Federal judges appeared skeptical of industry's claims at recent oral arguments over the legality of EPA's landmark multi-state cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay, closely questioning the challengers' attorney over the basis of statements that the agency overstepped its Clean Water Act (CWA) authority when it crafted the plan.
EPA has sent its long-awaited proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) pretreatment standards for wastewater generated from shale oil and gas extraction for White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) pre-publication review, aiming to address concerns that municipal plants are struggling to adequately treat the wastewater.
An EPA pilot program aimed at helping water utilities plan for extreme weather events by providing access to current climate change model projections and data is struggling to sign up small water systems due in part to political perceptions of climate change, agency officials say, suggesting the need to find less controversial terms to explain how utilities could benefit from the program.
Climate Resiliency Case Shows Challenge In Implementing Policy Changes
Industry groups and several states are fighting EPA's proposal to scrap provisions in many states' air quality plans that give industry an "affirmative defense" against Clean Air Act liability for some unplanned emissions limit violations, saying it ignores states' discretion to write the defenses into their federal air law compliance plans.
Appellate courts will hear oral arguments this week in high-profile litigation that could decide the scope of EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) powers to set and enforce detailed waterbody cleanup plans and to exempt some categories of discharge from CWA permitting. Meanwhile, state utility commissioners are holding their fall meeting in California, with EPA's greenhouse gas (GHG) rules for power plants slated to be a major topic of discussion.
Litigation or other action to curb EPA's power plant rule and other policies could undermine the just-announced climate deal between the United States and China.
EPA has reached an agreement with the Army and the state of Louisiana that breaks an impasse over the stalled cleanup of more than 15 million pounds of explosives and propellant abandoned by a demilitarization contractor at a National Guard facility owned by Louisiana, although the plan sidesteps questions over the Army's liability for the pollution.
Environmentalists are reiterating their argument for why they believe EPA should directly regulate methane, the potent greenhouse gas (GHG), from the oil and gas sector, saying that targeting volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which EPA has suggested as an indirect means of limiting the gas, would fail to capture as many existing sources as a methane standard, resulting in an approach that would be “ten times” less effective.
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