Saturday, September 20, 2014
Featured Story

Environmentalists' Coal Ash Suits Seek To Force Cleanups At Legacy Sites

Environmentalists are seeking to use new Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suits that would force cleanups at older coal ash storage sites, including those linked to the recent Duke Energy spill in North Carolina, to set a high bar for future regulation of the waste, and are promising further suits unless states mandate remediation at "legacy" sites deemed likely to spill.

The Insider

EPA Weighs Stricter VOC Rules For Drilling

EPA could tighten its volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions standards for the oil and gas drilling sector in an attempt to secure co-benefit reductions of the greenhouse gas methane.

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Climate Policy Watch

Major RTOs Weigh Regional Grid Approaches For Complying With ESPS

Two of the largest grid operators are considering novel regional approaches for complying with EPA's greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants by setting a system-wide price on carbon dioxide (CO2) as opposed to state-by-state planning, an approach that agency officials and others have indicated could provide a more streamlined way of implementing the requirements while also better overseeing potential reliability concerns.
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The Week Ahead

State Regulators Meet In New Mexico; GHG Rules Scrutinized

The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), which represents state environment departments, is holding its annual meeting in New Mexico to discuss a broad slate of environmental issues, including climate change policies, Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction and EPA funding questions. Greenhouse gas (GHG) rules are also coming under scrutiny from other corners, as private groups are hosting talks on the agency's proposed rules for power plants as well as other policies aimed at curbing emissions.

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Federal Facilities Watch

EPA Tightens Protective Dose Radiation Level Used As ARARs At Cleanups

EPA's Superfund office has updated guidance that tightens the radiological protective dose-based level that states and other agencies can use for remediation of radioactively contaminated sites, although the office continues to maintain the Superfund risk range should be used for developing cleanup levels at these sites.

District Court Ruling Boosts EPA Efforts To Limit CWA Determinations

A federal district court's dismissal of litigation seeking to force EPA to promulgate water quality criteria for Washington state strengthens EPA's rationale in a proposed rule to limit the types of agency communication that qualify as a formal "determination" that a state's existing water quality rules do not meet Clean Water Act (CWA) standards -- finding the agency's authority to preemptively promulgate criteria is discretionary and rests solely with the administrator.

EPA Previews Arguments For Effort To Block States' Suit Targeting ESPS

EPA is outlining reasons why it believes West Virginia and other states are procedurally prohibited from targeting the agency's proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants, charging the states' suit ultimately seeks to scrap a proposed rule that is not yet reviewable by the courts.

Cellulosic Biofuel Producers Weigh Suit Over EPA's 2014 RFS Methodology

Cellulosic biofuel producers are threatening to sue EPA over what they say is its flawed methodology for calculating the fuel production targets in the proposed 2014 renewable fuel standard (RFS), arguing EPA's latest method has errors that led to drastically low biofuel targets compared to what they say is an earlier, more accurate method.

5th Circuit Ruling Expands Chemical Safety Board's Offshore Jurisdiction

Absent EPA Action, Environmentalists Push State Fracking Waste Bans

Vitter Drops TSCA Reform Pact After Boxer Releases Confidential Draft Plan

As OMB Weighs Oil Spill Rule, Industry Defends Use Of Dispersants

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OMB Chief Promises 'Ambitious' Climate Programs

Shaun Donovan, the director of the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB), is promising to make EPA and other agencies' climate policies as "ambitious and effective" as they can be, though in his . . .

Industry Urges 9th Circuit To Rehear CWA Permit 'Shield' Suit

Coal sector groups are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to reconsider its ruling narrowing a Clean Water Act (CWA) general stormwater permit "shield" for dischargers' liability for non-stormwater releases, saying . . .

Environmentalists Cite ESPS In Push For Direct Methane Limits

Environmentalists say that anticipated temporary increases in reliance on natural gas due to the agency's pending greenhouse gas (GHG) rules for existing power plants shows the need for EPA to set direct standards for limiting . . .

GOP Lawmakers Aim To Block Stricter EPA Ozone NAAQS

House and Senate Republicans have introduced legislation that would prohibit EPA from tightening its existing ozone air standard until 85 percent of counties exceeding the current limit have attained it, an effort by the lawmakers . . .

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