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Water Policy Report - 06/11/2018

  • States' Call To Scrap EPA CWA Rule Poses Early Test For District Lawsuits

    Republican states are asking a federal district judge to scrap EPA's 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule by claiming it violates the Constitution and a high court ruling on the law's reach, the first such request in a litany of district court challenges to the policy that poses an early test for revived legal efforts to kill the rule.

    1121 words

  • Judge Presses DOJ On Whether Administration Supports 2015 CWA Rule

    A federal district judge at a May 31 hearing had tough questions for the Department of Justice (DOJ) on whether it stands behind the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule that the Trump administration plans to withdraw, raising doubts on regulators' attempts to stay neutral while the repeal effort is underway, says an attorney.

    853 words

  • Competing Legal Filings Underscore Confusion On EPA CWA Rule's Status

    Competing legal filings in myriad suits over the Obama EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule are underscoring confusion over the rule's status, with some states asking a federal district judge to quickly block the rule and claiming EPA has implicitly "conceded" it is unlawful, while another judge is advancing two separate cases aiming to reinstate the 2015 policy.

    1092 words

  • Congress Appears Unlikely To Require DOD Comply With State PFAS Limits

    Congress appears unlikely to require the Defense Department (DOD) to comply with state cleanup standards for perfluorinated chemicals in pending fiscal year 2019 defense authorization legislation in the absence of an EPA standard despite efforts by some lawmakers to include language mandating such compliance.

    1394 words

  • Free-Market Group Says Novel CRA Vote Boosts CWA Wetlands Guide Suit

    A free-market legal group that helped drive Congress' recent expansion of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to strike down a guidance crafted years ago is citing that victory to bolster its lawsuit challenging a federal Clean Water Act (CWA) wetlands guidance, saying such guides cannot take effect until they are submitted to Congress.

    1039 words

  • Supreme Court Sidesteps Refining Policy On Interpreting 4-4-1 Decisions

    The Supreme Court has punted on using a criminal case to refine its policy on how to interpret 4-4-1 high court rulings including its confusing 2006 decision creating competing Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction tests, but sources say the majority opinion in the criminal case hints that the justices could take a fresh look at the CWA's scope.

    1215 words

  • EPA, Sierra Club Fail To Reach Deal On Key 'Sue-And-Settle' Test Case

    EPA and the Sierra Club have abandoned an effort to settle a suit over the agency's failure to produce congressionally mandated studies on the environmental impacts of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), seeking instead to brief the case in a move that suggests Administrator Scott Pruitt's directive against settling such cases is driving the action.

    842 words

  • High Court Appeal Poses Test Of Power To Challenge CWA Permit 'Objections'

    A Michigan roads commission plans to seek Supreme Court appeal of a case that -- if the justices agree to take it -- could define litigants' ability to challenge EPA "objections" to planned Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404 permits, seeking to overturn an appellate court ruling that said such objections are not "final action" subject to judicial review.

    716 words

  • Sierra Club's Suit Over Gas Pipeline Tests Corps' CWA Permitting Power

    Sierra Club and other environmental groups are urging a federal appeals court to vacate the use of a Clean Water Act (CWA) dredge-and-fill general permit for the construction of a natural gas pipeline in West Virginia, creating a fresh legal test of the Army Corps of Engineers' power to approve the use of CWA general permits.

    679 words

  • GOP Retains EPA Policy Riders In FY19 Bill, Setting Up Further Hill Fights

    Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have rejected Democratic efforts to remove from EPA's fiscal year 2019 funding bill riders that would curtail the agency's power, including undoing its Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule, previewing policy fights when the full House and Senate seek to negotiate a final spending bill.

    1244 words

  • Judges Reject Rehearing In Groundwater Suit, Teeing Up High Court Petition

    A closely divided appellate court will let stand a panel ruling that imposed Clean Water Act (CWA) liability for an underground pipeline leak that reached surface waters through groundwater, but the narrow vote -- with five judges in favor of en banc rehearing -- signals that the question is far from settled and could bolster a Supreme Court petition.

    881 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

  • SAB Votes To Review EPA's Science, Emissions Rules In Sign Of 'Rebuke'

    EPA advisers have voted to review the science underlying agency rules aimed at rolling back a suite of Obama administration's greenhouse gas and emissions regulations, as well as a controversial proposal to require that major rules be based on publicly available science, decisions that environmentalists say amount to a "sharp rebuke" of Administrator Scott Pruitt's deregulatory agenda.

    1187 words

  • GOP Criticisms Of Pruitt's Scandals Mount, Bolstering Democratic Attacks

    Some key Republicans are intensifying their criticisms of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's ethics and spending in the wake of new reports showing he directed subordinates to perform allegedly unlawful personal tasks for him, bolstering Democrats' efforts to use Pruitt as a prime example in their political campaign against the Trump administration's "corruption."

    1367 words

  • House Democrats Force GOP Votes On FY19 Oversight Of Pruitt's Ethics

    House Democrats used an appropriations panel markup of EPA's fiscal year 2019 funding bill to force GOP votes on amendments targeting agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's ethics problems, but Republicans largely rejected the efforts -- including a proposal to increase funding for EPA's inspector general (IG), which is investigating several ethics issues.

    747 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.

    1309 words

  • EPA Pact Allows First Use Of Compliance Cost Deductions Under Tax Law

    EPA has submitted for court approval what appears to be the first consent decree that includes language allowing some of the defendant's compliance costs to be deductible under the new tax law, which generally prohibits such deductions unless they are specifically identified as deductible in the agreement.

    1384 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.

    1332 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.

    1060 words

  • New York Eyes 'Contingency' Policies To Counter Rollbacks Of EPA Rules

    NEW YORK -- New York's environment commissioner is crafting "contingency plans" to promote environmental protection to help balance out potential pollution increases associated with EPA rule rollbacks, including a state push for zero-emission and electric vehicles (ZEVs) to counter any weakening of federal mobile source standards.

    1147 words