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The Insider

Concern Grows Over Pruitt's Agency Experience

Supporters of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are raising concerns that his lack of knowledge about the agency may hamper his bid to concentrate on EPA's core mission:

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.

And Pruitt's critics say newly released emails from his time as Oklahoma attorney general bolster their claims that the new administrator is too close with industry:

Emails Detail Pruitt's Prior Coordination With Fossil Groups On EPA Rules
Newly released emails from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's time as Oklahoma attorney general (AG) show several examples where he or top officials in his office coordinated with fossil fuel groups to target EPA's climate and air regulations, bolstering critics' claims that the new administrator is too close with industry.

Senators Push To Protect RFS

Amid doubts over the Trump administration's plan for EPA's renewable fuel standard, a group of bipartisan senators is waging a push to preserve it:

Senators Wage Bipartisan Push To Protect RFS Amid Doubts On Trump Plan
Democratic and Republican senators are waging a bipartisan push to preserve the future of EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS) amid doubts over President Donald Trump's plan for the program, given his call for reducing regulatory burdens on fuel producers and new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's prior strong attacks on the RFS.

The push comes as major ethanol industry groups are warning that some parts of EPA's plan to enhance the market for renewable fuels could inadvertently create new barriers to ethanol sales:

EPA Urged To Further Promote Ethanol With RFS Fuel 'Enhancement' Plan
Major ethanol industry groups are urging EPA to take additional steps to promote the fuel as part of its proposed rule to “enhance” the market for fuels that qualify for sale under the agency's renewable fuel standard (RFS), warning that some parts of the plan could have the unintended consequence of creating new barriers to ethanol sales.

But ethanol and oil industry groups are taking a rare unified position backing EPA's proposal to reject a petition from some refiners to shift the fuel standard's “point of obligation” mandate:

Ethanol, Oil Industries Back EPA Proposal To Retain RFS 'Obligation' Point
Ethanol and oil industry groups are both backing EPA's proposal to reject a request from some refiners to shift the renewable fuel standard “point of obligation” compliance mandate from refiners and importers of fuel to companies that blend renewable fuels into transportation fuel, a rare unified position between the competing sectors.

Trump Officials Eye California GHG Waiver

As some outside groups ramp up calls for assaulting California's authority to implement vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) rules, the Trump administration is weighing what action to take, if any:

Trump Officials Weigh Whether To Target California Vehicle GHG Waiver
The Trump administration is weighing whether and how hard to target California's authority to implement vehicle greenhouse gas rules, as some outside groups ramp up calls for assaulting the state's special power though it is far from clear whether automakers would welcome such an aggressive attack.

Meanwhile, automakers are arguing EPA has ample authority to scrap the agency's decision to retain its light-duty vehicle GHG standards for model years 2022-2025:

Automakers Formally Launch Bid To Reopen EPA Vehicle GHG Standards
Automakers are formally urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to withdraw the agency's decision to retain its light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for model years (MY) 2022-2025, arguing that the agency has ample authority to scrap the determination and “resume” a joint mid-term review of the standards with the Department of Transportation (DOT).

DOJ Backs Attacks On 'Jobs' Ruling

Backing the Obama EPA's opposition to a federal court order to broadly review how Clean Air Act rules have affected coal-sector jobs, the Trump Justice Department is seeking to overturn the ruling:

Trump DOJ Backs Obama EPA's Attacks On Air Rule 'Jobs' Review Ruling
The Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) is backing the Obama EPA's opposition to a federal district judge's order for EPA to broadly review how its Clean Air Act rules have affected jobs in the coal sector, asking an appellate court to overturn the ruling and defying expectations that the new administration would comply with the order.

Morrisey Seeks Broad GHG Rule Rollback

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey tells Inside EPA he hopes an upcoming Trump executive order broadly rolls back EPA's greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants:

Morrisey Hopes Trump Seeks Broad Rollback Of EPA Power Plant GHG Rules
West Virginia Attorney General (AG) Patrick Morrisey (R), one of the most ardent critics of EPA's power plant greenhouse gas rules, hopes that an executive order President Donald Trump is slated to sign will seek a broad rollback of the agency's rules for both new and existing sources, suggesting some uncertainty about the scope of the order.

Advisors Seek EPA Support For Water Infrastructure

EPA advisors are drafting a letter to Administrator Scott Pruitt outlining water infrastructure programs that should receive funding support in an expected infrastructure investment boost:

EFAB Seeks EPA Support For Water Funding In Trump Infrastructure Push
Members of EPA's Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) are drafting a letter to agency Administrator Scott Pruitt outlining existing water infrastructure programs that they argue should receive funding support if President Donald Trump moves forward with an expected push for Congress to increase infrastructure spending.

Pruitt Urged To Fulfill PFOA Pledge

While New Jersey pushes ahead with developing a drinking water standard for perflouorooctanoic acid, community campaigners are urging EPA to test for the contaminant in communities:

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.