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Superfund Report - 01/15/2018

  • Pruitt's Push For Stricter Cleanups May 'Shake Up' Deregulatory Narrative

    Even as he works to ease a range of EPA regulatory policies, Administrator Scott Pruitt appears to be adopting strict Superfund cleanup requirements, prompting concern from industry officials who say the remedy EPA selected at a Texas site -- which even accounts for potential climate change impacts -- may preview what will be required at other locations.

    1485 words

  • Industry Unnerved By Pruitt's Push For Excavation At Some Superfund Sites

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's close oversight of high-profile Superfund cleanup decisions, as well as strict remedies he has supported for some sites, is drawing concern among potentially responsible parties (PRPs) that the administrator is signaling plans to embrace costlier excavation remedies at some sites.

    1509 words

  • PRPs Urge EPA To Avoid Broad Excavation At West Lake Landfill Site

    Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) at the West Lake Landfill site in Bridgeton, MO, are urging EPA officials to avoid a broad excavation remedy as Administrator Scott Pruitt prepares to announce a cleanup remedy at the high-profile Superfund site.

    693 words

  • Communities Gain New EPA Access On Superfund But Questions Remain

    Community representatives say they are gaining welcome new access to EPA headquarters officials on Superfund remediation issues in the wake of Administrator Scott Pruitt's new focus on the issue, though some activists remain skeptical that Pruitt will act on communities' preferred cleanup approaches and are in a wait-and-see mode.

    1348 words

  • EPA Delays Cleanup Completion At Hudson While Touting NPL Deletions

    Despite Administrator Scott Pruitt's push to quickly complete Superfund cleanups, EPA Region 2 is delaying a closely-watched decision on whether to grant General Electric's (GE) request to declare the massive Hudson River cleanup complete, signaling it is carefully weighing stiff opposition to the request from New York and federal resource trustees who charge more cleanup is needed.

    940 words

  • EPA Adds Sites To Superfund NPL, Despite Push To Delete Listings

    Even as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is claiming credit for deleting hazardous waste sites from Superfund's National Priorities List (NPL), the agency is adding new sites to the list, including two of which are already part of Pruitt's list of sites receiving his immediate oversight.

    598 words

  • Environmentalists Downplay Loss In Legal Battle For Stricter Ash Disposal

    Environmentalists pursuing a legal strategy of suing utilities in a bid to win court rulings forcing stricter coal ash disposal controls are downplaying a recent district court ruling that found no Clean Water Act (CWA) liability for a utility's ash leaks to groundwater, saying the decision is wrong and will be superseded by a pending appeal.

    1079 words

  • District Court Ruling Deals Setback To Legal Bid For Stricter Ash Disposal

    A federal district court judge in Kentucky has blocked a suit by environmentalists that claimed cleanup measures at a coal ash impoundment slated for closure are not protective enough to satisfy federal waste and water laws, dealing a setback to the groups' strategy of site-specific lawsuits over ash disposal that has scored victories in other courts.

    948 words

  • EPA Continues Work On PFAS, But Rules Unlikely Despite Growing Pressure

    Despite growing attention to contamination from perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS), EPA is unlikely in the near term to develop enforceable cleanup standards, leaving it up to states to shoulder the responsibility for what may become a patchwork of standards even as public pressure to address the issue grows.

    1487 words

  • Michigan Moves Quickly To Set, Enforce New PFAS Cleanup Standards

    Michigan regulators have wasted little time enforcing their new drinking water standard for two perfluorinated chemicals, filing suit under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) to compel continued cleanup of tannery wastes containing the chemicals on the same day that it codified EPA's health advisory levels for the substances.

    720 words

  • 9th Circuit Sets Speedy Deadline For EPA To Update Lead Dust Standards

    A divided appellate panel has ordered EPA to propose updates to its 2001 lead dust hazard standard within 90 days, and take final action no later than a year after that, backing environmental and health groups who charged that the agency has ignored Congress' intent to revise the standards based on new information.

    1088 words

  • High-Level 'Awareness Reviews' Stall EPA's FOIA Releases, Prompting Suits

    Senior EPA officials are reviewing some documents before their release to environmentalists under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), delaying the documents' release and prompting new suits from several groups seeking to challenge the delays as unlawful and win the documents release.

