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Litigation

EPA Opposes NRECA Bid To Push Novel Air Law Claim In Landfill Case

EPA is opposing efforts by a group of electric cooperatives to substitute for a disbanded utility group in pending litigation against Obama-era landfill methane rules, a stance that could block efforts by the co-ops to preserve the utility group’s novel claim that EPA cannot strengthen existing standards under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

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D.C. Circuit Curtails EPA’s Authority To Weaken Or Freeze Ozone NAAQS

EPA’s ability to roll back or freeze ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) at the end of its ongoing review of the 2015 ozone standards is now severely curtailed following a federal appeals court ruling that includes bars on several policy steps the agency could have taken to help justify retaining or softening the Obama-era limits.

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EPA Cites OSHA Hazardous Material Training In Bid To Evade Spill Liability

EPA is claiming immunity from dozens of pending tort claims over its role in a 2015 wastewater spill because its employees went through OSHA’s training program for hazardous-waste handling, teeing up a district court ruling on how much training federal employees must receive to protect their agencies from liability should a disaster occur.

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Ozone Ruling Deals EPA Major Losses On Policy Efforts To Weaken NAAQS

A federal court has dealt EPA a major loss on its ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), remanding the 2015 “secondary” standard to protect the environment back to the agency to either tighten or better justify, scrapping permits based on older, weaker standards and barring consideration of “background” ozone in setting NAAQS.

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Wyoming Lawmakers Suggest Appeal Of Landmark NEPA GHG Ruling

Wyoming’s congressional delegation is suggesting the Trump administration may need to appeal a landmark district court ruling that temporarily blocked oil and gas leasing in the state until officials completed a robust National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of the proposed projects’ greenhouse gas impacts.

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DOJ Narrows Use Of SEPs In Municipal Settlements, Eyes Further Limits

The Justice Department (DOJ) is further scaling back use of supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) in settlements with local government agencies, and signaling possible additional limits in the future, measures that are likely to draw opposition from municipal groups, who favor SEPs in consent decrees to mitigate penalties.

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EPA Proposes Flexible Landfill Methane Plan, But Delays Compliance Dates

EPA in a new proposed rule outlines flexible compliance options for states and industry to follow in a federal plan for limiting methane emissions from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, but the rule may prove moot given the agency’s recent extensions of compliance dates for states to issue their own plans or face direct federal standards.

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Court rejects FOIA suit to force release of vehicle GHG model

Environmentalists have lost their bid to force release of an EPA computer model they argue would help undermine the agency’s efforts to roll back Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas standards.

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In First, Court Faults Obama-Era CWA Jurisdiction Rule, Orders Fixes

A federal court in Georgia has, for the first time, found the Obama-era Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule violates several aspects of the water law and administrative law, but rather than vacating the rule, the court is ordering officials to continue their plans to revise the rule “in light of the serious defects identified in this Order while leaving this Court’s existing preliminary injunction in place.”

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Trump Backers Downplay California Auto GHG Deal Amid Industry Unease

Supporters of the Trump administration’s bid to freeze Obama-era vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy rules are seeking to downplay the significance of California’s voluntary deal with four major automakers on the issue, despite increasing signs that other auto companies might join the pact or spurn the Trump rollback.

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