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Water Policy Report - 05/15/2017

  • EPA Faces Legal, Scientific Barriers To Using Scalia CWA Jurisdiction Test

    EPA faces significant legal and scientific barriers to its plan for using the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's narrow test for determining Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction in a new rulemaking on the law's reach, say observers who argue the test is based on flawed assumptions and lacks strong support in federal courts.

    1305 words

  • Pruitt's Participation In High Court CWA Suit Raises Questions On Recusal

    Speakers at a May 11 panel on the future of EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt could be violating his pledge to recuse himself from lawsuits over the Obama-era regulation, saying he must also step back from a Supreme Court case over the correct venue for challenges to the rule.

    819 words

  • First Trump EPA Rule For OMB Review Would Repeal Obama CWA Policy

    EPA has sent its first new proposed rule for mandatory White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) policy review since the Trump administration began, seeking approval of a regulation that would repeal the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule as the first step in the process of rewriting the policy to narrow the water law's reach.

    1031 words

  • EPA, Army Corps Seek State Governors' Input On CWA 'Waters' Definition

    EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are asking state governors to weigh in on how the federal agencies should define the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) consistent with Justice Antonin Scalia's opinion in the 2006 case Rapanos v. United States, citing the Trump administration's driving principle of cooperative federalism.

    578 words

  • Eastern States Weigh Legal, Regulatory Options To Curb Upwind Emissions

    Eastern states are weighing legal and regulatory options to force cuts in upwind states' emissions that transport downwind and hinder their air quality, including lawsuits to force EPA to issue plans to cut pollution; expanding the scope of areas that must impose strict air plans; and petitioning the agency to impose air limits on states.

    1466 words

  • High Court Poised To Hear Suit On Los Angeles' Novel Clean Truck Plan

    The Supreme Court is poised to hear arguments in the trucking industry's suit claiming that a novel Los Angeles clean truck program barring older, dirtier trucks from entering the city's port violates federal interstate transportation law, a case that tests an approach that could set a precedent for how transportation hubs curb emissions.

    1178 words

  • Perciasepe Touts Natural Gas As Way To Broker Power Sector GHG Deals

    EPA is poised to miss an April 13 statutory deadline to complete its greenhouse gas (GHG) new source performance standards (NSPS) for new power plants but Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe says that the growing use of natural gas provides new opportunities for EPA to engage with the power sector on ways to reduce GHG emissions.

    966 words

  • Appellate Judges Weigh EPA Duty To Revise MACT Rule Emission 'Floors'

    Appellate judges at oral arguments over an EPA maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule weighed environmentalists' claim that the agency has a Clean Air Act duty to overhaul its minimum emissions limits, or “floors,” in each MACT every eight years, though they said the claim might be stymied by a prior court ruling.

    1685 words

  • Environmental Groups Challenge EPA's Indefinite Stay Of Power Plant ELG

    Environmentalists are suing EPA over its indefinite stay of the Clean Water Act (CWA) effluent rule for power plants, arguing that the agency lacks authority to halt implementation of a rule merely to ease the process of reconsidering it -- the latest bid by opponents of the Trump administration to block rollbacks of Obama-era policies.

    556 words

  • Lawsuit Seeking Facility Data May Bolster Push To Preserve EPA RMP Rule

    Environmental and labor groups are urging a federal court in New Jersey to compel state and local officials to publicly disclose industrial facility emergency response plans (ERPs) in a lawsuit industry attorneys say highlights the need for the Trump EPA's plan to revise an Obama administration facility safety rule though it could bolster efforts to preserve the rule.

    1355 words

  • New Mexico Legislators Urge Pruitt To Act On Gold King Tort Claims

    New Mexico's congressional delegation is urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to investigate new avenues for paying damages to individuals and groups who were harmed by the 2015 Gold King Mine wastewater spill, calling the Obama administration's denial of tort claims from the spill a "broken promise."

    515 words

  • Attorney In Landmark CWA Compliance Suit Nominated To Claims Court

    President Donald Trump has nominated to a federal claims court judgeship the attorney who successfully argued a Supreme Court case opening EPA Clean Water Act (CWA) compliance orders to judicial review, where he would hear suits seeking payment from the government -- including regulatory "takings" cases against EPA.

