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Federal Facilities

Faulting Refiners' Standards, CSB Renews Call For EPA To Craft IST Rule

The federal Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is faulting voluntary oil industry safety standards for failing to prevent fires at refineries that killed or endangered workers and is reiterating a call for EPA to require inherently safer technologies (IST), such as use of less-toxic chemicals or other engineering changes to curb such industrial incidents.

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Experts Say Plaintiffs Face Hurdles In High Court's CERCLA Preemption Case

Legal experts say that plaintiffs that are seeking to defend an appellate ruling finding that the Superfund law preempts state law toxic tort claims, which would preserve their right to sue both federal and private parties, could face significant hurdles convincing the Supreme Court, especially the court's four conservative justices, of their positions.

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Fact-Dependent Suits May Delay Clarification Of CERCLA 'Arranger' Liability

EPA and other legal experts say that federal courts may be "years and years" away from resolving the full reach of arranger liability under the Superfund law because most of the relevant cases appear to be very fact-dependent, forcing parties into costly trials and litigation to resolve liability disputes.

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In Test For Congress, Obama Plans $1 Billion Climate Resilience Fund

President Obama is calling on Congress to create a $1 billion “climate resilience fund” for research on the impacts of climate change, local adaptation efforts and research into new resilient infrastructure technology, a request that could test congressional Republicans' willingness to address the issue.

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States See Varied Effects From EPA Tanks Funding Cuts, Allocation Changes

The funding cut to EPA's leaking underground storage tank (LUST) trust fund program contained in the recently enacted fiscal year 2014 omnibus appropriations bill will likely have varying effects on states' UST cleanups and leak prevention efforts, with some state sources expecting little change and others saying it could make things more difficult.

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Group Says OSWER Climate Plan Should Unify Data On Vulnerable Sites

A public interest group is telling EPA's waste office it should work with states to unify databases on contaminated sites vulnerable to climate change impacts in order to aid communities dealing with contamination that has spread from sites in the aftermath of a storm or other incident even if the sites do not fall under EPA jurisdiction.

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Senators Launch New Effort To Clarify TSCA Bill's Preemption Provisions

Senate supporters of a bipartisan bill reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are weighing several proposed amendments that they hope will eventually address concerns from Senate environment committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and other opponents who fear the current bill language will severely limit state toxics programs.

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Key Court Appears Open To Subjecting CWA Jurisdiction Findings To Review

A key appeals court at recent oral arguments seemed receptive to industry claims that agency determinations that waterbodies are subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation are reviewable -- a step that courts have long refused to take, but which the circuits have yet to address in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in Sackett v. EPA when it opened some pre-enforcement regulatory determinations to judicial review.

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EPA Crafting Long-Sought PFC Screening Levels For Hazardous Waste Sites

EPA's waste office is crafting first-time technical guidance to be used at sites contaminated by two of the most common perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), a document that will eventually provide long-sought soil and drinking water screening values for regulators struggling to set cleanup levels for the ubiquitous but unregulated compounds.

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Planned New Jersey Suit Puts New Pressure On Regulators To Limit PFCs

A New Jersey municipality is is planning to sue a chemical manufacturer to cleanup perfluorochemicals (PFCs) that have contaminated public drinking water wells there, adding to growing pressure on state and federal regulators to set regulatory standards for the currently unregulated class of persistent and toxic chemicals.

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