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Superfund Report - 06/18/2018

  • Industry Urges High Court To Reverse Ruling Expanding CERCLA Reviews

    Industry and free-market groups are backing calls by oil giant Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) for the Supreme Court to reverse a Montana state court ruling that they say would weaken the Superfund law's bar on judicial review of ongoing cleanup remedies and frustrate EPA's ability to reach settlements with potentially responsible parties (PRPs).

    1428 words

  • Litigants Clash Over Reach Of Ruling On CERCLA Third-Party Defense

    California regulators and a tax-sale property buyer are at odds over whether a federal appeals court should reconsider its precedent-setting ruling that blocked the property buyer from using the Superfund law's third-party defense as a shield against liability, which the buyer says will leave local taxing authorities "stuck" with contaminated properties.

    1478 words

  • D.C. Circuit Denies Further Review Of Mining Company's NPL Listing Suit

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected a mining company's request to reconsider the court's ruling upholding an EPA Superfund listing decision to include the mining company's property as part of a multi-mine site.

    458 words

  • EPA's Planned Changes To Brownfields Liability Guide Draw Industry Praise

    EPA staff has begun drafting revisions to 2003 brownfields guidance that outlines when developers can qualify for limited liability protection under the Superfund law, responding to recommendations from Administrator Scott Pruitt's Superfund Task Force and longstanding calls from industry for greater clarity in the wake of controversial legal rulings.

    1625 words

  • Attorney Urges EPA To Ease Way For More Cleanup Liability Transfers

    An industry attorney is pressing EPA take steps to ease the way for liable parties at contaminated sites to make greater use of cleanup liability transfers, including encouraging a "portfolio" approach that packages numerous sites together in a single transfer.

    1054 words

  • EPA Eyes Individual PFAS But Sees Limits In Chemical-Specific Approach

    Even as EPA moves to assess and possibly regulate several individual perfluorinated chemicals, the agency's top policy official on the issue is acknowledging that given the thousands of chemicals in the class, they will eventually have to be considered in groups rather than individually, an approach that the agency has previously struggled to advance.

    1258 words

  • Lawmakers Seek Six-Year Extension For Controversial UST Requirements

    Dozens of House and Senate lawmakers are urging EPA to extend by six years an October deadline for inspections of underground storage tanks (USTs), saying the requirement will place an overwhelming financial burden on fuel retailers, especially small businesses, an argument fuel retailers made when EPA crafted the requirement in 2015.

    995 words

  • EPA Sends Final Coal Ash Rule Revisions For White House Review

    EPA has sent the final version of its first revisions to the 2014 coal ash disposal rule for White House review, teeing up a court challenge if the agency enacts its proposals to add a host of flexibilities that environmentalists have said are "fatally flawed" and lack legal justification under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

    611 words

  • Industry Says Pruitt's Proposed California NPL Listing Politically Motivated

    Industry parties are charging that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's decision to propose an Orange County, CA, contaminated site to Superfund's National Priorities List (NPL) -- and to his list of sites receiving extra scrutiny -- is politically motivated, rather than scientifically backed, although a host of cities and state lawmakers says a listing is warranted because a key regional water supply is being threatened by the pollution.

    1213 words

  • EPA Strengthens Internal Review Of Science Rule As SAB Seeks Scrutiny

    Top EPA officials have decided to strengthen the internal agency review of Administrator Scott Pruitt's controversial proposed rule requiring the use of publicly available research to justify rules just as the agency's Science Advisory Board (SAB) voted unanimously to review the measure amid broad criticisms.

    1385 words

  • IRIS Poised To Restart Stalled Studies On Arsenic, Cr6 Under New Schedule

    EPA's influential Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program is slated to release new protocols for its long-running assessments of the human health risks of arsenic and hexavalent chromium (Cr6) -- two ubiquitous and potent contaminants -- in the fall, part of a revamped schedule of priorities for the controversial program.

    1602 words

  • Trump Faces Growing Calls From Republicans, Conservatives To Fire Pruitt

    Key Republican lawmakers and other Trump administration allies are heightening their concerns about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's ethics scandals, with many influential conservatives publicly calling for President Donald Trump to fire Pruitt or at least floating a scenario in which he leaves the agency.

    1367 words

  • House Democrats Seek FBI, DOJ Criminal Investigation Into Pruitt's Ethics

    Democrats are intensifying their campaign against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt over his alleged ethics violations, with six House lawmakers asking that the FBI and Justice Department (DOJ) look into possible criminal violations stemming from Pruitt's efforts to obtain a fast-food franchise for his wife and his past lease of a lobbyist-owned condo.

    1237 words

  • As RMP Rollback Looms, GAO Raises Concerns Over Chemical Data Sharing

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is urging lawmakers to bolster chemical information sharing between facilities and communities even as EPA is proposing to scrap some of the provisions of the Obama-era final rule updating its facility accident prevention program that would bolster such sharing of facility data.

    1514 words

  • DOI Agrees To GAO Call For Strengthening Policies On Oil, Gas Wells

    The Interior Department (DOI) has agreed to further strengthen its policies in managing financial risks the department assumes for pollution from orphaned oil and natural gas wells overseen by its Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in response to findings and recommendations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

    703 words

  • Senate FY19 Bill Retains EPA's $8 Billion Funding, Excludes Policy Riders

    The Senate Appropriations Committee interior panel that oversees EPA's funding has approved fiscal year 2019 legislation that would retain the agency's existing $8.058 billion and exclude any new controversial riders affecting EPA policies, setting up a clash with the House's bill that would cut funding and includes several contested riders.

    891 words

  • Senators Fail To Reach Deal On Ethics Oversight Measure In EPA FY19 Bill

    Senate appropriators have failed, for now, to reach agreement on including language in EPA's pending fiscal year 2019 funding bill that would make violations of federal ethics standards a violation of appropriations law, a measure Democrats say is driven by scandals at agencies including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's controversies.

    890 words

  • EPA Narrows Scope Of First 10 TSCA Assessments, Drawing Criticisms

    EPA is further narrowing its approach for assessing the risks of the first 10 "existing" chemicals it is reviewing for possible regulation under the new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), issuing problem formulation documents that preclude consideration of risks that other agency programs are already addressing.

    1117 words

  • Despite TSCA Evaluations, EPA Leaves Door Open To New TCE, NMP Rules

    EPA says it could still promulgate stalled Obama-era proposals to regulate two chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) even though the agency says in recently issued "problem formulation" documents that it is planning to re-evaluate risks that the previous administration had already assessed.

    557 words

  • EPA Asks IRS To Ease Settlement Reporting Mandate Under New Tax Law

    EPA and other agencies are asking the IRS to ease -- or drop -- requirements in a proposed guidance on reporting the estimated value of environmental and other enforcement settlements, data the IRS is expected to use to ensure compliance with strict new deduction provisions contained in the tax law President Donald Trump signed late last year.

    1308 words

  • EPA Unveils Prerule To Overhaul Agency Cost-Benefit Review Process

    EPA is formally launching a rulemaking that has the potential to overhaul how the agency considers regulatory costs and benefits across a wide range of air, water, toxics and other statutes, arguing the effort could address the "perceived inconsistency and lack of transparency" in prior cost-benefit reviews.

    1333 words

  • Funding Limits Force Environmentalists To Target EPA's Near-Term Rollbacks

    Faced with resource limits, a key environmental group is focusing its opposition to EPA by targeting its near-term rollbacks of Obama-era rules and other deregulatory efforts, as critics of the Trump administration scramble to keep up with a huge list of lawsuits, public comments and other actions in response to Administrator Scott Pruitt's agenda.

    1061 words