EPA in a proposed consent decree over a utility's alleged Clean Air Act violations includes an "affirmative defense" that will shield the company from civil liability for air law violations due to certain malfunctions, seemingly at odds with the intent of the agency's recent rule forcing states to remove affirmative defense provisions from their air quality plans.
The Supreme Court's ruling remanding EPA's mercury rule for power plants to a lower court appears to have preserved -- for now -- critics' argument that the agency lacks threshold Clean Air Act authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at existing power plants -- though some observers say that could change depending on how the lower court addresses the litigation.
Supreme Court Ruling Prolongs Uncertainty Over Fate Of EPA Utility MACT
The White House is praising Congress' bipartisan push to advance Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bills and hopes to see “strong” final legislation that President Obama can sign, but the administration is questioning a House plan for industry to request chemical safety reviews that could overtake EPA's review priorities.
TSCA Reform Likely To Be Compromise Despite Push For House Measure
At least 14 states have filed three separate lawsuits in federal district courts over EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule claiming it violates the water law, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Constitution --- among the first of what are expected to be multiple challenges to the rule filed in various venues and citing differing legal claims.
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is holding an event this week to provide early reaction from state air regulators, industry lawyers and others on the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision faulting EPA for not considering costs when deciding to craft its utility maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule. Meanwhile, the agency is planning to hold a webinar to give an overview of its recently issued multi-sector general permit (MSGP) for industrial stormwater.
House-approved legislation to cut EPA's fiscal year budget by more than $700 million and block several major agency rules is drawing a veto threat from the White House.
EPA staff is acknowledging the challenges in assessing the human health risks of exposure to mixtures of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), in part due to the varied nature of the mixtures that occur in the environment and new data about their non-cancer risks, but an existing assessment may provide a template for the new effort.
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