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The Insider

Pruitt Hedges On Future Power Plant GHG Rules

EPA is pushing ahead with plans to rescind the Obama-era power plant greenhouse gas (GHG) rules, but agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is hedging on any future utility GHG regulations:

Pruitt Hedges On Future Utility GHG Rules Even As EPA Readies CPP Repeal
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is continuing to hedge about whether and how precisely the agency plans to address greenhouse gases (GHG) from existing power plants after it rescinds the Clean Power Plan (CPP), even as reports indicate the agency is poised to float a plan for repealing the Obama-era rule.

Environmentalists Fear Weaker Ash Rule Enforcement

President Donald Trump's nomination of Susan Bodine to head EPA's enforcement office is spurring environmentalists' concerns that Bodine would weaken enforcement of the agency's ash waste rule:

Environmentalists Fear Weaker EPA Ash Rule Enforcement Under Bodine
Environmentalists fear that Susan Bodine -- President Donald Trump's nominee to head EPA's enforcement office -- would use the position to soften the Obama-era coal ash disposal rule by weakening enforcement of the policy, citing her testimony to Congress in 2013 that called for placing major limits on EPA's oversight of ash disposal.

Trump's FY18 Budget Would Retain IRIS Program

Trump's fiscal year 2018 proposal for EPA would retain the agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program but reduce and “refocus” IRIS:

Trump's FY18 Budget Would Maintain Smaller, 'Refocused' IRIS Program
EPA's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 seeks to preserve a smaller version of the agency's influential but often controversial Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), which had been slated for elimination in an early budget memo, signaling the program will be devoted in part to assessing substances under the revised toxics law and other mandatory regulatory programs.

More of our exclusive coverage of the FY18 budget proposal:

States Eye Reduced Environmental Programs To Absorb FY18 Budget Cuts
State officials are signaling openness to cutting or significantly scaling back their environmental programs in order to absorb EPA's proposed massive fiscal year 2018 cut to grants that help states implement federal environmental laws and rules, with some states even weighing returning delegated EPA programs back to the agency.

Critics Say EPA's FY18 Cuts Undermine Trump Efforts To Boost Economy
The Trump administration's proposed budget for EPA is sparking push back from environmentalists and state officials who say the steep proposed cuts would actually impose significant costs on industries, communities and the broader economy, in contrast to administration promises that scaling back EPA rules would boost prosperity.

Biofuels Supporters Pitch EPA, OMB On 2018 RFS

In recent meetings with EPA and White House officials, biofuels supporters pitched how they want the agency to craft its 2018 renewable fuel standard targets:

Biofuels Supporters Pitch 2018 RFS Goals To Trump EPA, OMB Officials
Biofuels makers and retailers in recent meetings with EPA and White House officials pitched their policy goals for the agency's pending 2018 renewable fuel standard (RFS) targets, including boosting advanced biofuels blending and opposing calls to shift the "point of obligation" compliance burden under the program.

Trump EPA Seeks OMB Approval Of First TSCA Rule

The White House is currently reviewing the Trump EPA's first final rule to implement last year's overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act:

Trump EPA Advances First Final Rule To Implement Revised Toxics Law
The Trump EPA has sent for White House pre-publication review its first final rule to implement the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), advancing a measure establishing how to prioritize chemicals for risk evaluation that the Obama EPA proposed but the new administration will finalize based on its own approach to TSCA.

EPA's Superfund Vapor Intrusion Rule Takes Effect

After temporarily delaying the effective date of an Obama-era Superfund vapor intrusion rule, the Trump EPA has now let the regulation take effect:

After Delays, EPA's Superfund Vapor Intrusion Rule Quietly Takes Effect
EPA has quietly put into effect an Obama-era rule that opens the door to listing Superfund sites based solely on vapor or water intrusion, after twice delaying the effective dates of the rule along with several others that were signed late in the last administration but which were slated to take effect under the new regime.

Trump EPA Defends Obama-Era Air Waiver Policy

In a new Supreme Court brief, the Trump EPA is defending an Obama-era ban on waivers from emissions limits for facilities experiencing air pollution spikes during malfunctions:

Trump EPA's High Court Brief Defends Obama-Era Malfunction Air Policy
The Trump EPA in a new Supreme Court brief is defending an Obama-era policy under which the agency sets Clean Air Act limits without allowing any exceedances of those standards due to emissions spikes associated with facility malfunctions, even as the administration reconsiders a rule that barred states from granting such waivers.

Background reading on the fight over SSM waivers from Inside EPA's Clean Air Report:

High Court Urged To Review EPA Ban On Facility Malfunction Air Waivers
Several conservative and free-market legal advocacy groups are urging the Supreme Court to grant a petition to review the Obama EPA's ban on Clean Air Act (CAA) emissions limits waivers for pollution from facility malfunctions, saying the policy is unlawful because it sets unachievable requirements that facilities never exceed air law limits.

States, Industry Fault EPA Air Law Interpretation For Rejecting SSM Plans
States and major industry groups are faulting what they say is EPA's misreading of the Clean Air Act when it issued a rule forcing 36 states to scrap air law waivers for certain facility operations, saying the agency's claim of "fundamental" flaws in the waivers to justify the rule is not tied to specific statutory language and is therefore unlawful.