    637 words

  • EPA Resists IG Calls To Tighten Waste Rules For Self-Insurance Mechanisms

    EPA's enforcement and waste offices are rejecting inspector general's findings that billions of public dollars are at risk by allowing liable companies to rely on self-insurance mechanisms to cover their cleanup liabilities, and questioning calls to conduct a study to determine the need for new rules to increase disclosures and limit uses of the mechanism.

    1108 words

  • EPA Budget Fights, Oversight Likely Supersede Major Hill Legislation In 2018

    EPA's Capitol Hill critics face murky prospects for moving significant legislation in 2018 to limit the agency's authority, but the agency still faces threats from a continued budget squeeze, as well as oversight by both backers and critics of the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda.

    1576 words

  • GAO Agrees To Investigate Natural Disaster Risks To Superfund Sites

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to investigate how well EPA is prepared to protect Superfund sites from the impacts of natural disasters caused by climate change, following a request last year from Democratic senators who serve on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

    388 words

  • House Bill Would Force EPA Payments For Gold King Mine Spill

    Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-NM) is pushing a new version of his bill that aims to force EPA to pay back individuals, businesses and state and local governments for damages they suffered in the 2015 Gold King Mine wastewater spill, citing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's pledge to re-examine such claims as justifying a fresh push for the legislation.

    557 words

  • Pruitt's Push To Overhaul EPA Science Likely To Remain Controversial

    Administrator Scott Pruitt's efforts to overhaul EPA's science are likely to remain controversial in 2018, with Democrats and environmentalists challenging cuts to agency research and an overhaul of its scientific advisory boards even as some conservative groups say some of his efforts on climate science are not going far enough.

    1420 words

  • Science Advisory Board Director To Retire, Furthering Panel's Erosion

    The director of the EPA staff office that manages its Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) is retiring, further eroding institutional memory within some of EPA's highest profile advisory committees after Administrator Scott Pruitt's controversial efforts to overhaul their memberships.

    469 words

  • Senate Democrats Query Pruitt On New EPA Advisors' Conflicts Of Interest

    Two Senate Democrats are raising concerns over EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's recent selection of two scientists to join agency advisory panels, citing claims in public comments that the advisors have conflicts of interest because they have received funding from industry groups and saying they may lack "appropriate" scientific qualifications.

    837 words

  • EPA Plans Response To Competing Views On Uranium Groundwater Protection Rule

    EPA plans to respond to both the head of the Senate environment committee and environmentalists over competing views on whether the agency should withdraw a draft groundwater protection rule for in-situ uranium mining and enter into an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to clarify limits on EPA's authority governing such standards.

    1462 words

  • EPA's Deregulatory Agenda Tees Up New Legal Battles Over Limits Of APA

    EPA's aggressive deregulatory agenda to undo Obama-era policies through stays, reconsiderations, rewrites and repeals of regulations dating back years is teeing up legal battles that pose major new tests for the limits of the Administrative Procedure Act's (APA) restrictions on how agencies make and undo their rules.

    1585 words

  • Plan To Close Regions Seen As Unworkable For Superfund, A Pruitt Priority

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's draft plan to close regional offices and move the staff to each of the 50 states is likely unworkable in practice, according to a former top agency official, who says it would be costly to implement and would likely delay Superfund cleanups that the administrator has promised to speed up.

    845 words

  • EPA Denies Reports Of Pruitt's Interest In AG Slot Should Sessions Depart

    EPA is denying reports that Administrator Scott Pruitt has voiced interest in taking over the Justice Department if embattled Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions steps down due to President Donald Trump's anger over his recusal from the investigation into the Trump campaign's involvement with Russia.

    857 words

  • Trump Taps Nuclear Engineer To Lead Energy Department Cleanup Program

    The White House has announced its intent to nominate Anne White, a nuclear engineer with credentials in the nuclear regulatory compliance and waste management areas, to lead the Energy Department's (DOE) environmental management program that oversees an annual $6 billion in nuclear cleanup work.

    466 words