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The Week Ahead

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) is hosting a field hearing this week on carbon capture technology and legislation. Meanwhile, EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) will discuss the Superfund program and other agency agenda items.

Carbon Capture

EPW will hold an Aug. 19 field hearing in Gillette, WY, on “Wyoming’s Leadership in Using and Storing Carbon Dioxide Emissions.” Lawmakers from both parties have pushed carbon capture as a way to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector, including Democrats in their House infrastructure bill and EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) through a dedicated bill known as the “USE IT Act,” which has bipartisan support in both chambers but still has yet to pass the House.

NEJAC

NEJAC will meet by teleconference Aug. 19-20 to hear updates from EPA on its EJ program, and to discuss “the reuse and revitalization of Superfund and other contaminated sites” along with other commission business.

The meeting comes soon after former Vice President Joe Biden named Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate -- a move that has been welcomed by environmental groups based in part on the senator’s EJ credentials. Most recently, Harris has co-sponsored a pair of EJ-focused bills: the Environmental Justice for All Act that would amend the Civil Rights Act to make it easier for plaintiffs to prove discrimination in environmental cases, and the Climate Equity Act that, among other provisions, would require all legislation to receive an equity “score” similar to how bills are assessed for their budget effects.

CWA Policies

EPA Deputy General Counsel David Fotouhi will speak at an Aug. 20 webinar hosted by the American Bar Association (ABA) on recent developments in the Clean Water Act (CWA), including the Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui, HI, v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund that opened groundwater-borne pollution to regulation under the law, and the Trump administration’s new rule narrowing the scope of CWA jurisdiction.

Comments are due Aug. 20 on EPA’s May 22 proposal to update 20-year-old guidance for states that helps them draft CWA nutrient criteria for lakes and reservoirs. The new guide is designed to facilitate numeric criteria that place measurable limits on nutrient concentrations in water, as opposed to narrative standards that measure compliance by looking for impacts of excess nutrient levels like algae growth.

Environmental Health

EPA will host an Aug. 19 webinar on links between air pollution, especially fine particulate matter, and heart disease.

EPA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will host a joint Aug. 20 webinar on “environmental risks” from homes and indoor air, including lead exposures and radon.

Clean Energy

The Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory will host an Aug. 20 webinar on the role of electric utilities and hydrogen power generation in the transition to renewable energy.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will host an Aug. 21 webcast on its use of renewable energy under the “TVA Green” banner.

BOSC Meeting

The Homeland Security Subcommittee of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) will meet Aug. 20-21 to review EPA’s implementation of its homeland security Strategic Research Action Plan for fiscal years 2019-22.

NEPA

The ABA will host an Aug. 18 webinar as a “primer” on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s recent overhaul of its implementing rules.

The National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board will host an Aug. 20 seminar on Colorado’s approaches to wildlife preservation, mitigation and partnering on transportation projects.

Climate Change

The ABA will host an Aug. 17 webinar on “the central legal and social issues” involved in mass migration that climate change is expected to cause, including the pressure it will create on land use and water rights.

NAC/GAC

Aug. 21 is the deadline for nominations to EPA’s National Advisory Committee (NAC) and Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which jointly advise Administrator Andrew Wheeler in his capacity as a member of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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