    577 words

  • States, Environmentalists Urge Slower Pace For EPA Water Policy Reforms

    Environmentalists and state officials are calling on EPA's Office of Water (OW) to move cautiously on President Donald Trump's order to review policies for potential repeal or reform, warning that the agency's four-week timeline for public input is too short and that even minor changes to water policy could have serious adverse impacts.

    1057 words

  • State, Local Groups Raise Questions Over EPA's Regulatory Reform Push

    Groups representing state and local environmental regulators at a recent meeting with EPA Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Officials (OCIR) raised questions over how the agency will conduct its regulatory reform push, and the groups plan on suggesting "tweaks and minor revisions" to rules rather than major overhauls.

    909 words

  • Industry Sees Quick Action On Deregulatory Efforts As 'More Complicated'

    Despite unified Republican control of the government, industry groups are beginning to acknowledge publicly that quickly advancing new deregulatory actions in Congress and the Trump administration is more complicated than they initially believed and are stepping up their efforts to overcome hurdles at EPA and elsewhere.

    917 words

  • OMB Guide Highlights Burdens EPA Faces Issuing Rules Under 2-1 Order

    New guidance implementing President Donald Trump's deregulatory order underscores how difficult it will be for EPA to issue new rules without immediate statutory or judicial deadlines, with the agency facing repeated White House consultations, new regulatory assessment burdens, complex cost offset requirements and other hurdles, sources say.

    1571 words

  • States Urged To Address PFC Contamination In Absence Of EPA Standard

    Environmentalists and others are pressing state governments to more aggressively address perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), a class of emerging contaminants, in drinking water, urging them to set strict enforceable standards in the absence of regulation from EPA.

    1384 words

  • Peer Review Report Questions Perchlorate Model's Fitness For Rulemaking

    The final report by a panel of experts who reviewed a federal model intended to help EPA set a drinking water standard for the rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate questions the model's ability to perform its purpose, and by its extension EPA's ability to meet court-ordered deadlines for the drinking water level.

    1895 words

  • In First, EPA Plans To Grant North Dakota Permit 'Primacy' For CCS Wells

    EPA is proposing to approve North Dakota as the first state to win "primacy" for issuing Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) permits for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) wells, which Administrator Scott Pruitt and other officials say will help advance CCS technologies and could also encourage other states to seek similar authorities.

    1242 words

  • 'Aging Agency' Threatens EPA Strength Despite Early Budget Reprieve

    Congress may have balked at Trump administration plans to slash EPA's budget and scale back its workforce but numerous senior employees are in a position to retire in the next few years, putting the agency at significant risk of a weakened workforce, particularly if top officials continue the current EPA hiring freeze and do not fill vacant positions, observers say.

    1366 words

  • FY17 Spending Deal Warns EPA Against Overhaul Without Congress' Input

    The pending fiscal year 2017 spending deal that lawmakers have approved warns EPA that Congress controls the purse strings related to any major reorganization, workforce overhaul or downsizing at the agency, putting Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration on notice not to radically overhaul EPA in FY18 absent consultation.

    1441 words

  • Senate Democrats Face Industry Push To Support Regulatory Review Bill

    Groups representing major industries are stepping up their efforts to win over reluctant Senate Democrats to support pending legislation to overhaul the federal regulatory review process, though the effort is facing hurdles as many Democrats and allied groups strongly oppose the bill.

    814 words

  • EPA's FY18 Funding May Hinge On Progress Of Individual Spending Bills

    The ability of EPA's defenders to resist deep cuts to EPA's fiscal year 2018 budget may depend not only on their ability to mobilize public support in favor of the agency but also on whether Congress can avoid last-minute budget brinksmanship with the White House, while focusing aggressively on details in individual spending bills, according to several Senate Democrats.

    1221 words

  • Looming Term Limits Raise Doubts On Fate Of Host Of EPA Advisory Panels

    Looming term limits for members of several major EPA advisory panels are prompting questions over the fate of the committees that provide expert advice to officials on scientific and policy issues, including whether EPA will decline to renew existing members' terms in order to install panelists more favorable to the Trump administration.

    1147 words

  • Environmentalists File District Court Suits Over Stormwater Petition Denials

    Environmentalists have filed two district court suits challenging EPA's denial of their petitions seeking expansion of Clean Water Act (CWA) stormwater permit mandates in impaired watersheds, teeing up substantive litigation on the merits of those petitions, after earlier appellate suits over the same petitions were stayed.

    886 words