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Water Policy Report - 09/18/2017

  • CWA Rule Challengers Warn Of 'Chaos' If High Court Backs Appellate Suits

    Environmentalists, several states and groups representing major industries are warning of litigation "chaos" if the Supreme Court backs the government's push for appellate review of EPA's 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, saying it would create permanent confusion over the correct venue for suits over CWA policies.

    1136 words

  • EPA Seeks Industries' Views On Costs, 'Certainty' To Inform CWA Policy

    EPA plans to ask representatives from major industrial sectors about key issues that will inform the agency's upcoming Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule that is expected to significantly narrow the Obama-era CWA policy, including compliance costs and whether there is a lack of regulatory "clarity" on the law's reach.

    930 words

  • Sen. Carper Probes EPA's Cost Analysis Of Clean Water Act Rule Repeal

    Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, is pushing EPA for details about how it rewrote the economic justification for the Obama administration's Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, questioning whether the rewrite "improperly" removed many of the rules' projected benefits.

    564 words

  • Judge Backs Novel CWA Climate Suit, Setting Up Ruling On 'Imminent' Harm

    A federal district judge is allowing environmentalists to move forward with their novel suit claiming that federal water and waste laws require ExxonMobil to account for climate change in its compliance plans for a Massachusetts oil terminal, allowing the plaintiffs to demonstrate that climate impacts like sea level rise are imminent rather than "speculative" future events.

    1163 words

  • Massive Hurricanes Spur Climate Debate But Fail To Advance Policies

    Two massive hurricanes that have caused devastating flooding damage in the Southeast during the past month have renewed a public debate about how climate change is intensifying extreme weather events, though it remains uncertain whether such discussion will spur additional federal climate mitigation or adaptation policies.

    1461 words

  • EPA, States Hold Talks To Improve Enforcement With Enhanced Collaboration

    JACKSON HOLE, WY -- EPA and state officials have started discussions on how to improve state and federal cooperation on enforcement, seeking to better align priorities and allocate resources, while addressing their differing perceptions on what aspects of enforcement are currently working or need improvement.

    960 words

  • EPA Signals Reconsideration Of NPDES Decision Amid New State Discretion

    EPA is suggesting it may be willing to reconsider previously rejected petitions from environmentalists seeking to withdraw Alabama's delegated authority to issue Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits even as agency officials are pledging to provide states with new discretion in how they implement federally delegated programs.

    705 words

  • Pruitt Faces Challenges Replacing Departing CASAC, SAB Members

    With appointments for numerous EPA science advisors expiring at the end of the month, Administrator Scott Pruitt faces challenges selecting new members to the agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and Science Advisory Board (SAB), selections that could intensify criticism over the administration's scientific views.

    1651 words

  • Wastewater Group Cites CWA Rule In Supreme Court Appeal On 'Blending'

    A group of municipalities and wastewater authorities is urging the Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a ruling backing EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) wastewater "blending" policy, saying the high court's decision to hear a separate case on the correct venue for suits over the 2015 CWA jurisdiction rule means it must also take the group's case.

    1102 words

  • Congress' Intent Bars CWA Permits For Groundwater, VEPCO Appeal Says

    A power company is urging a federal appeals court to overturn a district court ruling extending Clean Water Act (CWA) permit mandates to some groundwater releases, warning the decision violates Congress' intent in crafting the water law and could unduly expand the law's reach -- at odds with a Supreme Court opinion on the issue.

    1211 words

  • Panel Backs Call For Ammonia-Based NAAQS, Boosting Environmentalists

    Members of EPA's panel examining the ecological effects of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) are urging the agency to set a national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for nitrogen to mitigate rising ammonia emissions, a long-standing but so far unsuccessful goal of environmentalists.

    1209 words

  • Unions, Environmentalists Ramp Up Pressure On Senate To Stop EPA Cuts

    Environmental groups and federal employee unions are ramping up their defense of EPA's budget in fiscal year 2018, readying efforts to shore up support in the Senate by citing recent massive hurricanes to highlight the need for adequate agency resources to address short- and long-term consequences of the cleanup effort.

    1257 words

  • House GOP Cites Harvey In Call For EPA To Perform Workforce Analysis

    House Republicans are linking EPA's long-standing failure to perform a comprehensive assessment of its workforce to its work remediating damage from Hurricane Harvey in Texas and expected work due to Hurricane Irma, saying the agency lacks adequate knowledge of the staffing levels necessary to meet demands after such disasters.

    1334 words

  • House Backs SRF Spending Hike In FY18 But Seeks More Limits On EPA

    House lawmakers have approved several modifications to pending legislation funding EPA in fiscal year 2018, including language that would add $250 million to EPA's clean water loan fund, as well as numerous provisions that restrict the agency's current or potential pollution control authorities.

    751 words

  • Environmentalists Say Texas Facility Fire Backs Need For Obama RMP Rule

    Environmentalists say the fire at a Texas chemical facility caused by Hurricane Harvey backs the need for the Obama-era rule strengthening EPA's facility accident prevention program with new requirements for hazard analysis and streamlined release of facility data, though an industry source says the existing rule is adequate.

    1757 words

  • EPA Finalizes ELG Delay Rule, Teeing Up New Legal Fight Over Stay Power

    EPA has finalized its rule delaying some compliance deadlines in the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) effluent rule for power plants until 2020 to allow time for it to rework limits on two forms of waste, teeing up a fresh legal fight over the agency's power to delay Obama-era rules and potentially mooting a suit over an "interim" delay of the CWA rule.

    1351 words

  • D.C. Circuit Denies Environmentalists' Rehearing Bid In ELG Records Suit

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected environmentalists' bid to rehear their suit seeking the release of materials EPA used to develop its 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) effluent limits for power plants, effectively ending the suit unless the Supreme Court decides to take it up.

    496 words

  • Judges Weigh EPA's Discretion In Challenge To CWA Cooling Water Rule

    Judges weighing the legality of EPA's 2014 Clean Water Act (CWA) permit rule for cooling water intake structures appeared to doubt the power sector's claims that the rule was too strict while sympathizing with environmentalists' attacks on the regulation, yet suggested they might ultimately defer to the agency on how it wrote the rule.

    1623 words

  • New IRIS Leaders Pledge To Shift Program's 'Paradigm,' Winning SAB Praise

    Facing calls for its elimination, the new leaders of EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) are pledging to shift the program's "paradigm," including working quickly to implement long-pending reforms, speeding release of its chemical assessments and making the program more relevant to partners inside and outside the agency, efforts that are winning strong support from agency science advisors.

    2354 words

  • Novel Enforcement Case Driving GOP Effort To Overhaul EPA's IRIS Program

    Republicans on the House science committee are citing novel EPA and state enforcement efforts at a Louisiana chemical plant, based on a cancer risk estimate for chloroprene from the agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), to make the case for their efforts to de-fund or overhaul the program, starting with a budget rider that would eliminate any IRIS funding in fiscal year 2018.

    1538 words

  • EPA Seeks Public Comments On Perchlorate Materials, Peer Reviewers

    EPA is preparing for its second peer review of its novel scientific approach for proposing a drinking water standard for the rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate, seeking comment on new materials and a list of proposed peer reviewers, though the action is unlikely to help ensure the agency meets a court-ordered deadline for completing its review.

    865 words