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Superfund Report - 02/27/2017

  • 9th Circuit Judges Question Categorical CWA Preemption Of RCRA Claims

    A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit at oral argument Feb. 17 raised questions over whether a lower court had overreached when it ruled that the Clean Water Act (CWA) categorically preempts Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) claims.

    1185 words

  • District Court Allows RCRA Emerging Contaminant Claim To Move Forward

    A federal district court is allowing a Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) citizen suit to go forward, potentially paving the way for widening what is considered “imminent and substantial endangerment” under the law to include emerging contaminants.

    1078 words

  • EFAB Wrestles With Identifying Sustainable Recycling Program Financing

    Members of EPA's Environment Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) are wrestling with how to respond to an agency charge to identify strategies for more sustainable financing of domestic recycling programs and infrastructure that are still able to address the high volume and variety of materials entering waste streams.

    1309 words

  • Consumer Group Presses EPA To Move Ahead On Aerosol Can Policy

    A consumer products group is pressing EPA to stick to its plan to add aerosol cans to the agency's universal waste rules, reiterating their advocacy for the move in a meeting with EPA waste officials earlier this month.

    459 words

  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Details Priorities, Principles For Agency

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, sworn in Feb. 17 shortly after his Senate confirmation, has begun to detail some of his priorities and principles for his time in office.

    911 words

  • Pruitt's Lack Of EPA Experience Raises Concern As His Team May Face Delay

    Newly installed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may have to wait months to have his senior leadership team in place as concern grows that he will be running a large federal agency that he does not understand -- and did not attempt to do so ahead of his Feb. 17 Senate confirmation vote, Pruitt's supporters inside and outside the agency say.

    1893 words

  • Staff Opposition Expected To Hamper Pruitt's Agenda As EPA Administrator

    Newly confirmed Administrator Scott Pruitt will use his first day at EPA headquarters Feb. 21 to address staff about his plans as agency chief, though his pledges to rollback Obama rules and otherwise curtail the agency will face a skeptical or even hostile reception from employees who doubt his commitment to EPA's core mission of protecting public health and the environment.

    1701 words

  • Trump EPA Said To Consider Cutting 'Duplicative' Regional Functions

    Trump administration advisers appear to be considering significant cuts to EPA regional office activities that could be described as “duplicative” of state environmental programs, according to a former agency official, who characterizes the ideas as preliminary.

    1154 words

  • As Pruitt Confirmed, McCarthy Urges Staff To Focus On Protecting Health

    As Scott Pruitt prepares to be sworn in as the next EPA administrator, his predecessor, Gina McCarthy, is urging agency staff to remain focused on actions to protect public health and the environment, rather than on what might happen under the Trump administration.

    1076 words

  • EPA Extends Time For Input On Mining Finance Rule Following Major Pressure

    EPA has granted requests from lawmakers as well as the mining and other industries to extend the time for groups to weigh in on its controversial, first-time Superfund financial assurance rule for the hardrock mining sector, even as the agency faces a Dec. 1 court-ordered deadline to take final action on a rule.

    1645 words

  • EPA Claims No Liability For Gold King Spill In Call To Dismiss Pending Suit

    EPA is arguing that it cannot be held responsible in court for its role in the 2015 Gold King Mine wastewater spill because the agency was trying to clean up pre-existing contamination at the former mine site, saying liability rests with the former owners who allowed the contamination to build up and that the suit over EPA's role should be dismissed.

    986 words

  • Shimkus Eyes Bipartisan Brownfields Push In Lieu Of Overhauling Air Law

    Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) says he hopes lawmakers can reach bipartisan compromise on legislation to reform EPA's brownfields redevelopment program similar to the broad consensus he helped achieve on last year's overhaul of federal toxics law, in lieu of more sweeping changes to the Clean Air Act that Democrats are refusing to entertain.

    1314 words

  • House Lawmakers Weigh Options For Potential Reform Of Brownfields Law

    House Democrats and Republicans are weighing options for a nascent push to reform the brownfields law as a rare bipartisan legislative effort that could gain broad support in the 115th Congress, with options including how to boost funding for EPA's brownfields program and possible steps to make the existing law more flexible.

