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Inside EPA - 11/30/2018

  • EPA Seeks To Limit Industry Data Requests In Enforcement, Raising Concern

    EPA is seeking to limit information the agency requests from industry or states in enforcement and regulatory proceedings under federal air, waste and water laws, in a bid to ease burdens on industry and the agency, though the actions are reviving accusations that the Trump administration is curtailing environmental oversight.

    1462 words

  • Former CASAC Members Fault EPA's 'Harmful' Shortened NAAQS Review

    Former members of EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) are attacking what they say is the agency's "harmful" decision to shorten its national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) review process, warning that it will weaken CASAC's input on the standards and undermine the quality of its advice and its reputation.

    1141 words

  • Federal Climate Study Gives GHG Rule Backers New Political, Legal Tools

    The Trump administration's recently released national assessment outlining increasingly serious effects from climate change is giving critics fresh political ammunition to challenge officials' efforts to dismiss the issue, and could also provide legal fodder for those fighting EPA's various climate rule rollbacks.

    1705 words

  • Facing Subpoena Threat, Suit, EPA Limits Political Officials' FOIA Reviews

    EPA has quietly issued a new policy that sets a schedule for political officials to review Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) releases and also requires prompt disclosures of the review, a policy that the agency is citing to head off a pending lawsuit challenging the practice as well as a possible subpoena from House Democrats in the next Congress.

    1194 words

  • House GOP Floats Bill To Create National Octane Standard, Phase Out RFS

    House Republicans are floating draft legislation that would create a national standard to boost the octane rating of fuel in order to promote ethanol while phasing out EPA's contentious renewable fuel standard (RFS) program, on the eve of the agency's release of its 2019 RFS goals for producing ethanol and other fuels.

    763 words

  • NRDC Agrees To EPA Extension Of Perchlorate Water Standard Deadline

    Environmentalists have grudgingly agreed to EPA's request to extend until April a court-ordered deadline for proposing a health-based drinking water goal for the rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate, acknowledging that EPA has yet to craft such a standard while expressing their frustration with the pace of the agency's efforts.

    659 words

  • White House, California Talks Spur Guarded Optimism On Vehicle GHG Deal

    Recent negotiations between the White House and California on light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards are boosting optimism -- albeit slightly -- that the two sides can reach some kind of deal to avert a legal collision over the Trump administration's pending plan to freeze standards after model year 2020.

    846 words

  • Court Rebukes Army Corps Over Pipeline Permit's CWA Interpretation

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is explaining its October decision to vacate the Army Corps of Engineers' use of a Clean Water Act (CWA) dredge-and-fill permit to construct a portion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a major natural gas pipeline, in West Virginia, saying in a hard-hitting ruling that the Corps lacked authority to unilaterally change the permit's conditions.

    1169 words

  • Local Governments Push EPA Air Law Exemption For 'Prescribed Burning'

    Local government policy advisers are urging EPA to grant broad Clean Air Act regulatory exemptions for emissions from "prescribed burning" of land that compromise attainment of federal air quality standards, echoing the view of some regulators in the West where increasingly severe and frequent wildfires are worsening air pollution.

    1003 words

  • Environmentalists Urge 5th Circuit To Reject EPA's Defense Of ELG Delay

    Environmentalists are pushing back against EPA and the power sector's defenses of the Trump administration's two-year delay of Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) utility wastewater guidelines, arguing that the agency's justifications for extending the rule are "post-hoc rationalization" that a federal appeals court must reject.

    1074 words

  • EPA Officials Wrestle With Enforcement Decline Spurred By Trump Policies

    EPA enforcement officials are privately blaming Trump administration policies for a sharp drop in new criminal and civil cases, settlements and other actions despite the agency's public defense of its enforcement record, according to an environmental group's new report that says the officials are weighing options for reversing the decline.

    1183 words

  • EPA's PV29 Assessment Likely To Test Reformed TSCA's Data Standards

    EPA's recently released draft assessment of pigment violet 29 (PV29), the first such study of an existing chemical under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is likely to pose a test of the new law's data standards as environmentalists and others doubt the agency has enough information on which to base its conclusion that the substance does not pose an "unreasonable risk."

    1746 words

  • Second Ruling Scrapping CWA Rule Delay Solidifies Regulatory Patchwork

    A second federal district judge has ruled that EPA's delay of the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule was unlawful and scraps the Trump administration's order blocking the rule's enforcement nationwide, solidifying a regulatory patchwork on the CWA's reach as various court decisions have now revived the rule in 22 states.

    1040 words

  • Highlighting Disconnect, Trump Climate Study Cites Obama-Era SCC Tool

    The Trump administration's newly released assessment warning of significant economic damages from global warming also cites the social cost of carbon (SCC) metric the Obama administration used to estimate the benefits of emission cuts, even as the Trump EPA and other agencies are significantly curtailing use of the tool.

    839 words

  • EPA Advisers Seek Broad Plan To Help Local Governments Target PFAS

    A local government advisory panel to EPA is urging the agency to provide leadership to communities on a "coordinated and comprehensive" approach of regulatory actions and other steps to address perfluorinated chemicals, as communities struggle with the emerging unregulated contaminants in drinking water.

    940 words

  • Grevatt's Retirement Creates Uncertainty Over Fate Of EPA's PFAS Policy

    Peter Grevatt, EPA's top official overseeing cross-agency policy on high-profile perfluorinated chemicals, is retiring from the agency after 30 years, creating uncertainty about who will take over the major task of responding to calls from lawmakers, states and communities to develop a comprehensive plan to address the contaminants.

    540 words

  • Key House Democrats Launch Early Scrutiny Of EPA Climate Rule Rollbacks

    Top Democrats on the House energy committee aren't waiting until they officially take control of the chamber in the next Congress before starting aggressive oversight of Trump EPA climate rule rollbacks -- an effort that appears to both signal plans for 2019 as well as preserve jurisdiction in the event that party leaders create a special climate panel.

    1273 words

  • Utilities Seek Role In Environmentalists' Suit Over EPA Ash Rule Changes

    Utilities are asking a federal appeals court to let them intervene in environmentalist groups' suit over the Trump EPA's first round of revisions to the Obama-era coal ash disposal rule, in which the groups are alleging that the agency ignored its duty to avert harms to health and the environment when it extended compliance deadlines.

    1176 words

  • Coal Ash Disposal Site Assessments Tee Up Next Legal Fight Over Closure

    Environmentalists are eyeing the latest round of reports on coal ash disposal sites' compliance with EPA's rule for disposal of the waste to provide data for new legal fights seeking stringent environmental safeguards at facilities slated for closure, but those efforts face limits under regulatory deadline extensions in revisions to the 2015 standards.

    809 words