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Superfund Report - 11/20/2017

  • 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.

    1614 words

  • Environmentalists, States Wary Of Trump EPA's 'Cooperative Federalism'

    Environmentalists and some state regulators are wary of the Trump EPA's push to bolster “cooperative federalism” by giving states more authority on environmental protection, with environmentalists saying it is a “misleading” plan that will weaken safeguards while states say similar agency commitments in the past have failed to materialize.

    1496 words

  • EPA Seeks Remand Of Coal Ash Rule Provisions To Revise Key Mandates

    EPA is asking a federal appeals court to remand to the agency several provisions of the Obama-era coal ash disposal rule currently subject to ongoing litigation without vacating the requirements, saying the agency plans to revise the provisions at the request of utilities and the ash reuse sector but will continue enforcing them while it reworks the rule.

    905 words

  • EPA Eyes 2019 For Completing Two-Step Plan To Overhaul Coal Ash Rule

    EPA is pledging to finish an overhaul of the Obama-era Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) coal ash disposal rule no later than December 2019 but could finalize a first step of revisions much sooner by combining them with another set of revisions the agency started work on in 2016 but is yet to formally propose.

    629 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.

    1094 words

  • EPA Secures Voluntary Cleanup, Defers Enforcing UAO At New York Site

    EPA Region 2 is deferring on whether it will enforce a unilateral cleanup order against a baby food manufacturer after the company took the rare step earlier this year of refusing to comply with the order, with the agency announcing Nov. 16 that a New York county has agreed to voluntarily dispose of the asbestos contamination at issue.

    843 words

  • EPA Regional Heads Downplay Superfund Sites' Damage From Hurricanes

    The heads of three EPA regions are downplaying reports of contamination from Superfund sites and facility leaks in the aftermath of this year's disastrous hurricane season, saying any contaminated sites have been contained and did not pollute drinking water in damaged areas despite early reports to the contrary.

    785 words

  • EPA's ORD Prioritizes PFAS Research Amid Growing Exposure Concerns

    Leaders in EPA's research office are prioritizing work on assessing risks of perflouroalkyl substances, which they see as a major challenge for the agency in the short term as they face monitoring results that show an ever-widening spread of contamination from the substances, though EPA's water office is worried they will be harder to address under Trump administration toxics office rule changes.

    1315 words

  • Following EPA Advisory, Hurdles To PFAS Laboratory Analysis Remain

    Laboratories' ability to meet an increasing demand to conduct sampling analysis of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) -- due in part to 2016 EPA drinking water advisories -- is growing, although backlogs continue to exist and barriers such as funding for state labs present obstacles, experts in the field said at a recent state waste managers' conference.

    1133 words

  • Final FY18 Defense Authorization Bill Requires National PFAS Health Study

    The final fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill negotiated between the House and Senate requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a health study on the impact of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), focused on no less than eight current or former military installations where the chemicals have contaminated drinking water.

    553 words

  • Bipartisan House Brownfields Legislation Cleared For Floor Consideration

    A bipartisan House brownfields bill sponsored by Energy & Commerce Committee members has been cleared for floor consideration, after the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee discharged the legislation Nov. 9, but it appears highly unlikely lawmakers will attach a "good Samaritan" measure suggested by a Trump EPA official.

    522 words

  • Draft House RCRA Farm Waste Bill Draws Major Debate, Despite Revisions

    Proposed legislation that would block Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) citizen suits over farm waste disposal if the agricultural operation is working with a regulator to come into compliance drew significant debate from proponents and opponents at a recent congressional hearing, even after lawmakers pared back the bill's scope.

    1030 words

  • Key Democrat seeks subpoena to obtain documents on Superfund official

    A leading House Democrat is stepping up his effort to obtain information from a federal financial agency that barred EPA Superfund advisor Albert C. Kelly from serving in the banking sector.

    514 words

  • Judges Question North Dakota's Right To Intervene In RCRA Deadline Suit

    A three-judge appeals court panel at oral argument Nov. 7 pressed North Dakota to explain what right the state has to intervene in a settlement between EPA and environmentalists that resolves a deadline suit over the agency's delay in reviewing whether to revise Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) oil and gas industry waste rules.

    1275 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.

    984 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.

    1089 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.

    800 words

  • Lawmakers Call On DOE To Evaluate Waste Definition Changes, Cost Savings

    Lawmakers have included report language in the conferenced defense authorization bill that requires the Energy Department (DOE) to quickly evaluate the feasibility and cost savings associated with revising certain defense nuclear waste's classification as high-level radioactive waste, a move that is estimated to save billions of dollars in managing and disposing of the waste.

    912 words

  • IG Launching Examination Of Abandoned Uranium Mine Cleanups

    EPA's Inspector General (IG) is preparing to launch preliminary research into EPA's management of abandoned uranium mine cleanups in the Navajo Nation, according to a Nov. 16 notification from the IG to EPA's waste and enforcement offices, and Regions 6 and 9.

    266 words

  • Sessions' Ban On Third-Party Payments Derails EPA 'Supplemental Projects'

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions' order barring the Justice Department (DOJ) from entering into settlements that provide payments to non-governmental third parties is already derailing popular EPA supplemental environmental projects (SEPs), sources say, despite DOJ assurances that the projects can continue as long as they comply with EPA policy.

    1106 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.

    572 words

  • ECOS' Director Dunn Named EPA Region 1 Administrator

    Alexandra Dunn, the executive director of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), will become regional administrator for EPA Region 1 covering six New England states, the agency announced today.

    384 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.

    688 words

  • EPA Research Appointee Sees 'Big Data' Among Short-Term Challenges

    Interdisciplinary research, "big data," and research translation are among the biggest challenges facing EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) in the near future, Richard Yamada, President Donald Trump's top appointee to ORD, tells Inside EPA in an exclusive interview.

    984 words

  • Critics Float Legal Theories To Challenge Pruitt's Science Advisors Policy

    House Democrats and a Columbia University law professor are detailing possible legal arguments that could be used to challenge Administrator Scott Pruitt's controversial new directive barring scientists who are receiving an EPA research grant from serving on one of its scientific advisory committees.

    1181 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.

    1397 words

  • Senate Democrats Ask GAO To Review New EPA Science Advisors Policy

    A group of Senate Democrats is asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to expand its review of EPA's policies and procedures for its advisory committees to also include Administrator Scott Pruitt's new policy barring any scientist who is receiving EPA grant funding from serving on any of its advisory committees.

    546 words