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Superfund Report - 04/23/2018

  • Top Democrats Urge EPA To Quickly Craft Enforceable SDWA Limit For PFAS

    More than two dozen Democratic senators are urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to quickly develop an enforceable, federal standard under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), though agency officials have said that development of such a standard would be a "multi-year" effort.

    1133 words

  • House Lawmakers Seek Expedited EPA Rulemaking For PFAS Standard

    A bipartisan group of House lawmakers, whose districts are affected by drinking water contaminants such as perfluorinated chemicals, is urging appropriators to adopt report language that requires EPA to conduct an expedited rulemaking to craft a standard for the substances, pushing back on agency concerns that such an effort could drag on for years.

    879 words

  • Previewing Hearing, Environmentalists Fault EPA Coal Ash Rule Revisions

    Environmentalists are previewing their testimony for EPA's April 24 hearing on the agency's planned revisions to its coal ash disposal rule, warning that the changes would increase risks to children's health by removing a mandate to protect sensitive subpopulations and harm communities by ending a requirement to quickly clean up ash spills.

    897 words

  • FY18 Deal Funds EPA Work On Backstop Federal Coal Ash Permit Program

    The fiscal year 2018 omnibus deal contains a little-noticed provision approving funding for a new EPA Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) coal ash permitting program, with utilities and the ash reuse sector urging the agency to quickly develop the program as a backstop for states that opt against creating their own permit programs.

    1138 words

  • EPA Floats 'Secret Science' Ban Rule, Signaling Possible Internal Fixes

    EPA has sent for White House review a proposed rule to increase the transparency of regulatory science, advancing Administrator Scott Pruitt's controversial efforts to ban the use of "secret science" in a move that suggests officials have addressed at least some internal concerns that such a policy could violate statutory protections of medical privacy and trade secrets.

    1219 words

  • OIRA Working With EPA To Develop 'Best Practices' On Scientific Data

    White House regulatory chief Neomi Rao says her staff is working with EPA on developing a policy on the use of scientific data that underlies its rules, suggesting that the agency may take a softer approach than Administrator Scott Pruitt had signaled when he said he would require the agency to rely only on publicly available data to justify its rules.

    731 words

  • NAS Praises EPA's Efforts To Improve IRIS, Underscoring Congress' Action

    The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is praising EPA's efforts to improve its influential but controversial risk analysis program, the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), and even backs supporters' efforts to keep Republicans from consolidating the program with EPA's toxics office, underscoring steps Congress took in EPA's recent budget bill.

    1218 words

  • EPA Outlines Scope Of IRIS Assessment For Ammonia Ingestion Risks

    Underscoring EPA plans for targeted chemical evaluations, EPA has released for comment its plan for developing an Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of the non-cancer human health risks of ingesting ammonia, following the agency's development of non-cancer inhalation risk values for ammonia in 2016.

    601 words

  • Reverse Distributors Appeal To EPA On Pharmaceutical Waste Rule

    Reverse distributors of pharmaceuticals are making a final push for EPA to ease its draft pharmaceutical waste rule's determination that returned drugs are "waste" once they reach a reverse distributor, arguing for changes as the agency eyes issuing a final rule this summer.

    1239 words

  • States, EPA Prioritize NPDES Permits, Cleanups In Talks On Faster Reviews

    State regulators are urging EPA to examine its regions' processes for reviewing certain state wastewater permits and hazardous waste cleanups as priority areas for states and EPA officials' ongoing discussions on speeding federal reviews of state decisions.

    1584 words

  • States Urge EPA To Target Regions' Staffing Levels In Push For Consistency

    Faced with bipartisan opposition in Congress, top EPA officials appear to have abandoned earlier plans to consolidate agency regions and are now being urged to target some regions' staffing levels as part of their effort to ensure greater consistency in how regional offices oversee state programs.

    906 words

  • EPA Urges Local Officials To Adopt Pre-Disaster Climate Adaptation Plans

    EPA is urging local government officials to adopt "worst-case" climate adaptation plans to limit damage from future natural disasters, a stance that appears to be at odds with the Trump administration's general resistance to acknowledging and addressing climate change and its adverse impacts.

    1386 words

  • DOE Eyes Superfund Reforms As Path To Improving Regulator Relations

    The Energy Department's environmental management (EM) office is seeking to revamp its relationships with cleanup regulators, eying Superfund reforms EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is implementing, such as revisions to the dispute resolution process, as well as the Trump administration's broader regulatory review push.

    1274 words

  • As Trump Backs Pruitt, Opponents Question His Deregulatory Effectiveness

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's job seems safe for now, after President Donald Trump strongly came to his defense earlier this month, largely dismissing ethical concerns in favor of his "bold actions at EPA," but others are questioning just how effective Pruitt -- often called one of Trump's most accomplished Cabinet members -- has actually been.

    1666 words

  • Democrats Renew Calls For Pruitt's Firing After Aide Details Ethics Claims

    Top Democrats are intensifying their calls for President Donald Trump to fire EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after Kevin Chmielewski, a top political appointee at the agency who clashed with Pruitt, detailed in a recent interview a host of the administrator's ethics and spending practices that have created a crisis that continues to plague the EPA chief.

    1196 words

  • EPA IG Launches Latest In Series Of Probes Into Pruitt Ethics Scandals

    EPA's Inspector General (IG) has launched a new probe into the employment history of a former top aide to Administrator Scott Pruitt, the latest in a series of investigations or possible inquiries in response to the growing ethics scandals plaguing the administrator.

    1144 words

  • IG 'Alert' Highlights Unclear Pruitt Role In Controversial EPA Staff Raises

    EPA's Inspector General (IG) has released an "alert" memo that appears to indicate controversial raises for several agency staff using Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authority were authorized by agency Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson, though it remains unclear whether Administrator Scott Pruitt knew about or approved the pay hikes.

    683 words

  • EPA Details Plan To Craft Lead Dust Rule, Bolstering Environmentalists

    EPA has detailed a lengthy list of actions it plans to take to update its policies addressing lead paint, actions that leave one environmentalist cautiously optimistic about the changes EPA is expected to make to its lead-paint dust standard for when renovators in residential buildings must conduct abatement by a new court-ordered deadline.

    1436 words

  • NRDC Urges EPA To Craft Perchlorate Limit After Review Backs Model

    Environmentalists are renewing their calls for EPA to craft a drinking water standard for the rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate after a peer review panel found that the latest version of the agency's model to inform development of a health goal for the substance is "fit for purpose."

    911 words

  • Environmentalists Urge OMB To Retain RMP Rule In Face Of Likely Rollback

    Environmental, labor and public interest groups are urging White House officials to preserve and quickly implement the Obama-era rule bolstering EPA's facility accident prevention program, even as the Trump administration prepares to issue a plan that is widely expected to scale back the regulation.

    861 words

  • U.S., Colorado File Objections To Magistrate's Findings In Waste Law Suit

    The United States and state of Colorado are both partially objecting to recommendations by a federal magistrate judge in a case where the state is seeking claims against the Army and Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to force them to comply with post-closure waste requirements at a former arsenal, testing the state's ability to enforce land use controls at contaminated sites.

    1672 words

  • EPA Backs Away From Obama NextGen Initiative But Impact Uncertain

    EPA's enforcement office has followed through with expected plans to back away from an Obama-era policy, known as Next Generation Enforcement (NextGen), that required broad consideration of innovative approaches in civil settlements, though one EPA source harbors doubts the new approach will mark a significant change in practice.

    375 words