EPA is proposing to tighten its national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone to a range between 65 and 70 parts per billion (ppb) in order to adequately protect human health against harm from ozone, a limit that would be stricter than the existing 75 ppb standard and is already prompting major industry and GOP push-back.
Agency science advisors appear to be backing key aspects of EPA's efforts to assess the human health risks of exposure to ethylene oxide (EtO), with some panelists pressing the agency to finalize the long-running assessment, while also casting aside several industry complaints about the latest draft assessment.
EPA has issued its long-awaited framework for assessing a municipality’s ability to pay for infrastructure upgrades needed to comply with Clean Water Act (CWA) mandates, which includes a set of new factors enforcement officials may consider in negotiating compliance schedules for permits and consent decrees, such as bankruptcies, natural disasters and other qualitative factors agency advisers urged earlier this year.
Industry groups are urging EPA to regulate coal ash as a solid waste to avoid the “stigma” of a hazardous waste rule, but environmentalists are pushing back on the stigma argument.
The Supreme Court has granted requests by several states and the power sector to hear a suit challenging EPA's decision not to consider costs in its determination that it was necessary to regulate utility air toxics with a maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rule, a finding that critics say led to a rule that will impose massive costs.
The chemical industry is funding new research to persuade EPA that formaldehyde and styrene are not harmful at exposure levels usually encountered by the general population, in response to National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reports that confirmed the National Toxicology Program's (NTP) cancer listings for the substances.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is hearing arguments this week in industry's second attempt to force judicial review of EPA's determination that an Arizona river is “navigable” and thus subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA), after an earlier suit was dismissed on standing grounds. In other pending litigation, EPA is preparing to offer its arguments for why the D.C. Circuit should uphold its air toxics rule for smaller “area” source boilers against industry and environmentalist challenges that make competing attacks on the rule.
As the deadline to submit comments on EPA's proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants draws near, stakeholders are expected to issue reams of formal comments on a range of issues, including legal concerns, the stringency of state targets and compliance deadlines.
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