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The Week Ahead

EPA Seeks Input On New Compliance Initiatives; Decision Due On Oil And Gas Waste Rules

Comments are due this week on EPA’s draft compliance initiatives, which include ending a long-running Clean Air Act new source review (NSR) enforcement priority. Meanwhile, the agency is under a judicial deadline to decide whether to update its rules governing oil and gas waste.

Compliance Initiatives

Comments are due March 11 on EPA’s proposed national compliance initiatives (NCIs) for the next four fiscal years -- the first round of updates for the program since the agency retooled its former National Enforcement Initiatives into a more compliance-focused format. Changes from the current list in the new proposal include dropping an existing initiative on enforcing the Clean Air Act NSR program, while adding new priorities on noncompliance with drinking water standards and reducing children’s exposures to lead.

Oil & Gas Waste

March 15 is the deadline for EPA to either propose revisions to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act subtitle D criteria regulations pertaining to oil and gas wastes or sign a determination that revision of the regulations is not necessary, under a 2016 consent decree with environmentalists. While the agency has existing Clean Water Act effluent limitation guidelines in place for oil and gas extraction and for centralized waste treatment, which is used to treat some produced water, it has not previously explored the issue holistically.


The Society of Toxicology’s annual meeting and ToxExpo conference runs March 11-15 in Baltimore, MD. Speakers on the agenda include staff from EPA and other agencies, academics and industry figures, among others.

On March 12, the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee’s panel on economic and consumer policy will host a hearing on health risks from carcinogens in consumer products.

Climate Change

March 14 is the deadline for comments on EPA’s draft annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and sinks for the 2017 calendar year. The draft, released on Feb. 12, finds total emissions dropped just 0.3 percent from the prior year, a slowdown that EPA air chief Bill Wehrum dismissed as a sign that emissions reductions have “hit a wall.”

The House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel will hold a March 13 hearing on the impacts of climate change on military operations and installations.


The American Bar Association will host a March 12 teleconference on major Superfund cases and regulatory developments from 2018.


The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will hold a March 13 hearing to discuss a draft bill that would reauthorize the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which funds emissions-reduction retrofits for diesel vehicles.

Agency Transparency

The full House Oversight Committee will meet March 13 for a hearing on the Trump administration’s compliance with the Freedom of Information Act as well as other transparency issues at EPA and other agencies.

Citizen Science

EPA scientists will present at the CitSci2019 conference on citizen science, in Raleigh, N.C. The conference runs March 13-17.

Offshore Drilling

A National Academy of Sciences panel will meet March 14-15 in Washington, D.C. to advance its review of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s offshore oil and gas operations inspection program.