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The Week Ahead

Senate EPW To Review EPA Toxics Office Nominee, EPA Seeks Input On Landfill Rule Delay

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) will hold a hearing this week on Region 1 Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn's nomination to lead EPA's toxics office. Meanwhile, the agency is taking comments on its proposed extension of the deadline for states to submit compliance plans under Obama-era methane rules for landfills.

Alexandra Dunn

EPW will consider Dunn's nomination to be assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) at a Nov. 29 hearing. The schedule sets up a vote by the full Senate before the end of the lame-duck session. If confirmed, Dunn will be the first permanent head of OCSPP since the end of the Obama administration, as the first Trump nominee to the role -- consultant Michael Dourson -- failed when Democrats and some Republicans balked at his industry ties.

Landfill Rules

EPA is holding a Nov. 27 public hearing in Washington, D.C., on its proposal to delay until mid-2019 the deadline for states to submit plans to comply with Obama-era methane rules for landfills. The extension is designed to harmonize with the proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule, which in addition to setting emissions standards for utilities includes a broader revision to how EPA implements section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, which governs the landfill standards as well as ACE.


The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) will meet by teleconference Nov. 29 to consider EPA's draft Integrated Review Plan that will inform its review of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone. The IRP sets a timeline for EPA to produce and CASAC to review key documents, including the integrated science assessment synthesizing the latest science on ozone's health effects and a policy assessment (PA) giving the agency administrator options for either leaving the NAAQS unchanged, or modifying the standard.

Vehicle Emissions

Comments are due Nov. 30 on EPA's proposal to make “technical corrections” to its emissions standards for light-duty vehicles that will boost the credits available for electric, hybrid, fuel-cell and natural-gas fueled vehicles.


EPA will host a Nov. 28 webinar presenting the results of research into sampling and analysis methods for detecting per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). EPA's website says there has been “unprecedented interest” in the presentation -- a sign of how high a priority combating PFAS contamination in drinking water has become for local governments.

Electric Vehicles

The Edison Electric Institute is hosting a Nov. 30 event to “Celebrate 1 Million EVs on U.S. Roads!” to promote electric vehicles. The agenda includes discussions on topics on infrastructure and the role of policymakers in promoting the vehicles.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is set to consider petitions for review in three closely-watched environmental cases at its Nov. 30 conference, and could issue orders accepting or rejecting any or all of the petitions as soon as that day. Two of the cases, Hawai'i Wildlife Fund, et al., v. County of Maui and Upstate Forever, et al., v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, deal with Clean Water Act liability for groundwater-borne pollution; the third, Animal Legal Defense Fund, et al., v. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), et al., is environmentalists' challenge to DHS' broad power to waive environmental and other laws in order to accelerate border-security projects.

Climate Change

On Nov. 26, the Center for Climate & Energy Solutions will hold a press call to preview the upcoming 24th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, slated for Dec. 3-14 in Katowice, Poland.

The Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy will host a Nov. 27 webinar on “negative emission” technologies that allow facilities to sequester more GHGs than they release.

The New York Solar Energy Society is holding a Nov. 30 conference on energy efficiency and renewables in Troy, NY.

Algal Blooms

The National Environmental Health Association will host a Nov. 29 webinar on harmful algal blooms, including presentations from EPA, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Florida Department of Health on each agency's work to monitor and combat the blooms.

Environmental Justice

EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee will meet by teleconference Nov. 28 to discuss and take public comment on “several topics,” including final letters to the agency addressing concerns raised at the group's previous in-person meeting, and a new charge from the waste office “focusing on the reuse and revitalization of Superfund and other contaminated sites.”

DOD Cleanups

The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), which are joint projects between EPA, the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy, will jointly host a Nov. 27-29 symposium in Washington, D.C., focused on DOD's “mission effectiveness” in environmental and energy-related areas.

Computational Toxicology

EPA's Computational Toxicology Communities of Practice will meet Nov. 29 for a presentation on “Sequence Alignment to Predict Across Species Susceptibility.”

EPA Science

Nov. 26 is the deadline for public comments on EPA's proposal that would update requirements for contractors to follow the agency's scientific integrity policies.