    652 words

  • Pruitt Urged To Fulfill PFOA Testing Pledge As State Advances Water Limit

    Community campaigners are urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to fulfill a pledge he gave during his Senate confirmation to test drinking water in communities that may contain the emerging contaminant perflouorooctanoic acid (PFOA), while New Jersey pushes ahead with developing possibly the strictest PFOA limit in the country.

    1278 words

  • EPA TSCA Review Plan Sparks Debate Over Scope Of 'Uses' To Consider

    EPA's plan to use authority under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to review 10 chemicals is sparking debate between the chemical industry and environmentalists over the uses of the substances the agency should weigh in its risk reviews, with a former EPA official urging EPA to collect a broad set of data.

    1483 words

  • EPA Limiting Asbestos Chemical Evaluation To Six Forms Under TSCA

    EPA is limiting its review of asbestos under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to the definition of asbestos in the statute, agency staff announced at a recent stakeholders meeting where speakers clashed over which uses EPA should pursue.

    1623 words

  • GAO Says TSCA May Help End 'High Risk' Status Of EPA Chemical Reviews

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says revisions to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) could help move EPA's chemical risk assessment program off GAO's list of programs that pose a “high risk” of fraud, waste or abuse, because the updated law will help EPA take steps to address the watchdog's long-running concerns.

    971 words

  • EPA Extends TCE Rules' Input Deadline Over Environmentalists' Opposition

    EPA has granted in part chemical makers' request to extend the comment deadline for two proposed rules to ban uses of the ubiquitous solvent and cleaning agent trichloroethylene (TCE) using EPA's revamped Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority, over the objections of environmentalists who say any delay will harm human health.

    1050 words

  • Obama DOD Official Sees Stable Cleanups For Military Even With EPA Cuts

    In an exclusive interview with Inside EPA last month, Rachel Jacobson, who recently left her post as the Obama administration's top Defense Department lawyer on environmental matters, says she sees DOD fulfilling its cleanup responsibilities even if EPA's budget for overseeing such cleanups were to be cut under the Trump administration, but notes that funding for DOD cleanups has nonetheless always been a challenge.

    4143 words

  • DOE Cleanup Program Stressing Strategic Planning, Partnerships

    The "big picture priorities and overarching strategies" for the Energy Department's (DOE) nuclear weapons cleanup program include developing strong partnerships with stakeholders and regulators, advancing ways to lower lifecycle costs and a new emphasis on strategic planning, the program's acting assistant secretary said Feb. 23.

    826 words

  • Chemical Manufacturers Cite CRA Bid In Call For EPA To Delay RMP Rule

    Chemical manufacturers are urging EPA to further delay implementation of the Obama administration's final rule revising the agency's industrial facility safety program, saying additional time is vital to give Congress time to consider a Congressional Review Act (CRA) disapproval resolution that could potentially undo the entire rule.

    746 words

  • House GOP Bill Would Abolish EPA Regional Offices, Grants, GHG Rules

    House Republican Sam Johnson (TX) is floating legislation that would abolish all 10 EPA regional offices and terminate every agency grant program, while also prohibiting EPA from using any funds to implement a slew of greenhouse gas (GHG) programs and ending all agency environmental justice activities.

    657 words

  • Rep. Green Floats Resolution Calling On EPA To Issue Cr6 Water Standard

    Rep. Al Green (D-TX) has introduced a resolution that expresses concern over the presence of hexavalent chromium (Cr6) in drinking water and calling on EPA to complete its ongoing assessment of Cr6's human health risks and set a drinking water standard for its presence in drinking water, as well as urging states to set Cr6 limits.

    829 words

  • House Democrat Introduces Bill Creating EPA Grants For 'Zero Waste' Goal

    Backed by recycling and other business groups, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has introduced legislation that would authorize EPA to award grants to local governments to invest in infrastructure or technology that will prevent solid waste or boost the reuse or recycling of materials, with an aim toward moving a community toward a "zero waste" goal.

    449 words

  • Trump Requires Agency Task Forces To Target Existing Rules For Repeal

    President Donald Trump signed Feb. 24 a new executive order (EO) that requires EPA and other agencies to each designate regulatory reform officers and establish a regulatory reform task force with the goal of identifying existing regulations for repeal or modification, expanding his administration's deregulatory architecture given the issue's priority.

    976 words