatively cheap compliance option for fuel economy limits.

    1433 words

  • Trump's Support For Annual E15 Sales Spurs Ethanol Critics' Legal Threat

    President Donald Trump is signaling support for pending EPA plans to allow year-round sales of ethanol fuel blends up to 15 percent (E15), prompting a warning from ethanol critics including the petroleum sector that the agency lacks the Clean Air Act authority for such a waiver.

    903 words