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The Week Ahead

EPA Sets Hearing On 2020 RFS Proposal; Policy Leaders Gather For Texas Superconference

EPA is holding its sole hearing on the next round of proposed fuel blending targets for the renewable fuel standard (RFS). Meanwhile, top agency officials are slated to address the annual Texas Environmental Superconference with a focus on major EPA policies.

RFS Volumes

On July 31 in Ypsilanti, MI, EPA will hold the sole planned public hearing on its proposal to set fuel targets under the RFS for 2020 and for biodiesel in 2021. EPA is proposing a modest increase in cellulosic and advanced biofuel volumes from 2019 -- though short of the statutory goals for 2020 -- and for the first time projects no increase in the liquid cellulosic fuel production that Congress intended to be the ultimate driver of the RFS.

Texas Superconference

EPA water chief David Ross and General Counsel Matt Leopold are among the featured speakers at the Texas Environmental Superconference, slated to run Aug. 1-2 in Austin, TX. The agenda covers a wide range of legal and policy issues from state, federal, industry, academic and environmentalist perspectives.

Risk Assessment

EPA’s Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals will hold a week-long meeting, July 29-Aug. 2 in Arlington, VA, to peer-review the most recent draft assessments of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and 1,4-dioxane. But the agency has come under fire for scheduling that review before the end of the scheduled public comment periods on those drafts, which close Aug. 30.


EPA Region 6 is holding its annual stormwater conference July 28-Aug. 1 in Denton, TX. The theme of the event is “Responding to Change: Dynamic stormwater management in economic, political, and climatic transitions,” and the agenda includes financing, permitting and green-infrastructure issues as well as more technical presentations.

Climate Change

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel dedicated to advising U.S. researchers on “global change,” including but not limited to climate change, will meet July 30-31 in Washington, D.C.

Infrastructure Permitting

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will meet July 30 for a business meeting that includes marking up a newly proposed highway bill that features greenhouse gas emissions cuts along with permitting reforms that Republicans have long sought. The bill is also said to include additional funds for discretionary resilience projects and electric vehicle chargers (EVs).

Energy Legislation

Advanced Energy Economy, an industry association that backs energy reforms, is hosting a July 30 webinar on prospects for passing legislation that boosts renewables, EVs and other new technologies.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute is hosting a July 31 “All In” summit in Washington, D.C. Speakers include Energy Secretary Rick Perry, his Obama-era predecessor Ernest Moniz and an array of energy-industry figures.

Superfund Listings

Comments are due Aug. 2 on a pending EPA proposal that would add two sites to the National Priorities List of high-priority Superfund cleanups -- the Chicago, IL, Schroud Property and Arsenic Mine in Kent, NY.


An NAS panel will meet July 30-31 in Washington, D.C., to advance the body’s quadrennial review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which is an interagency research and development project focused on nanotech and its applications.

Atmospheric Chemistry

The international Gordon Research Conference is hosting a forum on atmospheric chemistry July 29-Aug. 2 in Newry, ME. The agenda focuses on scientific developments related to measuring and engineering air quality, as well as climate change.

CWA Spill Rule

Aug. 1 is the deadline for EPA’s final decision on whether to craft a Clean Water Act (CWA) rule limiting oil and hazardous-substance spills, under an Obama-era consent decree with environmentalists. The agency has already proposed to take no action, finding that existing requirements under other statutory provisions are sufficient, and faces a lawsuit where environmental groups say it lacks discretion to make that determination.