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Superfund Report - 09/25/2017

  • EPA Urged To Model CERCLA Sediment Cleanups On Great Lakes Program

    Groups representing liable parties and cleanup contractors are urging EPA to borrow concepts from its Great Lakes cleanup program and create a national public-private collaborative to speed cleanups at Superfund sediment mega-sites, a shift from the litigation-driven, polluter-pays concept though one that will likely require congressional action to advance.

    1868 words

  • Pruitt Review Of Hanford Cleanup Decision Awaits Additional Consultation

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has yet to review a Superfund cleanup decision for the Hanford site in Washington state -- one of the first records of decision (RODs) scheduled for such review as part of a new centralized decision-making effort for costly cleanups -- with no sign-off expected until after an additional consultation with a Native American tribe scheduled for next month, according to the agency.

    857 words

  • Bolstering Pruitt's Superfund Reforms, EPA Plans To Prioritize Regional Staff

    After years of resisting calls to incorporate workload analysis into its resource allocations, EPA's waste office has agreed to prioritize most Superfund sites and assign personnel according to those priorities, though the agency is suggesting a "more measured approach" than what the agency's Inspector General (IG) originally sought.

    993 words

  • Pruitt Draws Concern Over Top Superfund Official's Banking Violations

    Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), ranking Democrat on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, is urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to limit the role that his senior advisor, Albert Kelly, should take in overseeing the Superfund program because of his recent prohibition from banking activities due to past financial law violations.

    556 words

  • Democratic Senators Seek Details On EPA Staff Cuts, Reorganization Efforts

    Senate Democrats are pressing EPA officials to explain their efforts to reorganize the agency and implement staff buyouts, including whether they conducted "any analysis" of how ongoing staff reductions would affect agency activities and public health before implementing the staff cuts.

    791 words

  • Groups Ask IG To Investigate EPA's Grants Review By Political Appointee

    The Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) are asking EPA's Inspector General (IG) Arthur Elkins to investigate Administrator Scott Pruitt's decision to have a political appointee from the agency's public affairs office review and approve all grants awarded by the agency.

    659 words

  • EPA Seeks Stay Of Coal Ash Litigation While Reconsidering Regulation

    EPA is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hold litigation over the 2015 coal ash disposal rule in abeyance for at least 120 days while the agency reconsiders its regulation -- a request that, if granted, would set up a potential years-long stay of the suit -- including portions not under reconsideration.

    673 words

  • Environmentalists Aim To Preserve EPA Coal Ash Rule Enforcement Suit

    Environmentalists are urging a federal district court to preserve their citizen enforcement suit against Duke Energy saying that its plans to close a North Carolina coal ash impoundment violate EPA's coal ash disposal rule -- one of the first such suits to be filed -- despite the company's claim that there can be no violation of the rule until closure begins.

    684 words

  • Trump Officials See Budget Gain, Rule Reforms Speeding DOE Cleanups

    Trump administration officials say plans to increase funds for the Energy Department's (DOE) massive cleanup program by almost $500 million next year, as well as eased regulatory requirements, will allow them to speed cleanups, a change from the prior administration which warned of a significant gap between regulatory mandates and available funds.

    1657 words

  • Communities Seek Waste Definition Changes To Lower DOE Cleanup Costs

    Communities surrounding the Energy Department's (DOE) nuclear weapons cleanup sites have released a report advocating for legal and policy changes to waste definitions that they say would save the department billions of dollars in its environmental management program and speed cleanups and waste management plans.

    873 words

  • New Mexico Citizens Group Charges DOE With Evading RCRA Permitting

    A New Mexico citizens group is asking EPA's Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to overturn an EPA Region 6 decision to maintain a Clean Water Act permit for an Energy Department (DOE) facility in the state, saying the permit has effectively shielded the facility from more stringent hazardous waste law regulation and contradicts two federal appellate court rulings.

    996 words

  • EPA, States Hold Talks To Improve Enforcement With Enhanced Collaboration

    JACKSON HOLE, WY -- EPA and state officials have started discussions on how to improve state and federal cooperation on enforcement, seeking to better align priorities and allocate resources, while addressing their differing perceptions on what aspects of enforcement are currently working or need improvement.

    958 words

  • Fighting FY18 Cuts, ECOS Makes Preserving STAG Funds Top FY19 Priority

    JACKSON HOLE, WY -- Even as they press EPA and Congress to reverse the Trump administration's proposed cuts to EPA's budget in fiscal year 2018, state environmental regulators are outlining top priorities for the agency's FY19 budget, including consistent funding for core programs, greater flexibility for states to use the funds and increased efficiency.

    1331 words

  • Facing Disaster Responses, States Press EPA For Flexibility, Assistance

    JACKSON HOLE, WY -- With forest fires raging in the West and two major hurricanes recently battering Texas and the Southeast, state regulators are urging the Trump administration to give states greater flexibility to shift federal funding toward combating future disasters, and to speed regulatory waivers to address releases caused by such events.

    916 words

  • Colorado Suit Seeks To Enforce RCRA Controls After Negotiations Fail

    Colorado regulators, frustrated with nearly a decade of failed talks over attempts to ensure the enforceability of institutional controls (ICs) and long-term operation and maintenance at the former Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA), CO, are resorting to litigation against the United States to force federal agencies to comply with Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA)-delegated requirements.

    1201 words

  • House Approves FY18 Spending Bill With EPA Cuts, Policy Riders

    House lawmakers have approved spending legislation for EPA in fiscal year 2018 that would cut the agency's budget by hundreds of millions of dollars below FY17 levels, fund agency buyouts, and restrict agency policies, including riders delaying implementation of ozone standards, blocking enforcement of the oil and gas methane rule and restricting payment of legal fees in environmental settlements.

    680 words

  • Senate Authorizes FY18 Funding For Military Site PFAS Cleanups

    The Senate has approved a fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill that includes language directing the Navy and Air Force to spend approximately $62 million on cleaning up contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as well as authorizing $7 million for a study on the health effects of PFAS.

    461 words

  • Novel Enforcement Case Driving GOP Effort To Overhaul EPA's IRIS Program

    Republicans on the House science committee are citing novel EPA and state enforcement efforts at a Louisiana chemical plant, based on a cancer risk estimate for chloroprene from the agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), to make the case for their efforts to de-fund or overhaul the program, starting with a budget rider that would eliminate any IRIS funding in fiscal year 2018.

    1538 words

  • Facing Uncertainty, SAB Invites Pruitt To Discuss 'Ongoing Future Role'

    Fearing the Trump administration may decide to sidestep seeking its advice, EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) is making the case to Administrator Scott Pruitt to continue using the board, inviting him to attend an upcoming meeting to share his views of the panel's future role while reminding him of some of SAB's past reviews.

    827 words

  • Pruitt Faces Challenges Replacing Departing CASAC, SAB Members

    With appointments for numerous EPA science advisors expiring at the end of the month, Administrator Scott Pruitt faces challenges selecting new members to the agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and Science Advisory Board (SAB), selections that could intensify criticism over the administration's scientific views.

    1295 words