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The Week Ahead

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear argument this week on EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) power plant greenhouse gas rule. Meanwhile, California’s air regulators are holding a public hearing to discuss updates for the state’s long-term strategy for significantly reducing vehicle emissions.

Clean Power Plan

Oral argument is set for Oct. 8 in the consolidated litigation over the ACE rule, known as American Lung Association (ALA), et al. v. EPA, et al. Parties in the case have brought a host of challenges against the GHG rule including environmentalists’ claims that it is not stringent enough and that EPA acted unlawfully in repealing the more stringent Obama-era Clean Power Plan, and industry claims that even the narrower ACE rule goes too far or that the agency lacks authority to regulate power plants’ GHGs at all.

Vehicle Emissions

The California Air Resources Board will host an Oct. 7 webinar on its newly released draft 2020 mobile source strategy. The strategy combines a host of vehicle emissions reduction goals including GHG cuts, zero-emission vehicle targets and compliance with federal air quality standards for conventional pollutants.

Water Quality

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will give a keynote address Oct. 5 at the Water Environment Federation’s annual WEFTEC conference. The event, which runs through Oct. 9, has a wide-ranging agenda that covers water quality, treatment technology and infrastructure among other subjects. Wheeler’s address will follow his Sept. 30 announcement that the long-awaited lead and copper drinking water rule will be finalized “within weeks.”

COVID-19

EPA will host an Oct. 8 webinar to showcase a new tool for water systems to calculate their financial costs from the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether “they have sufficient resources to continue their operations and provide safe drinking water and wastewater treatment during the COVID-19 national emergency.”

Climate Change

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold an Oct. 5 online forum on climate change impacts in the Arctic.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will host an Oct. 7 webinar on climate resilience at airports.

The Midwest Climate Workshop, a series of online panel discussions on regional climate issues running over the course of three months, will hold its second session on Oct. 9 with speakers including St. Paul, MN, Mayor Melvin Carter (D) and Jessica Hellman, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

Enforcement

The American Bar Association has set an Oct. 8 webinar on how the balance between state and federal environmental enforcement has shifted due to the Trump administration’s deregulatory measures and focus on compliance assistance. Attorney Ethan Shenkman, a former EPA deputy general counsel, will moderate the event.

Chloroprene

EPA will convene an Oct. 5-6 peer review of the closely watched, industry-funded study of modeling and related analyses of the synthetic rubber chemical chloroprene. The document, “a Report on Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) Modeling for Chloroprene and a Supplemental Analysis of Metabolite Clearance,” could lead the agency to revise its controversial risk assessment of the substance and might also set a precedent for any future requests for correction under the Data Quality Act, a Clinton-era law that allows private parties to petition agencies to “correct” actions but which federal courts have held is unenforceable.

Energy

The House Natural Resources Committee’s panel on energy will hold an Oct. 6 hearing on the Trump administration’s cuts to royalty fees paid by oil and gas drillers on public lands.

The NAS committee examining possibilities for fusion power will meet Oct. 7 to hear from academics, manufacturers and laboratory researchers.

The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group will host an Oct. 7 webinar on “collaboration across the energy transition,” focused on what it says is the need for industry and other stakeholders to cooperate on a shift to low-carbon energy.

The Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association will host its annual conference on solar power in the Tennessee Valley as an Oct. 7 webinar focused on developments in the solar sector, advanced energy-storage technologies and clean-energy offerings from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory will host an Oct. 8 webinar on “Contention in the Energy Sector.”

Community Science

The Environmental Law Institute and International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) will jointly host an Oct. 9 panel discussion on the use of citizen science to monitor water pollution levels. Jay Benforado, EPA’s chief innovation officer at the Office of Research and Development, recently called on states to broaden their use of citizen science for water and air monitoring.

PFAS

The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, which are joint projects between EPA, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense, will host an Oct. 8 webinar on methods of managing the environmental impacts of aqueous film-forming foam, a widely used firefighting tool that is also a key source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as well as assessments of PFAS-free firefighting foams.

Air Plans

Comments are due Oct. 9 on EPA’s proposed approval of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's Clean Air Act tribal implementation plan setting out permit requirements for major and minor emissions sources under the new source review air program.

Stratospheric Ozone

Comments are due Oct. 6 on EPA’s Aug. 7 proposal to extend indefinitely the exemption from limits on importing some ozone-depleting substances for “global essential laboratory and analytical use,” rather than allowing the exemption to expire at the end of 2021. The change is intended to comply with a recent update to the Montreal Protocol governing the use of those substances worldwide.

Contaminated Sites

The DOE committee responsible for public involvement in the Hanford, WA, nuclear waste cleanup site will meet Oct. 6 to discuss new public-outreach options for the project.

SmartWay

EPA’s SmartWay program, a voluntary initiative for tracking and limiting emissions from the shipping sector, will host an Oct. 7 webinar to highlight its emissions calculating and reporting Shipper Tool.

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