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Superfund Report - 12/03/2018

  • Northeast State Officials Eye Organized Approach On Assessing PFAS Risks

    Prompted by a federal agency's strict draft risk values released earlier this year, toxicologists in New York and other Northeast states have held a dialogue on the risks posed by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), an early informal, coordinated effort to prepare for a possible review should state regulators decide to craft drinking water standards.

    1628 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.

    950 words

  • As EPA Weighs Plan, Rural Utilities Urge Wheeler To 'Resist' PFAS Limit

    As EPA prepares to consider its long-awaited plan to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of rural utilities is urging acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler "to resist calls for a national" drinking water standard for PFAS, asking the agency instead to focus on alternative methods to deal with contamination rather than regulation.

    1011 words

  • EPA Expanding Validated Testing Methods For PFAS In Various Media

    As public concerns about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) mount, EPA has updated and expanded its validated test methods for identifying the chemicals in drinking water, a move that will help laboratories determine which PFAS compounds are present in drinking water.

    964 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.

    546 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.

    1186 words

  • 6th Circuit Orders Response To CWA Groundwater Suit Rehearing Bid

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit is ordering the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to respond to environmentalists' bid for rehearing of a decision that rejected Clean Water Act (CWA) liability for pollution that travels through groundwater to surface waters -- a signal that at least some judges could be considering granting the petition.

    516 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.

    816 words

  • Mining Groups Argue Existing Rules Make EPA Financial Reg Unnecessary

    A host of mining industry groups is defending EPA's decision to drop a rule creating first-ever Superfund financial assurance requirements for the hardrock mining sector, detailing to a federal circuit court how existing state and federal regulations are stringent enough to make any additional EPA requirements unnecessary, duplicative and onerous to the industry.

    1443 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.

    1199 words

  • Industry Intervenors Oppose Environmentalists' Suit Over DSW Rule

    Industry parties intervening in litigation brought by environmentalists over EPA's revised definition of solid waste (DSW) rule are urging a federal appellate court to dismiss the case for a variety of reasons, including the court's lack of jurisdiction and that it already resolved these same legal issues in earlier litigation.

    771 words

  • 6th Circuit Lets RCRA Groundwater Suit Stand Despite State Cleanup Plan

    Appellate judges have rejected a Kentucky power plant's rehearing request that sought to block environmentalists' Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) suit over groundwater contamination there, letting stand a three-judge panel's decision that says the case can proceed even though Kentucky has crafted its own cleanup plan for the site.

    507 words

  • Justices Reject Case On Environmental Penalties For Corporate Officers

    The Supreme Court has rejected a petition that called for limiting criminal and civil penalties against individual corporate officers who violate environmental laws, letting stand a decision by the Texas Supreme Court that imposed a $367,250 fine on the owner of a land-holding company for violations of the state's contaminated-site laws.

    470 words

  • 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.

    1478 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.

    1190 words

  • Utilities Urge EPA To Fix SDWA Constitutional Concern In Perchlorate Rule

    Rural water utilities are suggesting that a provision in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that gives the EPA administrator "sole judgment" to determine new contaminants may be vulnerable to a constitutional challenge under the "non-delegation" doctrine, and are urging the agency to address the issue in an upcoming rule governing perchlorate.

    1388 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.

    664 words

  • EPA Updates Superfund Site Emphasis List, Adds New Criteria

    EPA Nov. 20 announced the third revision to its list of Superfund sites to receive priority attention from Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, updating the criteria it uses to consider sites for the emphasis list while dropping the high-profile West Lake Landfill site in Bridgeton, MO, after a much-anticipated cleanup decision earlier this year.

    796 words

  • NEJAC Will Examine Equitable Cleanups, Site Reuse, Risk Communication

    EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) Nov. 28 approved charge questions from the agency's waste office, calling on it to offer recommendations on improving EPA relationships with communities on effective and equitable cleanups and site reuse, and in ensuring the agency clearly communicates risk to communities.

    753 words

  • EPA Plans To Use Existing Policy Tools For Limited Third-Party Oversight

    In response to a Superfund reform recommendation to pursue greater use of third parties in overseeing cleanups, EPA's Superfund enforcement office has concluded it will not embrace states' third-party licensed site professional (LSP) programs but rather will use existing policy-based tools that allow for limited third-party activities, with a goal of more efficient oversight.

    572 words

  • Army Orders Reduced Open Burning, As NAS Eyes Alternative Methods

    The Army's installations and environment office has ordered the service's commands to immediately seek to reduce the open-burning of explosives waste in the face of ongoing pressure from citizens groups to end the practice just as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is slated to suggest demilitarization alternatives to open burning/open detonation (OB/OD) of munitions.

    777 words

  • EPA Region 4 Administrator Resigns After Alabama Ethics Law Indictment

    EPA Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn has resigned from the agency after his Nov. 13 indictment for allegedly violating Alabama's ethics laws, ending a 14-month tenure at the agency.

    336 words