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Water

EPA staff union faults agency review of state’s mine permit

An EPA staff union is faulting the Trump administration’s oversight of a Minnesota mine permit, after the agency’s Inspector General announced it is launching an investigation into the permit review.

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EPA defends limited EJ review of UIC permits

EPA says its finding that an underground oil and gas injection well poses no threat to drinking water supplies should remove any need for an environmental-justice review of the well permit.

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Senators ‘Hopeful’ Defense Bill Will Include Superfund PFAS Measure

A bipartisan group of senators say they remain hopeful that legislative language requiring EPA to designate perfluorinated compounds as “hazardous substances” subject to liability under the Superfund law will eventually be included in the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill, which is slated for consideration later this week.

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Utilities Provide Cautious Response To Senate PFAS Bill Ahead Of Markup

Drinking water utilities are declining to take a position on bipartisan Senate legislation addressing contamination from perfluorinated chemicals through a variety of environmental laws, though they are concerned that the measure, slated for markup June 19, could set an adverse precedent by preempting EPA’s statutory process for setting standards.

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OMB reviewing Army Corps’ new CWA 401 guidance for states

The guidance will outline the conditions under which states may take more than 60 days to review requests for water quality certifications that allow energy and other projects to proceed.

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EAB Backing Of EPA’s Deferral To States Raises Bar For CWA Permit Suits

A new ruling from EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) sets a high bar for litigants to overcome deference to a state’s interpretation of ambiguities in its own Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting rules, holding that Idaho environmentalists fell far short of the standard in their challenge to a CWA discharge permit.

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Report lists 475 facilities may be discharging PFAS

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed two EPA online databases and data from a New York survey to identify 475 industrial sites known to produce or use PFAS or are suspected of using PFAS.

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EPA Drops Appeal Of Stormwater Suit, Teeing Up Expansion Of Permits

EPA has quietly withdrawn its appeal of a federal district court’s order that backed environmentalists’ petition to expand the universe of facilities subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) stormwater discharge permits, signaling that it will move to comply with the order though officials have made no formal statement on how they plan to proceed.

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EPA’s PFAS Groundwater Guidance Draws Wide-Ranging Criticisms

EPA’s interim draft guide for addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater is drawing wide-ranging criticisms, with environmentalists charging it is too weak, industry questioning its scientific basis and the agency’s procedures in developing it and states charging it does not adequately preserve their requirements.

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IG Investigates EPA Region 5 Mine Review Seen As Test For Faster Permits

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is investigating complaints that Trump administration officials suppressed Region 5 staff’s critical comments on Minnesota regulators’ draft Clean Water Act (CWA) permit for a controversial mine, escalating a dispute that is seen as a major test case for the agency’s efforts to accelerate permitting.

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